MSNBC's Ari Melber Conducts Panel on Kavanaugh Allegations, All Five Guests Oppose SCOTUS Nominee

Ari Melber / YouTube
September 18, 2018

MSNBC's Ari Melber hosted a panel on "The Beat" Monday to discuss recent developments in the sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, and all five guests stood in opposition to the Supreme Court nominee.

The five panelists on the show included Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D., Conn.), Maya Wiley, Nancy Erika Smith, Ilyse Hogue and Liz Plank. The panelists reacted to recent developments related to sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh. The Washington Post reported on Sunday that Christine Blasey Ford, a professor in California, was the previously anonymous woman who accused Kavanaugh of sexual assault while they were teenagers in high school. In a letter she sent via Rep. Anna Eshoo (D., Calif.) to Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.) in July, Ford claimed Kavanaugh drunkenly held her down, groped her, and attempted to undress her at a party in Maryland in the early 1980s.

Kavanaugh has vehemently denied the allegation and released a second statement on Monday where he said he is willing to talk to the Senate Judiciary Committee again. The committee has scheduled a hearing for next Monday with Kavanaugh, but it is unclear if they will proceed if Ford does not participate. As of Tuesday afternoon, Ford had not responded to an invite to participate. Senate Democrats have called for a FBI to reopen Kavanaugh's background check ahead of a hearing.

Blumenthal, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has expressed his opposition to Kavanaugh for months, saying last month that he would not meet with the nominee because it would be a "deceptive charade after his evasive and meaningless answers to my colleagues." He also accused Kavanaugh of having a "distorted view" of the First Amendment. During Monday's interview, he said there needs to be a FBI investigation into the allegations against Kavanaugh before the Senate Judiciary Committee even holds a hearing with him and Ford.

Wiley, a MSNBC legal analyst, argued on Twitter in July that President Donald Trump should not be able to fill a Supreme Court vacancy because he is "facing a criminal investigation that includes conspiracy and obstruction of justice." She also called Kavanaugh's potential nomination in early July "chilling," claiming Kavanaugh said Trump is above the law. She tweeted a couple weeks later that Kavanaugh is "bad 4 our health." During Monday's interview, she said it was "already disturbing" that Kavanaugh could be a Supreme Court justice, and she went on to say the alleged crime against Kavanaugh was about power, not sex.

Smith, who defended former Fox News host Gretchen Carlson in a sexual harassment case last year, started off Monday's interview by claiming Kavanaugh "disrespects women," accusing him of believing women shouldn't be able to control their bodies. She went on to say he has a "lack of empathy for women" that is "disqualifying." She has also called Kavanaugh a "racist" and said earlier this month that the Senate should "vote no" on his confirmation.

Hogue, the president of  NARAL Pro-Choice America, has been an outspoken critic of Kavanaugh since Trump announced his nomination in July. Like NARAL did in the case of Trump's previous nominee, Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch, Hogue's organization has aggressively attacked Kavanaugh. It has argued he will reverse Roe v. Wade despite Kavanaugh saying during testimony earlier this month that the ruling was "important precedent." Not only did she praise Senate Democrats for speaking out against Kavanaugh, but she demanded the nominee withdraw weeks before Ford's allegations became public. During Monday's interview, she said she "agree[d] absolutely" with Smith and said her organization's opposition to Kavanaugh "transcends politics," despite their support of Democratic, pro-choice candidates.

Plank, a political correspondent for Vox, said on Monday that she doesn't think Trump should be able to nominate Kavanaugh because he has been accused of sexual assault, adding that she agreed with Blumenthal on calling for a FBI investigation into Kavanaugh. Prior to Ford's allegations being made public, she retweeted several tweets calling for the Senate to vote against Kavanaugh, including a Teen Vogue article titled, "Why we can and must #StopKavanaugh."