I wish that Ford’s allegations could’ve been investigated by the FBI as part of its standard background check — the sixth one that Kavanaugh has passed — when her confidential letter first reached the Judiciary Committee soon after Kavanaugh was nominated. But the ranking member, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, sat on the letter, at one point trying to dissuade her colleagues by saying that the allegation was too old and flimsy to be worth considering.
Once everything came to a head, with a Washington Post article that came even after the Judiciary Committee’s private closed‐door hearing — when senators ask nominees about sensitive matters like alcoholism, sexual history and gambling debts — it was both too late and pointless to have a confidential FBI check. So the committee investigators took over, dutifully collecting sworn statements from alleged witnesses and holding multiple sworn phone calls with Kavanaugh — in which investigation the Democratic staff declined to participate.
That brings us to a hearing that revealed no new evidence but failed to overcome the presumption of innocence that anyone in Kavanaugh’s shoes must have. Not because his accusers must present proof beyond a reasonable doubt — this isn’t a criminal trial — but because a he‐said/she‐said situation, when compounded by bad faith and a media circus, inures to the accused.
That’s not to say that all senators are duty‐bound to vote for Kavanaugh. To the contrary: Any senator, Democrat or Republican, who thinks that Kavanaugh’s approach to judging does violence to the Constitution or harms the rule of law is duty‐bound to vote against him. In that, I disagree with Sen. Lindsey Graham, who defers to the President so long as the nominee is “qualified.” Ideology is and should be a valid consideration here.
But any senator who votes against Brett Kavanaugh because of Dr. Ford’s allegations—let alone the ridiculous ones that have emerged lately—brings shame on his or her office.
For the good of the country, there needs to be a vote on this nomination now. It won’t rehabilitate Kavanaugh’s reputation or heal political divisions, but it will stop the bleeding from this latest wound to the body politic.