Arguing that Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) currently has more than enough information about Brett Kavanaugh's judicial record, partisanship, and sexual assault allegations to know that he is not fit to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court, eight women were arrested early Tuesday morning for occupying the senator's campaign headquarters and demanding he vote against the judge's confirmation.
The women were among 18 protesters, many of whom were sexual assault survivors, who demonstrated at Manchin's office throughout the day Monday. Manchin took a conference call with the women, but refused to commit to voting against Kavanaugh.
"I believe women deserve respect. Senator Manchin, show you agree and vote no to Brett Kavanaugh. If you don't, I will not have it in my conscience to vote for you this November." —Betsy Forester, West Virginia voter"If Joe Manchin votes to confirm Kavanaugh, it will be just one more example of Manchin falling in line to advance his own interests, rather than serving the people and the women of West Virginia," said Katey Lauer, one of the women involved in the action.
Manchin's has refused to clearly oppose Kavanaugh days after the judge offered a belligerent defense against Dr. Christine Ford, Deborah Ramirez, and Julie Swetnick, who have all accused him of sexual assault.
In his testimony he denounced "the left" for orchestrating the allegations, and on Monday additional evidence emerged that he may have committed perjury by lying under oath. Although Kavanaugh told the Senate Judiciary Committee that he learned of Ramirez's accusation when it was reported in the New Yorker, NBC News reported that his Yale classmates had been contacted by his lawyers and possibly Kavanaugh himself in an attempt to discredit Ramirez before her story came out.
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"I believe women deserve respect," said Betsy Forester, speaking directly to Manchin on the conference call. "Senator Manchin, show you agree and vote no to Brett Kavanaugh. If you don't, I will not have it in my conscience to vote for you this November."
Even before the allegations against Kavanaugh were publicized, the women argued, Manchin should have been committed to voting against President Donald Trump's nominee.
"Senator Manchin is waffling on what should be a very easy decision. He shouldn't need an FBI investigation to believe Dr. Ford's powerful allegations of sexual assault by Brett Kavanaugh—this isn't a criminal investigation, it's a job interview," said Emily Comer. "But even before those allegations, Kavanaugh's judicial record against women was straightforward. He has consistently argued against reproductive freedom, against our right to healthcare, and against unions."
In addition to pledging to vote against Manchin if he supports Kavanaugh, the grassroots group Vote with W.V. Women is raising money for pro-woman candidates to challenge him in future elections.
After creating the fundraiser on Go Fund Me on Monday, the group had raised more than $4,000 in less than 24 hours.