The pair of U.S. Senate Republicans from Kansas confirmed they would remain committed to voting for confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to a seat on the nation's highest court despite allegations the nominee engaged in sexual misconduct decades ago.
Sens. Jerry Moran and Pat Roberts, who previously expressed support for President Donald Trump's nominee, said their position was unshaken by Christine Blasey Ford's testimony alleging Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her while they were in high school.
Kavanaugh, a federal judge, proclaimed his innocence during testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
On Friday, the committee voted 11-10 on party lines to send the Kavanaugh nomination to the full Senate. A bipartisan segment of the committee endorsed the concept of delaying that ultimate vote until completion of a limited FBI investigation of known sex abuse allegations leveled against Kavanaugh.
Both Kansas senators offered explanations for their position, with Roberts commenting Friday and Moran issuing a statement Thursday.
Roberts said he would vote to confirm Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court and was deeply disturbed by the conduct of Democratic colleagues in the Senate as the process unfolded. He said the constitutional responsibility of advice and consent on nominations must be a "nonpartisan and civil" process.
"The embarrassing actions of the minority have contributed to the denigration of the Senate as an institution and more important, to the fundamental American judicial principle that one is innocent until proven guilty," Roberts said. "The manipulation and abuse of both witnesses was deeply regrettable and sets a dangerous precedent for both victims and the accused."
Roberts said "weaponization" of the nomination process by Democrats "shredded the comity of the Senate and has set us on a dangerous path going forward.”
Moran, who also endorsed Kavanaugh more than a month ago, said testimony in the Senate committee didn't change his mind.
"As I stated after meeting with Judge Kavanaugh in August, he is a well-qualified nominee with a deep respect for the Constitution and I still believe that to be true," Moran said. "His intellect and extensive experience in the legal field will serve the Supreme Court well. I will vote to confirm Judge Kavanaugh as Justice Kavanaugh."
In testimony Thursday, Ford offered explicit details about the night she said Kavanaugh pinned her to an upstairs bed during a small house party, attempted to remove her clothing and held a hand over her mouth as she screamed for help.
"It was hard for me to breathe and I believed that Brett was going to accidentally kill me," she said.
Kavanaugh told the committee the Senate confirmation process had evolved into a "national disgrace." He also said the Senate's obligation to offer advice and consent on nominees had been replaced with search and destroy.
In addition, he said allegations of sexual misconduct leveled against him had "totally and permanently destroyed" his name.
In July, following Trump's nomination of Kavanaugh, Roberts and Moran said they believed the nominee had the professional qualifications to serve on the Supreme Court. Kavanaugh is a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington.
"He is not only qualified to be a Supreme Court justice," Roberts said at that time, "but he will be impartial and fair while serving on the court."
Roberts urged Republicans and Democrats in the Senate to vote on merits of the nominee and not obstruct the nomination process because of dislike for Trump.//