News Releases

In speech, Senator Murray highlights Judge Kavanaugh’s former classmates who’ve come forward in recent days to refute his testimony

Senator Murray: “It is not disqualifying to drink in college. It is not disqualifying to drink too much in college. But it is absolutely disqualifying to not tell Senators the truth about doing these things under oath… it speaks to the kind of Supreme Court judge he would be if he were ever confirmed. Someone who thinks they are above the law, above the truth, above the oath they raise their hand and swear by”

Senator Murray to her colleagues: “Surely we should all want to make sure that we don’t put someone on the court who sexually assaulted someone. And surely we should want to take the full amount of time promised to fully investigate credible allegations and determine if Judge Kavanaugh told us the truth under oath"

One day after President Trump mocked Dr. Christine Blasey Ford at a campaign rally, Senator Murray recounts the stories of constituents who’ve reached out to her in recent days to share their own experiences of sexual abuse that they kept secret for years

Senator Murray delivers remarks from the U.S. Senate floor on Wednesday, October 3rd. Watch her remarks here.

 

(Washington, D.C.)  – Today, in a speech on the Senate floor, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) laid out her many concerns with Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court, and urged her colleagues to fully consider his inconsistencies under oath and the concerns over his temperament and fitness to be an independent and nonpartisan Supreme Court justice. Senator Murray, who ran for the U.S. Senate after watching the way Anita Hill was treated by an all-male Senate committee in 1991, asked her colleagues whether in 2018 the Senate would be a place where women’s voices – including that of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford—would be heard and respected, or a place where women are ignored, undermined and attacked. Senator Murray also stressed the importance of properly vetting and investigating the President’s Supreme Court nominee with a full and thorough FBI investigation and ensuring that all relevant witnesses would be heard and all relevant information be brought forward before any vote on Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination. According to reports, a number of witnesses have yet to be contacted.

Below are key excerpts and the full text of Senator Murray’s remarks, which can also be viewed here.

Key excerpts from Senator Murray’s remarks as prepared for delivery:

“…I come to the floor today to ask three questions. When this is all said and done, will the Senate be a place where women are heard, where their voices are respected, or still one where women are ignored, undermined, and attacked? Will the Senate do its job—truly do its job— to properly vet and investigate the President’s nominee for a lifetime position on our nation’s highest court, including pushing for a full FBI investigation where at least Dr. Ford and Judge Kavanaugh are interviewed, and making sure all relevant witnesses are heard and all relevant information is brought forward. Or will we allow politics and partisanship to take over and rush this through before our job is complete? And finally, will the Senate make sure we don’t put someone on the bench who has repeatedly had problems with the truth under oath, who has displayed truly serious temperament issues, who has not demonstrated the judicial independence we expect for a nominee to the Supreme Court, and who has displayed a shocking lack of fitness for this role?”

“It is not disqualifying to drink in college. It is not disqualifying to drink too much in college. But it is absolutely disqualifying to not tell Senators the truth about doing these things under oath. And it’s not just disqualifying—it’s offensive. It speaks to the kind of person Judge Kavanaugh is, and it speaks to the kind of Supreme Court judge he would be if he were ever confirmed. Someone who thinks they are above the law—above the truth—above the oath they raise their hand and swear by. And that should absolutely be disqualifying.”

“..at the end of the day we are talking about a lifetime seat on the highest court in the land, the court making final decisions about our laws, our rights, and our freedoms. Surely we should take the time to do this right. Surely we should all want to make sure that we don’t put someone on the court who sexually assaulted someone. And surely we should want to take the full amount of time promised to fully investigate credible allegations and determine if Judge Kavanaugh told us the truth under oath.”

“…a woman, from Everett, Washington, reached out to me to share that she was sexually assaulted in a hotel elevator in the early ‘70s. She didn’t tell a soul for forty years—until just a few days ago. She said that since that day all those years ago she has avoided getting into an elevator alone with another man if she possibly could—taking the stairs instead.  She told me, “it happened a long time ago but it still matters.” That she was inspired by the women who have so bravely spoken out about Judge Kavanaugh, and that she shared her story with me in the hopes that I could make sure her voice and the voices of other women were heard.”

