Posts tagged with "Nomination"

Flake urges one-week delay for FBI probe of allegations against Kavanaugh

October 1,  2018

On Friday, September 28, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted 11-10 along party lines to advance Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s SCOTUS nomination to the entire Senate for a vote. However, the floor vote may be delayed for as long as one week.

After hearings on September 27 that comprised credible accusations of sexual assault made by Dr. Christine Blasey-Ford—and strong denials from the  nominee—the committee now is considering a variety of demands to conduct a more thorough investigation of the allegations through the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

A member of the committee, Republican Senator Jeff Flake (Arizona) voted with his GOP colleagues, but then called for a delay so that the FBI could investigate the accusations against Kavanaugh.

In addition, the American Bar Association, Yale University, and three Republican governors —Larry Hogan of Maryland, Charlie Baker of Massachusetts, and John Kasich of Ohio—called for a probe into the charges.

In a letter sent to committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (D-California) on the evening after the September 27 hearings,  Robert Carlson, the president of the American Bar Association called on the committee to halt the confirmation vote until “after an appropriate background check into the allegations made by Professor Ford and others is completed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

“Each appointment to our nation’s Highest Court (as with all others),” he said, “is simply too important to rush to a vote. Deciding to proceed without conducting additional investigation would not only have a lasting impact on the Senate’s reputation, but it will also negatively affect the great trust necessary for the American people to have in the Supreme Court. It must remain an institution that will reliably follow the law and not politics.

The call for a pause is significant, The New York Times said,  not just because of the bar association’s clout in the legal community, but because an A.B.A. committee had said unanimously a month ago that Judge Kavanaugh was “well-qualified” for the Supreme Court, its highest possible designation. Judge Kavanaugh and his supporters had noted that distinction in arguing for his nomination to be approved by the Senate.

Meanwhile, 48 members of the faculty of Kavanaugh’s alma mater, Yale Law School, sent a letter delineating concerns about “a rush to judgment.” They noted “Where, as here, a sexual assault has been alleged against an individual nominated for a lifetime appointment in a position of public trust, a partisan hearing alone cannot be the forum to determine the truth of the matter. Allegations of sexual assault require a neutral factfinder and an investigation that can ascertain facts fairly.  Those at the FBI or others tasked with such an investigation must have adequate time to investigate facts. Fair process requires evidence from all parties with direct knowledge and consultation of experts when evaluating such evidence. In subsequent hearings, all of those who testify, and particularly women testifying about sexual assault, must be treated with respect.

In addition, three Republican governors—John Kasich of Ohio, Charlie Baker of Massachusetts and Phil Scott of Vermont—called for the GOP-controlled Senate to slow down Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court, and a fourth called the accusations against him “disturbing.”

According to a report by the Huffington Post, Baker and Kasich both weighed in on Twitter. Baker described the allegations as “sickening” and said there should be no Senate vote until an independent investigation is complete. Kasich, who is in his final year as governor and is widely seen as a potential long-shot primary challenger to President Donald Trump in 2020, went further in his own statement, saying he would not support Kavanaugh’s confirmation “in the absence of a complete and thorough investigation.”

Scott made similar remarks to the Burlington Free Press. “This is a lifetime appointment,” Scott said. “And I’m not taking a position on Judge Kavanaugh himself, but we owe it to Americans to make sure that they get it right. Because this doesn’t happen every day. And it’s their obligation to do so. So take your time. Investigate.”

In addition, the Huffington Post reported, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan told The Baltimore Sun on September 26 that the accusations were “disturbing” and gave him “great pause.”

He noted,“There are credible charges and big concerns. They need to be heard,” he said after an event in Montgomery County. “They ought to take whatever time it takes to make sure these accusers are heard and he has a chance to respond to them.”

Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina)—who, as a committee member, had adamantly defended the nominee during the hearings on September 27—told CNN after the committee vote that he did not think the delay was necessary, but “this is democracy.” He added, “If Jeff feels better about it, I’ll feel better about it,”

Currently, according to Fox News, 56% of U.S. voters would delay the full Senate floor confirmation process on Kavanaugh to allow for more investigation of the allegations against him; and 31% would not delay.

Rsearch contact: @foxnewspoll

Opposition to Kavanaugh escalates among voters, especially women

September 24, 2018

Brett Kavanaugh is facing mounting backlash to his Supreme Court nomination, especially among women—turning his hearings and confirmation vote into the most polarized judicial battle in more than a decade, a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll released on September 20 has found.

Kavanaugh—who is embroiled in a controversy over sexual-assault allegations made by Christine Blasey Ford—is also the first court nominee in Journal/NBC polling dating to 2005 to draw more opposition than support among voters.

