Citing “respect for the rule of law and due process under law,” the president of the American Bar Association (ABA), Robert Carlson, sent a letter to Senators Charles Grassley and Dianne Feinstein urging that a vote on Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court be held “only after an appropriate background check into the allegations made by Professor Ford and others is completed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.”

The letter read, in full:

The American Bar Association urges the United States Senate Judiciary Committee (and, as appropriate, the full Senate) to conduct a confirmation vote on Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court of the United States only after an appropriate background check into the allegations made by Professor Ford and others is completed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

We make this request because of the ABA’s respect for the rule of law and due process under law. The basic principles that underscore the Senate’s constitutional duty of advice and consent on federal judicial nominees require nothing less than a careful examination of the accusations and facts by the FBI.

Each appointment to our nation’s Highest Court (as with all others) 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.

Respectfully, the Senate should recognize that a thorough FBI investigation will demonstrate its commitment to a Supreme Court that is above reproach

Thank you for your consideration of this critically important matter.

Carlson sent the letter after a tense Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on 27 September 2018, during which the committee heard testimony from both Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, who had accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her back in 1982, and Judge Kavanaugh himself.

Although some Democratic senators pressed Kavanaugh to call for or agree to an FBI investigation into the claims of Ford and other woman who made similar accusations against him, Kavanaugh repeatedly said only that “I welcome whatever the committee wants to do.”

Republican senators are concerned that waiting for an FBI investigations could push a vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination past the mid-term elections in November, after which the Democrats might gain control of the Senate and make the confirmation of Kavanaugh (or any other Trump nominee) much more difficult.

The ABA gave Kavanaugh a rating of “well qualified” when he was nominated for the Supreme Court by President Trump in July 2018.

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