Just hours after a third female accuser came forward with bombshell allegations of sexual assault, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) announced early Wednesday afternoon that he intends to file suit against President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in an effort to put a halt to the confirmation process of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
Citing the allegations by women that are now piling up and the Republican efforts to ram through Kavanaugh's confirmation despite the growing concerns and lack of a proper investigation into the charges, Merkley says turning to the courts might is now necessary.
Today I’m suing @realDonaldTrump and @senatemajldr to STOP the #KavanaughConfirmation process. What they’re doing is absolutely unacceptable and unconstitutional. RISE UP America and make your voices known.
— Jeff Merkley (@JeffMerkley) September 26, 2018
"The events of the past ten days have only underscored how critical it is that the Senate conduct a careful and comprehensive review of a nominee before giving its consent," Merkley told Politico in a statement.
According to Politico:
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Merkley's still-pending filing in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia comes as Senate Republicans vow to push ahead with a vote on President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee in the coming days—and hours before a landmark hearing slated with Christine Blasey Ford, who has alleged a decades-old sexual assault by Kavanaugh.
Merkley's bid for an injunction hinges on the Senate's constitutional duty to provide advice and consent on nominees and charges that he's been prevented from fulfilling that due to the withholding of records on Kavanaugh's past service in the George W. Bush administration.
"The unprecedented obstruction of the Senate's advice and consent obligation is an assault on the separation of powers and a violation of the Constitution," Merkley said. "The president and Mitch McConnell want to ram through this nomination come hell or high water, without real advice or informed consent by the Senate, but that's just not how our Constitution works."
"Americans deserve a justice whose lifetime appointment is not tainted by political gamesmanship and whose appointment comes after full release and examination of his records," declared Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, which is representing Merkley, along with the firm Mehri & Skalet.
"We are witnessing a U.S. Supreme Court nomination process that, from its onset, is an executive branch power grab giving the president unchecked authority over choosing this important lifetime appointment without a vigorous review of the nominee's records," she added. "At every turn, this process has been one shrouded in secrecy and is discordant with the process as laid out in the Constitution."