Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme court nomination hit an 11th hour hurdle Sunday when a woman came forward and accused him of sexually assaulting her when they were both in high school.
The accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, a psychology professor at Palo Alto University in California detailed in the Washington Post Sunday what she said happened over 35 years ago while at a party at an unspecificed house amongst high schoolers. Kavanaugh, she said, pinned her down to bed and attempted to remove her clothing while he was drunk. She did not disclose the event until 2012 during therapy with her husband and admitted to not remembering key details about exactly when and where this took place.
Votes to confirm Kavanaugh to the highest court in the land were slated to occur this week but that is now in question in light of this latest revelation. Already some are saying Kavanaugh should still be confirmed, while others are insisting the vote be delayed and that his accuser be listened to and heard.
Kavanaugh issued a statement Monday flatly denying the allegation, calling it "completely false."
"I have never done anything like what the accuser describes — to her or to anyone," the statement read. Reports say the federal appeals court judge is willing to testify further on the matter in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Here are seven reactions to the latest developments in the Supreme Court nomination fight.
Kellyanne Conway: Accuser "should not be ignored or insulted"
White House advisor to the president Kellyanne Conway struck a measured tone about the Kavanaugh allegations Monday, saying in a Fox & Friends interview that she has spoken with President Trump about it at length and that Ford "should not be ignored or insulted."
"Allowing this woman to be heard in sworn testimony, allowing Judge Kavanaugh to be heard in sworn testimony about these specific allegations, would be added to the considerable mountain of evidence and the considerations folks will have when they weigh whether or not to vote for Judge Kavanaugh," Conway said.
The White House continues to stick by Kavanaugh.
Conway also cited the judge's character and the support he has received from women across the political spectrum and from every phase of his life.
"He also has been lauded from women from every aspect of his life and this is significant ... for a man of character and integrity to be spoken about so highly by women who maybe didn't vote for President Trump, maybe don't call themselves Republicans," Conway said, referencing a letter from 65 women who knew Kavanaugh since high school.
Later on Monday, President Donald Trump took a similar tone, saying, "If it takes a little delay it'll take a little delay. Shouldn't be much delay. I'm sure it will work out very well."
Michael Gerson: Disqualifying if true
Washington Post columnist Michael Gerson, who worked with Kavanaugh in the George W. Bush administration, argued that the allegations are inconsistent with Kavanaugh's character, but the Senate should investigate the matter.
"For what it is worth, the charge of sexual assault is utterly inconsistent with everything I saw of Kavanaugh's character and behavior toward women. He is distinguished by his unfailingly kind, considerate and respectful demeanor. To me, it is completely incredible to think of him as a sexual predator," he wrote.
If the allegations are true, he continued, it means he lied to the Senate about it, which should disqualify him from serving on the Supreme Court, but there is currently not enough evidence to condemn him.
"If Ford's claim against Kavanaugh is true, it means he boldly lied by categorically denying it. And those he lied to — his Senate jury — would properly find this disqualifying.
"The Kavanaugh nomination now hangs by the thinnest of strings. If the accusation is supported by other credible witnesses who were at the party, or if additional, credible accusations emerge from later in Kavanaugh's life, he should withdraw. If there is only a single, unsupported accusation, the Senate would be setting an unsustainable precedent by letting this determine the membership of the Supreme Court."
David French: Allegations "serious but not solid"
Conservative pundit and National Review columnist David French, a frequent Trump critic, said that the allegations against Kavanaugh were "serious but not solid."
In a Sunday article for National Review, French argued that if Ford's claims about what Kavanaugh did were true, they are disqualifying.
"Do not count me among those who would minimize this alleged assault. I went to a high school that had more than its share of drunken parties, and my classmates could do crazy and stupid things, but an act like this was beyond the pale. This isn't 'boys will be boys'," French said.
"Since Kavanaugh has denied the story, however, the question of whether the event is so egregious that it should disqualify him is moot. At the very least, if the attack happened, he should be disqualified for lying."
Yet as it stands, the core evidence in this case is weak, he went on to say, and only time will tell.
"The news cycle is moving so fast that it seems almost absurd to speculate about the state of our knowledge even 24 hours from now, but if this is the core evidence supporting the (very serious) claim against Kavanaugh, it's not sufficient to derail the nomination of a man with an otherwise sterling record of professional excellence and personal integrity," he said.
The Federalist's David Marcus: Confirm him
Among many conservatives, the prevailing belief about what is happening is that this is a desperate attempt to shut down a Supreme Court nomination and derail a qualified candidate at any cost.
In a Monday Federalist column, correspondent David Marcus spoke to what the Senate should do.
