Lawyer For Christine Blasey Ford Reacts To Senate Procedural Vote On Kavanaugh

Oct 5, 2018
Originally published on October 5, 2018 10:04 pm
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ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh has secured enough votes to be confirmed to the Supreme Court, and the final Senate vote is expected tomorrow. That's despite Christine Blasey Ford's allegations of sexual assault against the nominee. She says Kavanaugh pinned her down and covered her mouth when she tried to scream while they were both at a gathering in high school. He has strenuously denied those claims.

Our colleague Michel Martin spoke earlier today with one of Ford's lawyers, Lisa Banks. And Michel started by asking how professor Ford is doing.

LISA BANKS: I think she's doing as well as can be expected. And I think she's keeping an eye on things and following what's happening. But mostly she's trying to work on getting back to life as she knew it before.

MICHEL MARTIN, BYLINE: Does she think she's going to be able to do that?

BANKS: Well, I think she hopes to do that. She's not living in her house yet. She continues to receive threats, but she also continues to receive thousands and thousands of messages of support.

MARTIN: Many Republican senators, even the president, initially talked about how credible they found her to be. So what does she now make of the fact and what do you now make of the fact that so many of the same senators say that they are nevertheless planning to vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh? What do you think that means?

BANKS: I think that means we're in a very political environment. And she certainly was credible. I think everybody recognizes that she was telling the truth. The committee members had to take that information. The senators have to take that information and make the best vote they can or to cast the best vote they can. And I think it's not surprising in this day and age that in large respect, this is coming down to a party line vote.

MARTIN: Does professor Ford wish she had come forward sooner, I mean, knowing that Republicans have now described this as a last-minute ambush? Now, from her perspective, obviously it wasn't. I mean, she did try to reach out to her representatives some months ago. But given that this is how it has now been characterized, how does she feel about her decision to come forward, and does she wish she'd come forward sooner?

BANKS: Well, she came forward when she learned that he was on the short list of nominees. She came forward to her representative. So this was not politically motivated at all. He hadn't yet been nominated. And at that point, she had to make the difficult calculation of the desire to come forward and perform her civic duty with what she knew would be the tremendous personal cost to her and her family. And so she had to weigh that. And ultimately she did come forward, and that was partly because her name was leaked. She had initially wanted her name to be confidential.

MARTIN: How does she feel about coming forward? Is she glad that she did? Does she regret that she did?

BANKS: I think she has always felt that it was the right thing to do to provide this information to the Judiciary Committee so they could make the best decision possible. And so she does not regret the fact that she did it.

MARTIN: So if Judge Kavanaugh is confirmed to the Supreme Court, what do you think that means?

BANKS: I don't know that I can say what that means other than we're going to have a debate I think in this country about what it means when women come forward and how our institutions handle that information and respond to it.

MARTIN: But I do have to press the question, though. If Judge Kavanaugh is confirmed even after this messy process, will Dr. Ford feel that she failed?

BANKS: No. Dr. Ford's goal here was never to impact the process, to derail a nomination. What she was trying to do was what she thought was the right thing to do as a citizen, which is to provide the information to the U.S. Senate so they could make the most informed decision possible. Her goal wasn't to derail this nomination. It was to inform the nomination. And she's done that. So there is no way anybody could look at what has happened here and determine that she has failed.

SHAPIRO: That's Lisa Banks, attorney for Christine Blasey Ford, talking with our colleague NPR's Michel Martin. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.