The word "chickenshit" became one of the operative adjectives and "sham" a widely-used noun overnight after it was learned late Tuesday that Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee had hired an outside female prosecutor to grill Dr. Christine Blasey Ford during a hearing scheduled for Thursday and then proceed to a committee vote to confirm Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh on Friday morning, less than a day later.
"Outrageous... First Republicans demanded Dr. Blasey Ford testify immediately. Now they don't even need to hear her before they move ahead with a vote."
—Sen. Dianne FeinsteinResponding to the scheduling of the vote for less than 24 hours after Kavanaugh and Ford testify over accusations he sexually assaulted her when the two were in high school, Sen. Kamala Harris, the Democrat from California and only one of four women on the committee, said, "This means little to no chance for the American people to contact them and weigh in. This is a sham."
"For Republicans to schedule a Friday vote on Kavanaugh today, 2 days before Dr. Blasey Ford has had a chance to tell her story, is outrageous," echoed Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif), the committee's ranking member. "First Republicans demanded Dr. Blasey Ford testify immediately. Now they don't even need to hear her before they move ahead with a vote."
Senator Chuck Grassley just announced that the Judiciary committee will vote on Kavanaugh this Friday morning. Dr. Ford is testifying on Thursday.
— Karine Jean-Pierre (@K_JeanPierre) September 25, 2018
Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, called it "astounding" for Sen. Chuck Grassley, the chairman of the committee, to bring a final vote on Kavanaugh before the senators even had the opportunity to hear Ford's testimony.
"Kavanaugh faces mounting allegations that have not been properly investigated and vast amounts of his record remain concealed," Clarke said. "This process defies the principles of fairness, transparency and due process that should be in place for any nomination to our nation's highest Court."
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By hiring the outside female prosecutor—whose identity was initially kept a secret but revealed late Tuesday evening to be Rachel Mitchell, a career sex crimes prosecutor from Arizona—the GOP Senator Majority Mitch McConnell was taken to task for operating a major "chickenshit" and "cowardly" operation:
So I understand the white Republican men on the Judiciary Committee have hired a female lawyer to question Ms. Blassey Ford; better "optics." This strikes me as taking "chickenshit behavior" to a whole new level.
— Stephen King (@StephenKing) September 25, 2018
McConnell translated: We're cowards and are afraid of the optics, so we hired a woman to do our jobs for us—even though it's really not going to make us look any better.
— Barbara Walsh (@AtreiyaN7) September 25, 2018
If I was Dr. Ford, I would not answer any question unless the Senator that is asking the question is identified. Dont let Grassley or Hatch hide behind a woman to do their attacks.
— TD Gilbert (@TDGilbert417) September 25, 2018
While little has been reported yet about the background of Mitchell, the female prosecutor who has worked for nearly thirty years in the Maricopa County prosecutors office and now brought in to cross-examine Ford so that the male members of the committee don't have to, the New York Times noted in its roundup of her career, "Yes, that is the very same Maricopa County where Joe Arpaio was sheriff from 1993 to 2017."