"The answer is pretty simple: He should be confirmed. For whatever reason, Feinstein decided that these allegations should remain under wraps even from other Democrats during the hearing process. That was the time Kavanaugh and witnesses could have been confronted by these allegations. But no, Feinstein waited, and threw this grenade into the final moments of his nomination," he wrote.
Marcus also believes the evidence is shoddy.
"Imagine yourself accused by a woman of assaulting her 35 years ago. You would naturally say, 'When? Where?' If she said 'I don't remember that, I just remember you groping me,' how would you respond? Wouldn't you want specifics? If her memory so clashed with yours, wouldn't you want some evidence? Well, the evidence is lacking.
"Republicans in the Senate have to hold fast here. Don't surrender to this. Confirm a good man and good jurist to our highest court. If Democrats thought these claims were viable, they would have brought them up during the confirmation hearings. They don't and they didn't. Confirm Kavanaugh and let the Democrats prove it was a mistake."
Collins and Murkowski: Democrats handled this unfairly
Much of the conversation about the Kavanaugh confirmation has centered on the votes of two key Senators, Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska. The two women are moderates and supportive of abortion rights. Their votes are critical in that the Republicans have only a 51-seat majority in the upper chamber and can afford only one defection without any other votes from Democrats to confirm him. Neither had indicated how they intended to vote.
Collins said Sunday that she was "surprised" by the allegations against the judge and criticized the way the Democrats handled the matter.
"What is puzzling to me is the Democrats, by not bringing this out earlier, after having had this information for more than six weeks, have managed to cast a cloud of doubt on both the professor and the judge," the Maine senator told The New York Times.
"If they believe Professor Ford, why didn't they surface this information earlier so that he could be questioned about it?"
She added: "And if they didn't believe her and chose to withhold the information, why did they decide at the 11th hour to release it?"
"It is really not fair to either of them the way it was handled."
Before the accuser came forward, Collins asked Kavanaugh about the then anonymous allegation last week during a phone call. Kavanaugh "was emphatic in his denial" that it ever happened.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif. was aware of the accuser's claim since July when she received a letter from Ford but never brought it up with Kavanaugh in any of the meetings or hearings. The accuser had requested anonymity at the time.
When asked by CNN about the allegations and whether the Judiciary Committee should delay a vote late Sunday, Murkowski said: "I think that might be something they might have to consider, at least having that discussion."
Rachael Denhollander: Conservatives attacking Ford is "shameful"
Rachel Denhollander, an evangelical Christian, attorney, and former gymnast who took the lead in exposing the extensive sexual abuse of USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar, stressed the importance of listening to accusers no matter how long it takes for them to disclose what happened. Denhollander has also spoken out at great length about the sexual abuse at Sovereign Grace Ministries.
"'Why'd you wait so long?' Here's a big part of why: Because for years I watched family and friends eviscerate sexual assault victims who spoke up against a candidate, team, pastor, ministry or local friend they liked, and I got the message loud and clear," she said on Twitter in light of the Kavanaugh accuser coming forward.
"And that showed me what they REALLY thought about abuse and what they REALLY thought about victims, when sexual abuse wasn't an easy thing to condemn. I knew it meant if faced with a choice between a survivor and their favorite 'whatever,' they'd attack the survivor."
Similar dynamics are operating now on the political right given the circumstances, she added, noting that conservatives were attacking Ford and that it is "shameful."
"Conservatives, you want to be the party of family values? You want to be pro-woman and pro-child? Then start by taking claims of sexual assault seriously instead of using poor logic, straw men and ad hominems to avoid the issue. Otherwise, you are part of the cultural problem," she said.
"And yes, I'm saying that as a conservative evangelical (in case anyone has missed that). Why? Because those closest to the abuse and enabling are the only ones able to change things. What you do when it's in your own community is what makes the difference."
Georgetown law professor: Teens are generally idiots
Notably, a left-leaning professor in Washington, D.C. says that while she opposes Kavanaugh based on his judicial record, the idea of reaching back into his high school days is not a good standard for evidence and she is uncomfortable with it.
"I don't think teen behavior is predictive of adult behavior, and I am also skeptical of the very idea of 'character' as we use the term in American politics," said Rosa Brooks, who is a professor of law at Georgetown University, in a Twitter thread Sunday.
"[T]here is a ton of solid research on the general idiocy of teenagers, especially teenaged boys, and the neuroscience that explains their general idiocy," she continued.
She added that after 35 years it is impossible to investigate the incident fully or fairly.
"Again, this is not because I am 'defending' Kavanaugh: I'd vote NO, and for all I know he is a complete jerk and a serial sexual assaulter to boot. All I'm saying is: I am uncomfortable having the current allegation be the basis for opposing, given the above."