According to a report by the Journal late last week, the poll found that 38% of registered voters oppose the Kavanaugh nomination, up from 29% in a Journal/NBC poll last month. Some 34% said they support his nomination, which is about the same as in last month’s poll. More than one-quarter of voters say they don’t know enough to have an opinion.

The poll was taken Sept. 16-19, after Blasey-Ford ‘s letter, accusing Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when they were in high school, was released to the FBI by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-California).

Kavanaugh has denied the allegation, and members of the Senate Judiciary Committee have been debating the terms of a hearing that would draw testimony from the nominee and his accuser.

Kavanaugh’s weak support among women could have political ramifications in an election year in which suburban women are considered an important, swing voting group, the Journal reported. While men split 41% to 33% in favor of the Kavanaugh nomination, support among women was far lower, with 28% favoring the nomination and 42% in opposition.

College-educated women are particularly sour on. Kavanaugh: 49% of them oppose his nomination, while 28% support it.

Analyzed by party, the difference of opinion is wider than for any other nominee since 2005, with 66% of Democrats opposing the Kavanaugh nomination and 73% of Republicans supporting it.

Research contact: @hookjan

Trump nominates pesticide pro to be USDA’s chief scientist

July 19, 2018

On July 16, President Donald Trump nominated a former Dow Chemical executive who had worked in the company’s pesticide division to be the next chief scientist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). This would represent the POTUS’s third major hire of a Dow alumnus for his administration.

In recent history, Dow has been at odds with environmentalists and the USDA, not only over its pesticides, but over its genetically modified seeds.

Trump drafted Scott Hutchins for a position that has remained open since Sam Clovis’s’ nomination failed to clear the Senate, largely due to his lack of scientific background, Mother Jones reported this week.

Hutchins earned a doctoral degree in entomology—the study of insects and their relationship to humans, the environment and other organisms—from Iowa State University in 1987; so he has some knowledge of science. Since then, in addition to working in Dow’s pesticide division, Hutchins has served as global director for the company’s entire “crop protection” services division—which manufactures and markets pesticides, herbicides, and fungus killers.

In his role as chief scientist—formally known as undersecretary for Research, Education, and Economics—Hutchins would set the agenda for the USDA’s $2.9 billion research budget.

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue applauded Trump’s selection of Hutchins this week, saying, “I am very excited …. [Dr. Hutchins’] extensive background in research and commitment to sound science and data make him exceptionally qualified for this post, and I am eager to have Dr. Hutchins join the team.”

The nomination still must be confirmed by the Senate.

Research contact: press@oc.usda.gov

Haspel confirmation appears likely

May 17, 2018

Gina Haspel’s nomination to the position of CIA director was approved (10-5) in a closed-door meeting of the Senate Intelligence Committee early on May 16, CBS News has reported. It now goes to the Senate floor, where confirmation appears likely—although many Americans are still questioning her values and qualifications.

Committee Chairman Senator Richard Burr, (R-North Carolina), said after the vote that Haspel represents the “most qualified person the President could choose to lead the CIA and the most prepared nominee in the 70 year history of the Agency.”

Vice Chairman Senator Mark Warner, D-Virginia, who originally  had expressed concern about Haspel’s history at the agency —during which she took the lead on harsh forms of interrogation, including waterboarding, used on al Qaeda detainees at one of the CIA’s “black site” prisons—stated that he believes Haspel will be a “strong advocate for the Agency’s workforce, and an independent voice who can and will stand up on behalf of our nation’s intelligence community.”

He added, “Most importantly, I believe she is someone who can and will stand up to the President if ordered to do something illegal or immoral – like a return to torture.”

However, Americans continue to be split on whether overseeing torture should disqualify Haspel from getting the joba HuffPost/YouGov survey of 1,000 U.S. citizens over the age of 18 finds.

Told that Haspel reportedly supervised a “black site” where CIA personnel tortured suspected terrorists to gain information, 20% say they consider that to be a good thing and 39% view it as a bad thing.

Just under a third consider that record sufficient reason for her not to be confirmed to head the CIA, while 36% say it is not.

Those polled appear more troubled by reports that Haspel also helped to destroy videotapes documenting the torture of detainees. By a 2-to-1 margin, 44 percent to 22 percent, they say those actions should disqualify her from becoming the CIA’s director.

The only Senate Republicans who are not expected to vote for her are Kentucky’s Rand Paul and Arizona’s John McCain, who is battling brain cancer and is not expected to be present for the ballot.

Research contact: @HuffPost