North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, a Democrat from a heavily Republican state who is up for re-election in November, unequivocally said that she will oppose Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court.
"I will be voting no on Judge Kavanaugh,” Heitkamp said in a raw interview with CNN on Thursday. "After doing my due diligence and now that the record is apparently closed, I will vote against his confirmation."
Heitkamp’s decision comes after Stanford professor Christine Blasey Ford testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee last Thursday that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when they were in high school while his pal Mark Judge looked on and laughed. Following Ford’s measured testimony, Kavanaugh spoke in blustery, heated, accusatory, and often disrespectful tones to members of the Judiciary Committee alternately denying the allegations and affirming his status as a good-ole party boy.
Since Ford came forward with allegations of sexual assault against Kavanaugh, two other women have accused him of harassment and/or assault. His former Yale classmate Deborah Ramirez accused him of shoving his genitals in her face at a party when they were freshmen while another of Kavanaugh's acquaintances, Julie Swetnick, said she was a witness to how a drunk Kavanaugh would paw at women and grab their genitals at parties.
“When I listened to Dr. Ford testify, I heard the voices of women I have known throughout my life who have similar stories of sexual assault and abuse,” Heitkamp said.
"Countless North Dakotans and others close to me have since reached out and told me their stories of being raped or sexually assaulted — and expressed the same anguish and fear,” Heitkamp continued. “I'm in awe of their courage, too. Some of them reported their abuse at the time, but others said nothing until now. Survivors should be respected for having the strength to share what happened to them — even if a generation has since passed. They still feel the scars and suffer the trauma of abuse."
Heitkamp’s announcement also follows a rally in Mississippi where Trump went on a tear attempting to poke holes in Ford’s story while his supporters laughed and cheered.
The senator pointed out that sending Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court would be for a lifetime appointment, adding that her decision is not "political," she said, alluding to the fact that her decision could negatively impact her reelection bid.
Kavanaugh’s confirmation hinges on four senators who have not yet confirmed how they will vote. Those include West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, a Democrat in a deeply Republican state, and Republican Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Susan Collins of Maine, and Jeff Flake of Arizona; all Republicans.
“There’s an old saying. History will judge you, but most importantly, you’ll judge yourself,” Heitkamp said. “That’s really what I’m saying. I can’t get up in the morning and look at the life experience that I’ve had and say ‘Yes, to Judge Kavanaugh.’”