UPDATE Saturday afternoon: Judge Brett Kavanaugh was sworn in as the 114th justice of the Supreme Court on Saturday following a 50-48 roll call vote to confirm him in the Senate earlier that day, the AP reported. Sen. Gardner voted yes, while Sen. Bennet voted no.
UPDATE Friday afternoon: Sen. Gardner said he will vote yes on the nomination of Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.
“I announced my support for Judge Kavanaugh in July, and I will be voting to approve his nomination to the Supreme Court,” he said in a statement. “During this confirmation process, I have supported every opportunity to ensure we have all available information before us. This included listening to hours of testimony, reading and re-reading transcripts and statements, and studying interviews of over 150 people spanning 25 years in seven FBI background investigations. No evidence was found by the FBI to corroborate the allegations made against him or to make me change the support I announced for him in July.
“We live in a country where both sides should always be heard. Victimized women that come forward are brave and courageous. Every victim of abuse, assault, and violence has been through an unspeakable tragedy and we need to do a better job listening to them, ensuring support is available, and fighting to end abuse of any kind. I hope that the partisan divide we all feel today does not hinder the people that have bravely come forward.”
EARLIER: Colorado U.S. Sens. Michael Bennet and Cory Gardner appear poised to vote along party lines for a procedural vote on President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh scheduled for Friday.
The vote will take place just a day after senators briefed on an FBI report investigating allegations of sexual misconduct against the judge said the agency found no new information.
The AP reports Friday’s vote could lead to a final vote on Saturday.
The FBI investigation was prompted last week following testimony from one of Kavanaugh’s accusors, professor Christine Ford, who claimed the judge sexually assaulted her in high school. Vox reported Thursday that findings are leading Republicans, who support the president’s pick, to believe they’ve done enough to clear Kavanaugh and hold a confirmation vote.
Bennet’s press secretary Laurie Cipriano confirmed over email on Thursday that Bennet will vote no on Kavanaugh’s confirmation. Bennet, a Democrat, last month said he would vote no.
Gardner, a Republican, meanwhile has been far less vocal about where he stands. While he called Kavanaugh well-qualified judge when he met him in July, he hasn’t said much publicly since. His spokesperson did not immediately respond to calls or emails on Thursday requesting more information about how Gardner will vote or what he made of the FBI report. The Denver Post reported that his office said he hadn’t made up his mind.
On Thursday, Gardner agreed to an impromptu meeting with 16 constituents who traveled to Washington to meet with him and Bennet.
Fawn Bolak, a DU graduate who lives in the Denver metro area, was among the delegation, who were mostly women.
After meeting with Gardner’s chief of staff and press secretary on Thursday morning, the group was able to secure a meeting with the senator at around 3 p.m. The meeting lasted just over 30 minutes.
“The majority of us that were part of the delegation today are survivors of sexual violence,” Bolak said in a phone interview from Washington on Thursday. “So we came out to talk to our senator and share our stories in an effort to sway their vote or encourage deeper action against Kavanaugh.”
Bolak said their visit was organized primarily by the ACLU of Colorado. She works at the liberal advocacy organization ProgressNow Colorado, which held a demonstration outside Sen. Gardner’s offices last week calling on the senator to speak out against Kavanaugh.
The group didn’t come out of the meeting convinced Gardner would break from his Republican colleagues in the Senate. Bolak said Gardner seemed to repeat the same talking points when he was asked multiple times if he believed Ford or Kavanaugh.
“He repeated, over and over again, from his perspective, he heard two people speaking their truth and that he wanted to wait for the FBI report that he would be reading later this evening,” Bolak said.
“Honestly, it felt like a cop-out,” Bolak added. “I think he was probably uncomfortable with a lot of us being in his office, with us sharing violent, intimate details of what happened to us.”
Bolak said she has concerns Kavanaugh’s nomination will roll back rights for women. She’s especially concerned about the potential for him to provide a swing vote to overturn the Roe v. Wade decision.
Overturning this landmark decision, which ruled on the constitutionality of abortions, would disproportionately affect women of color and women in low-income communities, Bolak said.
“That is a very big concern for me,” Bolak said. “I think that would be a huge detriment to the United States.”
The group also met with Bennet for about an hour.
This story may be updated.