SUPREME COURT NOMINATION

Gardner to vote to approve Kavanaugh

By Anna Staver
The Denver Post

Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., plans to vote to confirm Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court on Saturday despite the allegations of sexual misconduct levied against him by multiple women.

“I announced my support for Judge Kavanaugh in July, and I will be voting to approve his nomination to the Supreme Court …,” Gardner said in a statement Friday afternoon, after voting for the judge in an earlier procedural vote. “No evidence was found by the FBI to corroborate the allegations made against him or to make me change the support I announced for him in July.”

The report, which is being kept inside a secure room in the Capitol, included interviews with multiple people, including the man Christine Blasey Ford said was in the room when Kavanaugh attempted to sexually assault her. However, Democrats such as Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., say the report didn’t include interviews with dozens of witnesses who potentially could have corroborated Ford’s story.

“She had no reason to make anything up and every reason to stay quiet,” Bennet said during a Senate floor speech Thursday.

Kavanaugh has forcefully denied the allegations from Ford and a woman from Boulder named Deborah Ramirez who accused the judge of exposing himself to her in college.

The news that Gardner would vote for President Donald Trump’s nominee wasn’t a surprise to 16 Colorado women who traveled to Washington this week and met with Gardner for almost an hour Thursday. Still, they were disappointed.

“We feel abandoned by Senator Gardner. We had to travel over 1,600 miles each and spend five hours standing in front of his office urging his staff for a face-to-face meeting,” Fawn Balok said. “When he finally agreed to meet with us, he told us to our faces he was undecided.”

Balok and other survivors of sexual violence made the trip as part of a national effort by the American Civil Liberties Union to persuade senators to vote against the nomination.

Gardner’s office also told The Denver Post early Thursday evening that the Republican senator was waiting to finish reading the FBI report before making a decision. Hours later, he told a reporter from Politico that he would be voting to confirm Kavanaugh.

With Republicans holding a razor-thin margin in the Senate, it’s looking likely that Kavanaugh will be confirmed Saturday. It’s not definite, though. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, announced that she would be voting against the nomination Friday, but Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, proclaimed her support for Kavanaugh in the afternoon.

Whatever the outcome Saturday, at least some of Gardner’s constituents will remember his vote.

“Women are the largest voting bloc,” Balok said. “We will remember in 2020 when he’s up for re-election that he abandoned us when we needed him.”