Senators have rejected Christine Blasey Ford’s request for tight restrictions on press access to her testimony Thursday morning, but did agree to some limits compared to the mass of reporters that had access to Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s original testimony earlier this month.
There will be 48 reporters from newspapers, magazines and wire services — less than a third of what there were last time, but still far more than the four seats Ms. Blasey Ford’s lawyers had wanted.
And there will be seven news photographers at any given time, which is more than the three Ms. Blasey Ford’s team had wanted, but still far fewer than the 50 that were in the room when Judge Kavanaugh was sworn in for the beginning of the hearings on Sept. 4.
Longtime Capitol Hill hands said it was the first time they could recall a witness attempting to dictate terms of press access to a hearing, including an effort to name the specific media outlets to be allowed.
Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley rejected that effort.
“We do not select which reporters or outlets are able to cover hearings,” Mr. Grassley’s team told Ms. Blasey Ford’s lawyers in a note sent Tuesday.
They said the smaller numbers were not a concessions to her, but rather a result of the committee meeting in its usual smaller room, rather than the large ceremonial hearing room that was used for the four days of hearings with Judge Kavanaugh earlier this month.
Mr. Grassley’s team did agree to ask photographers not to approach Ms. Blasey Ford at the witness table, but instead to remain a distance away.
Ms. Blasey Ford says she is “terrified” to be testifying, and has received death threats for her decision to come forward and speak about a 1982 incident in which she says she was assaulted by Judge Kavanaugh when they were at a high school party.
Her team had issued a number of requests for how Thursday’s hearing would go, including asking that she and Judge Kavanaugh testify separately and that the judge go first.
Mr. Grassley agreed to separate appearances, but rejected her suggestion the judge go first.