Democratic women show support for Kavanaugh accuser

Melissa Nann Burke
The Detroit News
Christine Blasey Ford arrives to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Sept. 27, 2018.

Washington — The three women in Michigan's congressional delegation on Thursday expressed solidarity with Christine Blasey Ford as her testimony on Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court nomination got underway before a U.S. Senate panel. 

Ford has accused the federal appeals court judge of sexual assault when they were both in high school. Kavanaugh has strongly denied the allegations. 

Ford spoke publicly for the first time Thursday, telling her story to the Senate Judiciary Committee and taking questions from Democratic senators and an outside attorney hired by the Republican-controlled panel. 

U.S. Reps. Debbie Dingell of Dearborn and Brenda Lawrence of Southfield were among a group of 30-40 Democratic House women who went to the Senate side of the U.S. Capitol on Thursday morning to deliver a letter to Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. 

"What we were saying is we have her back. And we’re not going back to what it was like before," Dingell said in an interview.

"The letter asked (McConnell) postpone the vote, let the FBI investigate it, and let’s get the facts. Treat the women with courtesy."

Lawrence added: "We went through this with Clarence Thomas and Anita Hill, and we need to have an investigation."

She was referring to the Supreme Court nominee who in 1991 was accused of sexual harassment and was confirmed to the court.

Dingell last fall told of her own experiences with sexual misconduct as the #MeToo movement was unfolding in the wake of allegations against several high-profile men. 

"Victims are shamed. That’s why people don’t come forward," Dingell said. 

"How do we create a process where someone can say something’s inappropriate without it being the woman’s fault automatically?"

Lawrence said Ford came across as credible — "as someone I believed."

"In her demeanor and her deliberate recall of the situation," Lawrence said. 

"You can tell that, even in giving her presentation, that she was reliving some of the stress and some of the fear she had at that moment after all these years." 

Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Lansing, tweeted that "Today is an important day for our country." 

"Judge Kavanaugh is applying for a lifetime job at the highest court in our country. If any other potential employee had allegations against them like those brought forward by multiple women, a responsible employer would do an extensive background check on those charges before hiring that person. That's the U.S. Senate's job." 

Stabenow, who has already said she opposes his nomination, questioned why Kavanaugh isn't calling for a background investigation to clear his name. 

Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel on Thursday highlighted a group of women rallying outside the Capitol to show their support for Kavanaugh. 

"Hundreds of women have known Judge Kavanaugh to be a man of the highest character and integrity," tweeted McDaniel, former chair of the Michigan Republican Party.

"They are standing with him today. #IStandWithBrett"