The Senate Judiciary Committee announced Tuesday that it had rescheduled a vote on Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination for Friday morning.
The vote is scheduled to take place at 9:30 a.m. ET one day after Kavanaugh and sex assault accuser Christine Blasey Ford are due to testify before lawmakers. Ford has claimed that Kavanaugh tried removing her clothes during a party when they were in high school. Kavanaugh denies her accusation.
Ford sent a letter making her accusation against Kavanaugh to Judiciary Committee ranking member Dianne Feinstein in July. On Tuesday, Feinstein said the committee’s action in scheduling a vote was “outrageous.”
“First Republicans demanded Dr. Blasey Ford testify immediately. Now Republicans don’t even need to hear her before they move ahead with a vote,” she said in a statement. “It’s clear to me that Republicans don’t want this to be a fair process.”
A successful vote Friday is not necessary to advance Kavanaugh’s nomination to the full Senate. Current Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas received no recommendation from the Judiciary Committee in 1991, but was still confirmed by the Senate. Conversely, Robert Bork received an unfavorable recognition from the committee in 1987, though his nomination was rejected by the full Senate.
The allegations by Ford, who went public with her claims Sept. 16, have caused cracks in what appeared to be a smooth path to confirmation for Kavanaugh. Multiple Republican senators have told Fox News that they want to hear Ford’s testimony before deciding which way to vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination.
Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, a key undecided Republican, told reporters she will be “glued to the television” during Thursday’s hearing.
However, GOP lawmakers sounded more bullish about Kavanaugh’s chances on Tuesday, with some discussing keeping the Senate in session this weekend so that they can begin the process of confirming Kavanaugh right away.
“I go into the hearings with very positive feelings about him, and I hope Thursday goes well,” Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., told reporters.
The debate took another twist Sunday night when the New Yorker magazine published claims by Deborah Ramirez, a Yale classmate of Kavanaugh who says he exposed himself to her while drunk at a college party in the 1980s. Kavanaugh has denied that allegation as well.
Fox News has learned that Judiciary Committee staffers interviewed Kavanaugh by phone about the Ramirez allegations on Tuesday. A source familiar with the call told Fox News that Republican staffers led the interview, while Democratic aides listened without asking any questions. Another source told Fox News that Democratic staffers were told about the call with Kavanaugh 15 minutes before it took place, giving them no time to prepare.
Fox News’ Chad Pergram, Mike Emanuel and Jason Donner and The Associated Press contributed to this report.