Press Releases

City Bar Urges FBI Investigation Before Senate Floor Vote on Supreme Court Nomination

The New York City Bar Association urges the Senate to defer a confirmation vote on Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court of the United States until an investigation into the sexual assault accusations made by Professor Christine Blasey Ford and others can be completed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The Association has been evaluating judicial candidates for nearly 140 years in a non-partisan manner based upon the nominees’ competence and merit. On September 13, 2018, after a thorough review, the Association concluded that it could not determine whether Judge Kavanaugh was qualified to be a Supreme Court Justice, because the public record was incomplete on whether he possessed the personal integrity necessary to serve in that role. Among other things, the Association determined that the withholding of thousands of pages of records relating to the nominee’s six years with the George W. Bush White House prevented meaningful review of whether Judge Kavanaugh had been forthright in his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Thursday’s hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee exploring Professor Ford’s accusation confirmed the Association’s prior conclusion that the public record as it currently exists is inadequate to assess Judge Kavanaugh’s personal integrity to serve on the Supreme Court. The unanswered questions raised at that hearing, and the impact those lingering questions will have on the Supreme Court’s legitimacy, are too important to cast aside without a thorough investigation by a neutral agency.

That previously conducted background investigations did not uncover any evidence of the substance of the accusations against Judge Kavanaugh is no reason to forgo a focused investigation into the alleged incidents. Due to the nature of sexual assault offenses, which are often committed in secret and shrouded by shame, it is unlikely that prior FBI investigations into Judge Kavanaugh’s past would have unearthed evidence of such conduct without a victim or eyewitness first making the difficult decision to come forward. Now that sworn allegations against Judge Kavanaugh have been presented to, and made before, the Senate Judiciary Committee, an FBI investigation is warranted. 

It would be a disservice to the Supreme Court and the rule of law to vote to confirm Judge Kavanaugh until a thorough investigation by a neutral agency into these accusations has been completed and its results publicly reported.

About the Association
The New York City Bar Association, since its founding in 1870, has been dedicated to maintaining the high ethical standards of the legal profession, promoting reform of the law and access to justice, and providing service to the profession and the public. The Association, through its 24,000 members, continues to work for political, legal and social reform while implementing innovative means to help the disadvantaged. Protecting the public’s welfare remains one of the Association’s highest priorities.