Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has made it official. The vote on federal judge Brett Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court will be delayed in the wake of allegations of sexual misconduct so the allegations can be aired and refuted in public.
That appeared likely after President Donald Trump said that if it took a delay of the planned Sept. 20 vote to let the process play out, so be it.
Grassley said there would be a hearing Sept. 24 featuring both Judge Kavanaugh, and his accuers. Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, a college professor who claims Kavanaugh groped her over her clothes and put his hand over her mouth during an incident at a party when both were in high school.
Kavanaugh has strongly denied the incident and said he would participate in whatever forum the committee chose to let him clear his name.
Blasey had also said she was willing to talk to the committee.
“As I said earlier, anyone who comes forward as Dr. Ford has done deserves to be heard," said Grassley in announcing the hearing, which was characterized as a continuation of the nomination hearing that appeared to have been wrapped up earlier this month. "My staff has reached out to Dr. Ford to hear her account, and they held a follow-up call with Judge Kavanaugh this afternoon. Unfortunately, committee Democrats have refused to join us in this effort. However, to provide ample transparency, we will hold a public hearing Monday to give these recent allegations a full airing,” Grassley said.
The hearing will be at 10 a.m. in the Hart Senate Office Building.
Kavanaugh is currently a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, the court of principal jurisdiction over appeals of FCC and other federal agency decisions. Kavanaugh is on the record being against the FCC's 2015 Open Internet order, adopted under then Democratic chair Tom Wheeler.
Net neutrality could come before the high court from either an existing ISP challenge to the 2015 rules, which the high court has already been asked to weigh in on, or a challenge to the FCC's decision last last year under Republican chair Ajit Pai to eliminate those rules and roll back the 2015 order's reclassficiation of ISPs under Title II common carrier authority.
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Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.