Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on the third day of his Supreme Court confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill September 6, 2018 in Washington, DC. Kavanaugh was nominated by President Donald Trump to fill the vacancy on the court left by retiring Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy.
Drew Angerer - Getty Images
By Alix Langone
September 16, 2018

Shortly after Professor Christine Blasey Ford identified herself as the woman accusing Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct Sunday, Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles Grassley released a statement questioning the timing of the Democrats’ decision to go public with the allegations.

Though a number of Democrats have called for Kavanaugh’s confirmation vote to be delayed, a GOP judiciary spokesperson has told TIME the vote has not been rescheduled.

“It raises a lot of questions about Democrats’ tactics and motives to bring this to the rest of the committee’s attention only now rather than during these many steps along the way,” Grassley’s statement reads. “Senator Feinstein should publicly release the letter she received back in July so that everyone can know what she’s known for weeks.”

Kavanaugh has “categorically” denied the allegations, saying, “I did not do this back in high school or at any time.” During his Senate hearings earlier this month, he said under oath that he had never sexually harassed anyone, answering a question from Sen. Mazie Hirono.

Sen. Lindsey Graham also expressed “concerns” about the timing of the allegations on Sunday, but welcomed Ford to offer the committee any information she has “immediately so the process can continue as scheduled.”

Sen. Diane Feinstein, the ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, defended her decision to withhold Ford’s accusations in her own statement, released on Sunday afternoon.

“It has always been Mrs. Ford’s decision whether to come forward publicly,” the statement reads. “I support Mrs. Ford’s decision to share her story, and now that she has, it is in the hands of the FBI to conduct an investigation. This should happen before the Senate moves forward on this nominee.”

Sen. Chuck Schumer, the Senate Minority leader, also released a statement regarding Ford’s accusations of sexual misconduct against Kavanaugh, saying the vote to confirm Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, which is a lifetime appointment, should be delayed.

“Senator Grassley must postpone the vote until, at a very minimum, these serious and credible allegations are thoroughly investigated,” Schumer’s statement reads. “To railroad a vote now would be an insult of the women of America and the integrity of the Supreme Court.”

Several other Democrats on the Judiciary Committee also called to delay the vote on Sunday.

As the Republicans control 51 seats of the Senate, even if every Democrat votes against Kavanaugh, if Republicans vote as a block, the confirmation will pass. Republican Senators Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins have been seen as possibly voting “no,” though neither has put out a statement regarding the assault accusations.

Ford alleges that the Supreme Court nominee sexually assaulted her in high school, and recounted her story to The Washington Post. She told the paper that she declined to speak for weeks, or allow Sen. Feinstein to name her, because of “concerns about what going public would mean for her and her family.”

According to the Post, Ford took a polygraph test in August and presented the results to the paper that allegedly conclude she was being truthful in her accusation.

 

Alana Abramson contributed reporting to this story.

Contact us at editors@time.com.

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