DENVER — Since Judge Brett Kavanaugh was accused of sexual misconduct by two women, the Senate Judiciary Committee has been divided on how confirmation hearings should proceed -- or if they should.
However, a Coloradan who used to sit on that very committee said senators need to pay close attention to what Kavanaugh's accusers, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and Deborah Ramirez, have to say before deciding if his character is fit for the Supreme Court. Former U.S. Senator Hank Brown said he's "discouraged" senators have announced their position on the hearings before hearing all accounts.
"Doesn't mean that's the first time that's ever happened, but it does mean it's kind of sad," Brown said. "I hope those who are still listening -- and should be listening -- that they'll look at this and try and get a sense as to whether Judge Kavanaugh has the kind of character that we expect of a Supreme Court nominee.
Brown sat on the Senate Judiciary Committee during Justice Clarence Thomas' confirmation hearings. Like Kavanaugh, Thomas was accused of sexual misconduct by a woman named Anita Hill, a former assistant to Thomas. She claimed Thomas talked inappropriately in a sexual manner to her.
Brown said, in retrospect, he's more inclined to believe Hill than Ford and Ramirez.
"Anita Hill was a very credible witness and had her facts together," Brown said. "Whether you believed it or not, or were consistent or not, she came off as very credible and very articulate [Kavanaugh's accusers] don't know when it took place, they don't know where it took place, they don't know how they got there, they don't know how they went home."
Even though Brown said Hill's story was believable, he said he still voted in favor of Thomas because his account also seemed credible.
"Ultimately, it came down to the fact that Clarence Thomas' entire life exhibited a pattern of behavior that was at great odds with what had been alleged," Brown said. "I think his conduct on the courts since verifies that."
Brown acknowledges that things have changed since Thomas was confirmed. He said it's good more people are willing to speak up on sexual misconduct following the #MeToo movement.