Harvard Law School confirmed on Tuesday that U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh will not return to teach in January.
The announcement was made in an email from administrators to law students on Monday. The email says, “Judge Kavanaugh indicated that he can no longer commit to teaching his course in January Term 2019, so the course will not be offered.”
A Harvard Law School spokesperson confirmed Kavanaugh’s decision to The Associated Press on Tuesday.
Kavanaugh was scheduled to teach a three-week course called The Supreme Court Since 2005. He has taught at the law school for about a decade.
President Donald Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court is under investigation by the FBI for allegations of sexual misconduct when he was in high school and college. He has denied all accusations.
Trump and Senate Republicans have instructed the FBI to investigate it and any other “credible allegations” against him, but the president also said “speed” was important in the process.
Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican from Kentucky, is has said a vote on Kavanaugh from the full legislative body will take place on Friday.
“The time for endless delay and obstruction has come to a close,” said McConnell, who accused the Democrats of “moving the goalposts” to prevent Kavanaugh’s nomination before the November midterm elections.
Last week, the Senate’s judiciary committee voted 12-11 for Kavanaugh’s nomination, the vote entirely falling along party lines.
No Republican changes since last week
Ford’s allegations have thrown the outcome of Kavanaugh’s nomination — once believed by many to be a sure bet — in some doubt in the 51-49 Republican-controlled Senate. Vice-President Mike Pence would break any 50-50 tie in Kavanaugh’s favour.
Iowa Republican Sen. Joni Ernst said Tuesday that barring any new information from the FBI she intends to vote to confirm.
Ernst is among six Republican women in the Senate. She told CBS This Morning on Tuesday that California college professor Christine Blasey Ford’s sexual assault allegation against Kavanaugh lacks corroboration.
“What message that sends to women in America is that we are innocent until proven guilty in this country,” said Ernst.
No Republicans have indicated since last week’s emotional session featuring Kavanaugh and Ford that they would vote against his nomination, although Arizona’s Jeff Flake pressed for a FBI investigation that Republicans had resisted. The votes of Republicans Susan Collins (Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) are not yet certain.
Democrats are trying to flip at least two Republicans into the No column, presuming all of their members vote against the Federal Court judge’s confirmation.
The Senate’s Democratic leader, Chuck Schumer of New York, accused Kavanaugh of delivering a “partisan screed” during the judiciary committee hearing last week. He said Kavanaugh seemed willing to “mislead senators about everything from the momentous to the mundane” to ensure his ascension to the high court.
“The harsh fact of the matter is that we have mounting evidence that Judge Kavanaugh is just not credible,” Schumer said Monday.
Kavanaugh has denied claims of sexual misconduct by three different women — Ford, Deborah Ramirez and Julie Swetnick.
Ramirez, who alleges Kavanaugh exposed himself and subjected her to unwanted physical contact while both were at Yale in the early 1980s, has reportedly met with the FBI.
Swetnick has not. She alleged in an affivadit that Kavanaugh engaged in “abusive and physically aggressive behaviour towards girls” at parties in Maryland in the early 1980s. She alleges that Kavanaugh and his friend Mark Judge were present at one party in “approximately 1982” when she was raped by more than one male, though she does not name her attackers.
Judge was named as being in the room by Ford when she alleges she was attacked. Reluctant to testify publicly, Judge has spoken to the FBI in recent days, his lawyer has said.
Kavanaugh would replace on the top court Anthony Kennedy, who he once served as a law clerk. Such a replacement would tilt the court rightward, with Kennedy — who announced his retirement in June — often seen as a swing vote on a host of issues.
The latest Supreme Court session opened on Monday, with eight justices.
With files from CBC News