The Senate Judiciary Committee has scheduled its vote on Brett Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court for Friday morning at 9:30 am.
The move would place the panel's decision just a day after it is set to hear testimony from Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford, a woman who has accused him of sexual assault during a party in their high school years.
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In a statement, Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley's spokesman, Taylor Foy, said committee rules normally require such votes to be posted three days in advance.
"An executive business meeting is being noticed tonight in the event that a majority of the members are prepared to hold one on Friday," Foy said.
Grassley tweeted, in characteristic style, following the initial announcement to stress the possibility that the committee's vote could be further delayed, while reiterating the move could allow for a Friday vote if so desired.
"Judic Cmte noticed POTENTIAL exec mtg for Friday. Still taking this 1 step at a time. After hrg Dr Ford & Judge Kavanaugh's testimony- if we're ready to vote, we will vote. If we aren't ready, we won't. Cmte rules normally require 3 days notice so we're following regular order," Grassley, an Iowa Republican, said.
California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the committee's top Democrat, issued a statement saying it was clear that "Republicans don't want this to be a fair process."
"For Republicans to schedule a Friday vote on Brett Kavanaugh today, two days before Dr. Blasey Ford has had a chance to tell her story, is outrageous," she said.
If Kavanaugh's nomination is approved by the committee, it would be brought to the Senate floor, where a vote in the full chamber would determine if he secures a position on the Supreme Court following accusations of inappropriate sexual conduct and a contentious review of his judicial philosophy and career.
Kavanaugh has denied the allegations.
Earlier Tuesday, Grassley said the all-male GOP side of the committee had hired an outside counsel to ask questions on its behalf at Thursday's hearing. He declined to name the female lawyer they have taken on, citing safety concerns.
Democrats have criticized the move and called for a delay to Thursday's hearing in order to gain more information about Deborah Ramirez, who accused Kavanaugh of inappropriate sexual behavior, and allow for an FBI review of the judge.
On Monday, Kavanaugh sat down for a Fox News interview alongside his wife, Ashley Kavanaugh, where he again stressed his denial of past sexual misconduct or sexual assault.
President Donald Trump has stood by his choice for the court, and sought to discredit Ramirez on Tuesday.