Gardner to vote ‘yes’ on Kavanaugh

Author: Erin Prater - October 5, 2018 - Updated: October 6, 2018

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, left, meets with U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner on June 26. (Photo courtesy of Gardner’s office)

U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner confirmed Friday that he will vote to confirm Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court, saying that “no evidence was found by the FBI to corroborate the allegations made against him” about sexual misconduct decades ago.

“I have supported every opportunity to ensure we have all available information before us,” Gardner, R-Colorado, said in a written statement. “This included listening to hours of testimony, reading and re-reading transcripts and statements, and studying interviews of over 150 people spanning 25 years in seven FBI background investigations.”

Gardner praised “victimized women” who came forward, calling them “brave and courageous.”

“Each victim of abuse, assault and violence has been through an unspeakable tragedy, and we need to do a better job listening to them, ensuring support is available, and fighting to end abuse of any kind,” he said. “I hope that the partisan divide we all feel today does not hinder the people that have bravely come forward.”

Gardner had not said previously how he would vote, but he had not been counted among the very few Republicans who were pondering whether to oppose Kavanaugh.

In July, after meeting Kavanaugh and before accusations of misconduct had emerged, Gardner said the jurist would make “an incredible Supreme Court justice,” adding: “Clearly he is a well-qualified judge who has incredible experience in the federal courts.”

Liberal advocacy group ProgressNow Colorado blasted Gardner’s decision in a Friday press release, saying it came less than a day after he met with a group of Colorado women, including sexual assault survivors, in his office in Washington.

“After Sen. Cory Gardner sat with us, his constituents yesterday, after five-plus hours of waiting and hundreds of calls/emails/faxes, he once again showed us that we don’t matter enough to him to do the right thing,” said Arriana Belkin of the Reproductive Rights Movement in a press release from ProgressNow. “Our lives and bodies are not Cory’s to use for his political gain.”

Colorado Democratic Party Chair Morgan Carroll also issued a statement Friday in reaction to Gardner’s announcement of support for Kavanaugh, stating that the senator will “go down in history as a capitulating coward.”

On Thursday evening Colorado’s other senator, Democrat Michael Bennet, argued on the Senate floor against Kavanaugh’s nomination, stating that his confirmation “would threaten hard-won progress” for Coloradans with pre-existing health conditions, same-sex couples and survivors of sexual assault, among others.

Bennet had said almost a month ago — long before allegations of sexual misconduct emerged — that he would vote against Kavanaugh.

A deeply divided Senate pushed Kavanaugh’s nomination past a key procedural hurdle Friday, and prospects seemed to improve that the conservative jurist was headed toward the nation’s highest court despite allegations that he sexually assaulted women decades ago. A final showdown vote was expected Saturday.

Senators voted 51-49 to limit debate, defeating Democratic efforts to scuttle the nomination with endless delays. In the closely divided chamber, Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski was the only Republican voting to stop the nomination, West Virginia’s Joe Manchin the sole Democrat to keep it alive.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Erin Prater

Erin Prater

Erin Prater is Colorado Politics' digital editor. She is a multimedia journalist with 15 years of experience writing, editing and designing for newspapers, magazines, websites and publishing houses. Her previous positions include military reporter at The Gazette, general assignment reporter at The Huerfano County (Colo.) World, copy editor at David C. Cook publishing house and adjunct mass communication instructor at Pueblo Community College. Her bylines include The New York Times Upfront, The Argus Leader (Sioux Falls, S.D.), Military Spouse magazine and Omaha Magazine (Omaha, Neb.). Her syndicated bylines include The Denver Post, MSNBC.com, Military.com and wire services.