Full text of Senator Murray’s remarks as prepared for delivery:

“Across the country, women and survivors are angry, they are energized, and they are making their voices heard. They are inspired by Dr. Ford and they are sharing stories of their own—often of the worst moments of their lives, and some for the first time ever—with their families, their friends, their Senators. There are too many to share in one speech on the Senate floor, but I’ll touch on just a few.

“I heard from a woman in Sequim, in Washington state, who wrote to me saying “there have been rare moments in my life when I have felt compelled to speak out. This is one.” She told me when she was in junior high school, she dated a boy she thought was “one of the nicest guys ever.” Then one day, she went to his house while his parents were at church, and he assaulted her, tried to rape her, and she only barely managed to escape and run from his house.  She said she never told anyone about this—because she didn’t know who would believe her. She was worried that people would think it was her fault. But she told me that after Dr. Ford found the courage to come forward with her experience, she found the courage to share her own.

“Another woman, from Everett, Washington, reached out to me to share that she was sexually assaulted in a hotel elevator in the early ‘70s. She didn’t tell a soul for forty years—until just a few days ago. She said that since that day all those years ago she has avoided getting into an elevator alone with another man if she possibly could—taking the stairs instead.  She told me, “it happened a long time ago but it still matters.” That she was inspired by the women who have so bravely spoken out about Judge Kavanaugh, and that she shared her story with me in the hopes that I could make sure her voice and the voices of other women were heard.

“I heard from another women who lives on the Olympic Peninsula in my home state of Washington. She told me when she was in college she was raped by a man she was out on a date with. She remembered his name, but because she believes she was drugged, there were a whole lot of details she couldn’t remember. She didn’t tell anyone about her experience for years. And she reached out to me to tell me she understood why Dr. Ford didn’t come forward and to express her anger that people continue to attack survivors, doubt them, and say they are just “mixed up.”

“There are so many more.

“I’ve received tens of thousands of letters and calls on this nomination, with hundreds and hundreds of personal stories that my staff and I are still working to get through. They are heartbreaking. They are real. And they are just one small slice of the experiences being shared, the stories being told, and the voices bravely speaking up.

“While these women and survivors are so bravely sharing experiences, and while so many of us here in the Senate are making it clear we believe and support them, others are going in a very different direction.

“Last night, the President of the United States stood on a stage and openly mocked Dr. Ford for not remembering some details of what she has described as the most traumatic event of her life. It was disgusting.  Here in the Senate, some of my colleagues are doing everything they can to undermine the women sharing their experiences, saying they are quote “mixed up,” and saying the Senate is going to “plow right through this.” And the word coming out from the White House is they are doing everything they can to limit and rush the FBI investigation that they assured Democrats and Republicans would be full and thorough.

“So I come to the floor today to ask three questions.

“When this is all said and done, will the Senate be a place where women are heard, where their voices are respected, or still one where women are ignored, undermined, and attacked?

“Will the Senate do its job—truly do its job— to properly vet and investigate the President’s nominee for a lifetime position on our nation’s highest court, including pushing for a full FBI investigation where at least Dr. Ford and Judge Kavanaugh are interviewed, and making sure all relevant witnesses are heard and all relevant information is brought forward. Or will we allow politics and partisanship to take over and rush this through before our job is complete?

“And finally, will the Senate make sure we don’t put someone on the bench who has repeatedly had problems with the truth under oath, who has displayed truly serious temperament issues, who has not demonstrated the judicial independence we expect for a nominee to the Supreme Court, and who has displayed a shocking lack of fitness for this role? 

“Those are the questions I believe we need to be asking today, and there is a lot of work that needs to get done before we can answer them.

