A group of Mormon women are pushing the Judiciary Committee — which includes four Mormon senators — to delay the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh in the wake of sexual assault allegations against him.
Specifically, the group is urging Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Mike Lee (R-UT), Jeff Flake (R-AZ), and Mike Crapo (R-ID), who are all members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, to “ensure that these charges be taken seriously and that every attempt be made to ascertain the truth of the situation.”
“Our mutual faith teaches that any sexual abuse or assault in any context is contemptible and worthy of the most severe condemnation,” MWEG’s statement said.
If the accusations are false, the group said, an investigation will prevent any questions about Kavanaugh’s legitimacy, and if they are true, the nominee must not be confirmed.
“As we have stated previously, sexual assault must not be normalized or condoned in any way or by anyone, especially those charged with political leadership,” the group said. “We boldly condemn any attempts to justify such inexcusable and reprehensible behavior and demand that our elected leaders set a morally sound example.”
MWEG is a nonpartisan group of about 6,000 members, and in an interview with The New York Times, MWEG’s founder and president Sharlee Mullins Glenn said the women in her group felt that they should speak out, especially to Hatch, Lee, Flake, and Crapo.
“We have a shared faith, we know that they profess at least to believe that issues such as the allegations that are being levied by Dr. Ford and Deborah Ramirez are very, very serious,” she said. “We are not taking sides. We are saying, because of the seriousness of these allegations, we have to suspend the confirmation proceedings so an investigation can be conducted.”
On September 16, psychology professor Christine Blasey Ford told The Washington Post that Kavanaugh attempted to rape her at a high school house party in the early 1980s, when the two were teenagers.
Ford told the Post that Kavanaugh forced himself on her, groped her over her clothes, and tried to pull off her clothing. When she tried to scream, he covered her mouth with his hand.
“I thought he might inadvertently kill me,” she said.
On Sunday, another woman came forward, telling The New Yorker that, at a party in college, Kavanaugh allegedly thrust his penis to her face against her wishes.
“Brett was laughing,” the woman, Deborah Ramirez, told the magazine. “I can still see his face, and his hips coming forward, like when you pull up your pants.”
Kavanaugh has denied both women’s claims.
The same day, lawyer Michael Avenatti said on Twitter that a woman he was representing had come to him “with credible information against Judge Kavanaugh and Mark Judge.” Judge is another student from Kavanaugh’s high school who Ford says was in the room when Kavanaugh allegedly assaulted her.
Hatch, one of the senators MWEG is calling on, downplayed the allegations against Kavanaugh last week, saying the Senate should consider the man who Kavanaugh is “today.”
“If [the allegation] was true, I think it would be hard for senators to not consider who the judge is today,” Hatch told reporters at the Capitol. “That’s the issue. Is this judge a really good man? And he is. And by any measure he is.”
On Monday, Hatch called Ramirez’s allegation a “smear campaign” by Senate Democrats, and he told reporters that the allegation was “phony.”
“No innuendo has been too low, no insinuation too dirty,” he said on the Senate floor. “Everything is an excuse for delay, no matter how unsubstantiated.”
Flake, for his part, has not said how he will vote, though he was one of a small group of Republicans who has called for delaying the confirmation until Ford can speak under oath. She is scheduled to do so Thursday.
MWEG told the Times the group has not heard back from any of the four Mormon senators.