"I will not vote to confirm him."
Senator Heidi Heitkamp says she waited until she had a chance to review the FBI report from its investigation into Judge Brett Kavanaugh before deciding how she would vote on his nomination to the Supreme Court. Heitkamp says as a former lawyer, prosecutor and North Dakota Attorney General, she knew she needed to see all the information before she made her final decision. She says any Senator who had made up their mind before reviewing the report did so prematurely.
Heitkamp also says she is greatly disappointed in how the process of the Kavanaugh nomination has progressed. She says she can see the public responding to it on both sides of the political aisle, and says she hopes moving forward lessons can be learned.
"One of the things that is critically important is that we need to make sure at least one of our institutions, that being the court, is not the subject of hyper-partisan, divisive politics. I think what we saw here was exactly that, and I sincerely hope that this never happens again."
Heitkamp says in addition to the findings of the FBI report, Kavanaugh's performance during confirmation hearings and his records greatly differed from the last Supreme Court Justice she voted to confirm, Neil Gorsuch. Heitkamp says Kavanaugh's testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee last week regarding sexual assault allegations called into question his temperament, honesty and impartiality - which she says are critical traits for Supreme Court Justices. Heitkamp also says she believes the account of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, and the standard of believability was what she based her decision on.
"When I listened to her testify, I heard the voices of those women who I worked with professionally, or were friends, or were classmates or relatives of mine experiencing the same kinds of stories, and the same kinds stories and the same kinds of anguish and fear. I think that it is critically important that I say, quite honestly, I believed her. That doesn't mean that I think that Judge Kavanaugh wasn't believable when he denied it, he may just not remember it. But I believed her when she said told her story, and I believe that that kind of behavior has consequences."
Heitkamp's vote on the Kavanaugh nomination has been considered a key vote during the confirmation process.