“M. President, there have been a whole lot of distractions in the past few weeks. From the yelling, screaming, and outrage—real and feigned, to the finger-pointing and partisanship, to the spin and kicking up of mud. But if you cut through all that and focus on what is real, and what is important, there are some things we do know.

“First and foremost, we all saw Dr. Ford testify under oath. I can’t imagine anyone watching her and not be being moved by her honesty, how real she was, her pain, and her commitment to what she described as her “civic duty.” I believe her. And I know so many others watching that day—here in the Senate and across the country—did as well.

“And then we had Judge Kavanaugh. He came into that hearing angry, defensive, and aggrieved. He clearly acted as if he is owed a seat on the Supreme Court and doesn’t understand why United States Senators had the audacity to question him.

“But even worse than his rage, even worse than his sneering condescension and arrogant entitlement, even worse than the raw partisan bitterness from someone who would be entrusted to make impartial decisions regarding the biggest issues facing our nation, even worse was the serious challenges he had with the truth. Under oath, in public, and to the United States Senate.

“From his small, seemingly unnecessary mistruths about what words used in his yearbook mean. Words I will not repeat on the Senate floor—but that people who went to school with him don’t understand why he would say what he did. To those about his connections to Dr. Ford, like claiming he and Dr. Ford didn’t “travel in the same social circles” when we know that’s just not true.

“And claiming he never attended a gathering like the one Dr. Ford described, when there is at one very similar to that on the calendar he himself released. To those my colleagues have talked through before, like those involving his level of involvement in the confirmation of President Bush’s judges, which we learned about as emails to and from him were uncovered and released.

“And those involving emails stolen from my Senate colleagues that he denied knowing he had received, when again, his emails show that just wasn’t the case.

“To another we just recently learned about, his claim that the first time he heard about Ms. Ramirez’s allegations against him was when he read about them in the press, though we’ve now heard from people who have seen text messages showing Judge Kavanaugh personally working to coordinate a defense against the allegation before the story was published.

“To his denials, over and over and in different ways, that he drank to extreme excess in high school and college, that he never “blacked out” or had memory lapses from drinking when we know, from so many people who have come forward to share stories of his high school and college days that his version simply doesn’t align with reality.

“The Washington Post laid this out yesterday, and I will read some quotes from their reporting. One friend of his from college said Judge Kavanaugh was “a frequent drinker and a heavy drinker.”

“Another classmate of his in college said “Brett was a sloppy drunk, and I know because I drank with him.”  And “it’s not credible for him to say that he has had no memory lapses in the nights that he drank to excess.” Another classmate said “there is no doubt in my mind that while at Yale, he was a big partier, often drank to excess. And there had to be a number of nights where he does not remember.” Another classmate who lived in the same dorm as Kavanaugh during his freshman year said, “I definitely saw him on multiple occasions stumbling drunk where he could not have rational control over his actions or clear recollection of them… His depiction of himself is inaccurate.”

“His freshman year roommate said Kavanaugh “was a notably heavy drinker, even by the standards of the time, and that he became belligerent and aggressive when he was very drunk…. I do remember Brett frequently drinking excessively and becoming incoherently drunk.” Another classmate put out a statement saying he could “unequivocally say” that Kavanaugh had “not told the truth” in his testimony and referred to an incident when Kavanaugh got drunk and started a bar fight, a fact corroborated by a police report obtained by the New York Times. And on, and on.

“It is not disqualifying to drink in college. It is not disqualifying to drink too much in college. But it is absolutely disqualifying to not tell Senators the truth about doing these things under oath. It speaks to the kind of person Judge Kavanaugh is, and it speaks to the kind of Supreme Court judge he would be if he were ever confirmed. Someone who thinks they are above the law—above the truth—above the oath they raise their hand and swear by. And that should absolutely be disqualifying.

