Michael Miller addresses the House of Delegates at the New York State Bar Association annual meeting, at the New York Hilton Midtown in January. Photo: David Handschuh/NYLJ

The New York City Bar Association, the New York State Bar Association and the American Bar Association want the vote on Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court delayed until an investigation into the sexual assault accusations can be completed by the FBI.

“We believe that it is essential to the rule of law in our nation and to the reputation of the Supreme Court that all Americans have confidence that candidates for the court are reviewed fairly and thoroughly, and that only an FBI investigation will give them that confidence,” said New York State Bar Association president Michael Miller.

“To preserve the integrity of the U.S. Supreme Court, the New York State Bar Association joins the American Bar Association’s call for an FBI investigation into recent allegations prior to the U.S. Senate taking any further action on Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination for a lifetime appointment to the court,” he said.

During his testimony Thursday regarding Christine Blasey Ford’s allegations of sexual assault, Kavanaugh repeatedly pointed to his “well qualified” endorsement by the ABA for a position on the U.S. Supreme Court.

“We make this request because of the ABA’s respect for the rule of law and due process under law,” American Bar Association president Bob Carlson wrote Thursday night to leaders of the Senate Judiciary Committee. “The basic principles that underscore the Senate’s constitutional duty of advice and consent on federal judicial nominees require nothing less than a careful examination of the accusations and facts by the FBI.”

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, the judiciary committee chairman, dismissed Carlson’s letter in remarks Friday.

“I’ve explained many times another FBI investigation is not necessary. The ABA is an outside organization like any other. It can share its advice, but we’re not going to let it dictate our business,” Grassley said on Capitol Hill in Washington, several hours before a scheduled committee vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination.

The letter, Grassley said, was signed by the ABA president, “who is just one individual.” Grassley added: “It doesn’t alter the fact that Judge Kavanaugh received a very well-qualified rating from the Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary and the standing committee did not join this letter.”

On Sept. 13, the city bar association announced that it could not determine whether Kavanaugh was qualified to be a Supreme Court justice because the public record was incomplete on whether he possessed the personal integrity necessary to serve in that role. Among other things, the association determined that the withholding of thousands of pages of records relating to the nominee’s six years with the George W. Bush White House prevented meaningful review of whether Kavanaugh had been forthright in his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

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