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Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) answers questions from reporters on allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh on Capitol Hill September 17, 2018 in Washington, D.C.

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) answers questions from reporters on allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh on Capitol Hill September 17, 2018 in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images)

'Beyond Shameful': Attempting to Put Victim on Trial, Collins Wants to Let Kavanaugh's Lawyer Question His Accuser

"Collins seems to have forgotten that Brett Kavanaugh is the one who has been accused of a crime, not Christine Blasey Ford."

Jake Johnson

According to her own compelling and credible account, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford is the victim of an attempted rape at the hands of Trump Supreme Court pick Brett Kavanaugh—but critics say Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) wants to put Ford on trial as if she was the one being accused of a serious crime.

"The GOP desperately wants to put Dr. Ford on trial and smear her. But they know that 11 men on the Judiciary Committee badgering a sexual assault survivor is a bad look. So they're pushing for Dr. Ford to be interrogated by Kavanaugh's female counsel instead."
—Ezra Levin, Indivisible
In a highly unusual move on Tuesday that was immediately denounced by women's rights groups as further evidence that the GOP is more interested in attempting to smear Ford than in pursuing the truth, Collins sent a letter calling on the Senate Judiciary Committee to allow Kavanaugh's counsel to cross-examine Ford during Monday's scheduled hearing.

"Collins seems to have forgotten that Brett Kavanaugh is the one who has been accused of a crime, not Christine Blasey Ford," CREDO Action co-director Heidi Hess said in a statement. "Senate Republicans must not attempt to put Christine Blasey Ford on trial or otherwise use Monday's hearing to attack her character."

Slamming Collins' recommendation to the Senate Judiciary Committee as "beyond shameful," Ultraviolet founder Shaunna Thomas added: "This is not a trial. It is Brett Kavanaugh's sexual assault hearing and a job interview for the highest court in the land, and the burden of proof is solely on Brett Kavanaugh."

While Collins also asked the Senate Judiciary Committee to allow Ford's counsel to question Kavanaugh in an effort to make the process appear equal, women's rights groups noted that giving Kavanaugh's lawyer time to grill and possibly slime Ford would be a distraction from the actual purpose of Monday's hearing: To decide whether Kavanaugh is fit to serve on the Supreme Court.

"We must not conflate this to a court of law where Kavanaugh will be found innocent or guilty," NARAL Pro-Choice America vice president Adrienne Kimmell argued in a statement on Tuesday. "The burden of proof at Brett Kavanaugh's sexual assault hearing is on him to answer for these credible allegations. The goal of these next Senate hearings is to determine whether Kavanaugh can be trusted to make decisions about our most fundamental freedoms—and the verdict is already an overwhelming no."


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