“Those are just a few of the honesty and credibility issues we know about. There are many more that I am sure my colleagues will discuss and there are others that can be uncovered in a full investigation.  And that is the most important point. As I said before, we don’t know everything just yet, but we know some things, and everyone should agree that what we know is enough to want to dig deeper and get more information. That is why it was so telling that Judge Kavanaugh and his Republican defenders and protectors so clearly didn’t want any further investigation.

“We had Dr. Ford willing to share her story, take a polygraph, open herself up to any question and further investigations to help get to the truth.  And then we had Judge Kavanaugh doing everything possible to sweep this under the rug, move through this as quickly as possible, and prevent information from coming out. That tells us a lot.

“I am so glad a few of my Republican colleagues have done the right thing and slowed this nomination down to allow further investigation. There should have been more of them speaking up, and doing our jobs shouldn’t be such a brave act but in this moment in the Republican Party it is, and I commend them.

“Because here is the bottom line. Any of my colleagues can yell and scream until they are blue in the face about how aggrieved they are about this process. They can point fingers and push conspiracy theories, call it a “sham.” They can say this has gone on for longer than they wanted it to. They can do all that. I think they are wrong and a lot of what they are complaining about is the Ranking Member of the Committee respecting the wishes of Dr. Ford. But sure, they can do that.

“But at the end of the day we are talking about a lifetime seat on the highest court in the land, the court making final decisions about our laws, our rights, and our freedoms. Surely we should take the time to do this right. Surely we should all want to make sure that we don’t put someone on the court who sexually assaulted someone. And surely we should want to take the full amount of time promised to fully investigate credible allegations and determine if Judge Kavanaugh told us the truth under oath.

“That is common sense, and it also happens to be our jobs. My Republican colleagues held a seat open on the Supreme Court for more than a year for no reason at all other than to prevent President Obama’s nominee from getting on the court. More than a year. And now all of the sudden these same colleagues are in such a rush? It’s absurd. Let’s do this right.

“So what does that mean? What is doing it right here? First of all, it means making sure that the FBI thoroughly investigates right now that it is not limited in scope or pressured to not follow leads wherever they go. As my colleague, the Senator from Arizona said, “we certainly want the FBI to do a real investigation.” And “It does no good to have an investigation that just gives us cover." Even President Trump said “I think the FBI should do what they have to do to get to the answer,” and “I want them to do a very comprehensive investigation.”

“I completely agree. I am very concerned by some of the reporting coming out of the FBI investigation, especially hearing about the witnesses who have not yet been contacted, but I am hoping they are allowed to do their jobs, and I am hoping the White House fulfills its commitment to the Democrats and Republicans focused on this getting done right.

“Second, as we learn more, we should take that information into account. We should make sure all relevant witnesses are heard from. That all relevant information comes out. That nothing is swept under the rug. Because there is one other thing we can be pretty sure of. Whether the information comes out now, or comes out later, it’s going to come out. And we can either make sure we stop someone from getting on the court who shouldn’t be on the court or we can find out later that the Senate didn’t do its job.

“This started as a look into whether Judge Kavanaugh assaulted women and whether the United States Senate would listen to women sharing their experiences. It’s still about that—very much so. But now it’s about even more than that.

“It’s about Judge Kavanaugh’s temperament. His anger, rage, and entitlement. And it’s about him telling the truth, or not to the public and the Senate.

“So I say to my colleagues, as we learn more from this investigation and as more and more people come out to share their stories: Even if you don’t think you can determine conclusively that Judge Kavanaugh committed sexual assault, do we want someone on the highest court in the land with this kind of relationship to the truth? And do we want someone with that much rage, bitterness, and entitlement?

“I think the answer is clear right now and I think there is a reason that Judge Kavanaugh was so desperate to stop a full investigation. So I hope we don’t allow corners to be cut and a nominee jammed onto the Supreme Court without truly doing our jobs. I hope we take seriously the anger, the pain, the voices and the experiences of women across the country. And I hope we do this right.

“Thank you, I yield the floor.”