U.S. Supreme Court

Judge Brett Kavanaugh may take a lifetime seat on the Supreme Court as early as next week, but only after shattering a rule about the confirmation process that had been set in stone for decades.

It was the rule that said you stood by your judicial record but held on tight to your judicial temperament. It was understood you had a party affiliation, but it shouldn't be worn on your sleeve. And above all, you were not to antagonize anyone.

You could call this the latest in a list of Capitol Hill norms to be lost in the era of President Trump.

Across the U.S., people spent the day rapt, watching or listening to the testimony of Christine Blasey Ford and Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday.

The proceedings were emotional throughout, as Ford told the story of the sexual assault that she alleges Kavanaugh made against her when the two were in high school, more than 30 years ago.

As Christine Blasey Ford testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday, people across the U.S. tuned in to watch her tell the emotional story of her alleged sexual assault by Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavavaugh more than 30 years ago.

Across the country — on the radio, television or the phones they carried — Americans listened.

Saul Loeb / Pool Image via AP

Updated at 5:47 p.m. ET

Updated at 8:47 p.m. ET

Judge Brett Kavanaugh was defiant and visibly angry as he testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday afternoon, rebutting earlier emotional testimony from the woman who has accused him of sexual assault, Christine Blasey Ford.

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The third woman who came forward Wednesday with allegations of sexual misconduct by Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh has a Miami connection.

Updated at 7:50 a.m. ET

Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, along with the American public, are hearing, for the first time, on Thursday directly from Christine Blasey Ford, the university professor who has accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault when they were both teenagers in high school.

On Thursday, Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh will appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee to testify on a sexual assault allegation by Christine Blasey Ford, who is also testifying. Read Kavanaugh's opening statement below, submitted to the panel on Wednesday.

Christine Blasey Ford has accused Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when they were in high school in the early 1980s. On Thursday the psychology professor is testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Read her opening statement below.

President Trump holds a press conference Wednesday evening at the U.N. General Assembly in New York.
PBS NewsHour / YouTube

Updated at 9:24 p.m.

The outside attorney who will be directing questions to Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford, who has accused Kavanaugh of sexual assault, is a prosecutor from Arizona who has dedicated her career to prosecuting sex crimes — and pushed for best practices in investigations to protect and serve victims of assault.

Rachel Mitchell is head of the sex crimes unit at the Maricopa County Attorney's Office and has decades of experience prosecuting criminal cases of sexual assault and abuse.

Updated at 8:59 p.m. ET

The Senate Judiciary Committee is reviewing a statement from a third woman who has come forward with sexual misconduct allegations against Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh.

The allegations, from a woman identified as Julie Swetnick, were made public by attorney Michael Avenatti on Wednesday morning. Avenatti posted Swetnick's three-page sworn declaration on Twitter.

The stakes are high for Thursday's Capitol Hill hearing, pitting Trump Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh against Christine Blasey Ford, who has accused him of sexual assault — an accusation Kavanaugh has denied — when they were both in high school more than three decades ago.

Updated at 5:20 p.m. ET

Twenty-seven years after testifying that then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas sexually harassed her, Anita Hill says she believes the upcoming hearing on an alleged sexual assault by the current nominee "cannot be fair and thorough."

As it stands now, the hearing cannot provide the senators "with enough information to reach a reasonable conclusion," Hill tells NPR.

Updated at 7:47 p.m. ET

President Trump attacked Brett Kavanaugh's second accuser Tuesday, saying she "has nothing" on the Supreme Court nominee and was "totally inebriated and all messed up" during a college party at which, she said, Kavanaugh exposed himself to her.

Trump, at a photo op during his visit to the United Nations, said the accusations were part of a "con game being played by Democrats."

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