Senator Richard Blumenthal has called on the Republican leadership of the Senate Judiciary Committee to delay the planned vote on Brett Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court. Chairman Chuck Grassley has said the vote will take place at 9:30 am Friday.
Blumenthal called the testimony of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford "powerful" and "credible." She is one of several women who have come forward to accuse Kavanaugh of sexual assault. Blasey Ford gave four hours of testimony before the committee Thursday.
"Clearly she is entitled to the respect of at least, a thorough, fair investigation," Blumenthal told CNN after the day's testimony. "Rushing to judgment would be the ultimate insult to this courageous survivor, but also to the entire community of survivors around the country who have been so inspired and moved by her testimony."
Earlier in the day, as he questioned Blasey Ford, Blumenthal blasted President Donald Trump for failing to properly investigate the claims of sexual assault against his nominee.
“His failure to ask, in my view, for an FBI investigation, is tantamount to a cover up,” said Blumenthal.
Blumenthal told Blasey Ford he believes her account of an attempted rape by Kavanaugh when the two were high schoolers.
“You have inspired and you have enlightened men in America to listen respectfully to women survivors - and men who have survived sexual attack - and that is a profound public service, regardless of what happens with this nomination,” he said.
When it was Kavanaugh's turn to testify, he pushed back against Blumenthal's line of questioning.
The Connecticut senator asked Kavanaugh about a reference in his high school yearbook to Renate Dolphin, a woman who it appears was the subject of sexual jokes among Kavanaugh and his peers.
"She thought these yearbook statements were - quote - horrible, hurtful and simply untrue," said Blumenthal.
But the federal judge turned the point against the senator, accusing Blumenthal of "dragging her through the mud."
As these exchanges played out, a group of about 100 students gathered at Yale Law School to watch the hearing in its entirety. Kavanaugh is an alum of the school, and received a glowing endorsement from its dean, Heather Gerken, when he was nominated.
But many of the students said they were disturbed by the way in which he had been boosted by the school, particularly in light of both the allegations against him, and some of the judge's more controversial views.
"That announcement made by the school, and the role of many of our professors in suggesting that he is a person of extraordinary character and extraordinary qualifications, is infuriating," said second year law student Jenny Tumas. "Because of all of the ways that this school as an institution supported this nominee, many of us are angry and we're trying to take a stand that says -- that's not what this school stands for."
Her classmate Kayla Maureen agreed. "It's a privilege to be nominated to the Supreme Court -- it's not a right," she said. "Oftentimes his privilege to be nominated to the Supreme Court is elevated above women's right to be free from sexual assault. We're talking about, well how is this going to impact Judge Kavanaugh's career -- we're ignoring how these very real allegations impacted a woman's entire life."
WSHU's Cassandra Basler contributed to this report.