During his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday, embattled Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh touted the American Bar Association's unanimous ruling that he was "thoroughly vetted" and "well-qualified" for a seat on the Court.
Kavanaugh was grilled by the Committee for hours after Dr. Christine Blasey Ford shared her allegations that Kavanaugh tried to rape her during a high school party in the 1980's.
"For 12 years, everyone who has appeared before me on the D.C. Circuit has praised my judicial temperament," Kavanaugh said Thursday. "That's why I have the unanimous, well-qualified rating from the American Bar Association."
After Ford's powerful account of what she claims happened 36 years ago, however, the American Bar Association sent a strongly-worded letter to the Committee Thursday night in which the organization requests the Committee votes “only after an appropriate background check into the allegations made by Professor Blasey and others is completed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation."
Addressed to chairman Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and ranking member Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), the letter said " the ABA's respect for the rule of law and due process under law" requires it to push the Senate to have the FBI investigate the decades-old accusations.
"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," wrote Robert Carlson, president of the organization.
"Each appointment to our nation's Highest Court (as with all others) is simply too important to rush to a vote," Carlson wrote. "Deciding to proceed without conducting an 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."
Carlson added that allowing the FBI to investigate the charges against Kavanaugh would "demonstrate its commitment to a Supreme Court that is above reproach."
The Washington Post noted on Friday:
"The ABA, with 400,000 members, is the legal profession’s largest organization. Kavanaugh and his supporters have bragged about its favorable rating of the nominee, with Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) describing the imprimatur as the 'gold standard.'"
A vote is scheduled for Friday to move Kavanaugh out of committee so the full Senate can decide to confirm him to the Supreme Court for life. Senate Republicans claim they have the votes, with undecideds like Arizona's Jeff Flake and Tennesee's Bob Corker indicating they plan to vote 'Yes.'
Ford went public with her allegations against Kavanaugh last week, throwing his advancement to the High Court into question. Within days, two more accusers surfaced with stories that Kavanaugh had sexually assaulted them during his high school and college years.
Both Ford and Kavanaugh delivered powerful testimony to the Committee on Thursday. Ford said she is "100 percent certain" Kavanaugh tried to drunkenly rape her at a high school house party. Kavanaugh strongly denied ever assaulting anyone, often getting angry and flustered as he spoke before the Committee.
Social media erupted with calls for an investigation, which Kavanaugh, Senate Republicans, and President Donald Trump have refused to support.
"This Senate is nuts," one user quipped.
An investigation could help clear Kavanaugh's name if he is indeed innocent.
Harvard Law School professor Alan Dershowitz, often a supporter of the president, also called for an FBI investigation into Kavanaugh and the allegations against him.
"The Senate Judiciary Committee needs to slow down and postpone its vote on the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court until the FBI can investigate accusations of sexual misconduct leveled against him by three women," Dershowitz wrote in a Fox News opinion piece on Thursday.
"The accusers and other witnesses should be questioned by the FBI and then be summoned to testify before the Judiciary Committee," he said. "All sides have an interest in a full and thorough examination of these serious charges."
"Maybe we can get closer to the truth, although that is not certain. But right now there are too many unanswered question to bring the confirmation of Kavanaugh – currently a judge on the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia – to a vote of the Judiciary Committee as scheduled on Friday, much less to a vote of the full Senate."
"In the end," Dershowitz concluded, "a tough choice will have to be made by the Senate and it is likely it will be made based largely on partisan considerations. This is not America’s finest moment."