Sullivan Outlines Extensive Process Behind Support for Judge Brett Kavanaugh

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan (R-AK) spoke on the Senate floor to discuss the extensive process behind his support for the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the United States Supreme Court. Excerpts from his Senate floor speech are below, and a full transcript can be found here.

Sullivan SCOTUS Floor Speech

Sullivan Outlines Extensive Process Behind His Support for Judge Brett Kavanaugh in Speech on Senate Floor (click image or here to watch, click here to download).

Voting to Confirm Judge Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court:

“[Judge Kavanaugh] understands the importance of separations of powers and federalism, holds a healthy skepticism regarding the expansive power of federal agencies, and he is a strong protector of the Second Amendment—all issues that Alaskans care deeply about, which is why I focused on them in my discussions with Judge Kavanaugh. I was convinced then, and remain so, that he is well qualified to be a justice on the Supreme Court.”


Claims Regarding Alaska Native Rights:

“To be perfectly clear, if I believed or saw evidence that Judge Kavanaugh’s views were somehow opposed or hostile to Alaska Natives — a very important population of my state that includes my wife, three daughters, and mother-in-law — I would not support his confirmation. I told Judge Kavanaugh this directly and was satisfied with his response.

“Importantly, Senator Murkowski came to the same conclusion in her discussions with Judge Kavanaugh and she said as much in her remarks last night. “


On Allegations of Sexual Assault:

“Dr. Ford’s allegations were investigated respectfully and thoroughly by the Senate Judiciary staff and the FBI. Despite her courage in coming forward, none of her allegations were corroborated. The four people Dr. Ford claims were present had no knowledge or memory of any such event, and the others the FBI asked about the alleged incident had no knowledge. One of them, a lifelong friend of Dr. Ford’s, Leland Keyser, said that she didn’t even know Judge Kavanaugh. All of these statements were made under the penalty of perjury.”


On Presumption of Innocence:

“But I also believe that the presumption of innocence is sacrosanct and a fundamental American principle, whether in a criminal trial, in a Senate committee hearing, or the court of public opinion. I’m convinced that due process should apply as much to the Senate’s advise and consent responsibility as it should in a court of law.

“If we lose this basic concept of fairness, then we risk doing irreparable damage to the very foundation of our democracy and core conceptions of American justice, and even liberty.

“We do not want a system of guilty until proven innocent in America. Such a principle can even lead to incentivizing false allegations that do lasting damage, especially when coupled with breathless media reports that repeat verbatim such charges. Unfortunately, we have seen this exact phenomenon in the case of Judge Kavanaugh. I am not referring to the allegations of Dr. Ford, which were taken seriously. But in the aftermath of her allegations, some horrendous, and what appear to be patently false claims were made against him. 

“Such false allegations do tremendous damage to the accused and his or her family. But just as bad, they also risk undermining the credibility of true victims and survivors of sexual assault. “


Not a Binary Choice:

“At the same time, I do not agree with some of the comments made on the floor that a vote in favor of Judge Kavanaugh is somehow condoning sexual assault or not believing survivors. As Senator Collins stated yesterday, ‘Nothing could be further from the truth.’”

“A bipartisan majority of U.S. Senators — men and women — are likely to vote for Judge Kavanaugh in a few hours.

“To mark all of them as somehow not caring about the broader issue of sexual assault in America is not only untrue and affront to them, but undermines the larger cause of working together to combat this issue.

“This is not a binary choice. This is not a Republican versus Democratic issue: this is an American epidemic and frankly, it’s an American male issue. The men are the ones who are committing the vast majority of the abuse, and we need the country united to stop it.”


Continuing to Work to Combat Sexual Assault:

“Finally, again, I applaud the courageous— including the many Alaskans who have flown to D.C. — who have spoken out about this nomination and who have shared stories about their own experiences with assault. I know that this process has brought on fresh pain and difficult memories for so many. I want them to know that from the bottom of my heart, I am committed more than ever to work on combatting sexual abuse and domestic violence and trying to change our culture to one of respect. 

“Indeed, if there is a silver lining to come out of this contentious confirmation process it is that the awareness and commitment to do much more to combat sexual abuse has been heightened. I have heard this from many of my colleagues in the past few days, including Senators Murkowski, Collins, Harris and Klobuchar, and I certainly am committed to working with all of them and others to make this happen.”