There is time for a thorough investigation into allegations of violent sexual assault against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. With a pivitsl seat on the nation’s highest court at stake, there should be no rush to overlook disturbing questions about what the judge may have done when he was a young man, and we welcome the bipartisan agreement announced at the Senate Judiciary Committee on Friday to put off a vote on the nomination until the FBI has a chance to look into the matter.

But regardless of whether there is an investigation, we do know this: Based on what he demonstrated in his testimony Thursday, Kavanaugh lacks the character and judgment to serve on the Supreme Court.

In his widely watched appearance, Kavanaugh revealed that he has an explosive temper and resorts to bullying when he feels threatened. He was understandably under stress and fighting a high-stakes battle for his reputation, but his temperament was tested in his hearing and he failed the test.

Kavanaugh also showed himself to be too political for a job that is supposed to be above politics. We’re not naive. We understand that federal judges are nominated by presidents and confirmed by senators and that electoral politics influences their decisions about who gets to serve.

RIPPING OFF THE MASK

But we have never had a Supreme Court nominee who ripped off the nonpartisan mask the way Kavanaugh did Thursday and identified himself as an enemy of a political party that represents the policy preferences of millions of Americans. He blamed his predicament on bizarre conspiracy theories, claiming that his troubles stemmed from “pent-up anger about President Trump” and opponents seeking “revenge on behalf of the Clintons” and were not the result of allegations that emerged while he was being evaluated for an important job. After his partisan rant, Kavanaugh will never be able to judge a case without the animus he expressed being considered a factor in his decision. This is not the road we want to take.

And when he was talking about his high school years, he said things that, frankly, were unbelievable. The self-proclaimed treasurer of the “100 Kegs or Bust” Club says he was not much of a drinker. His comment about “ralphing” was an innocent reference to his sensitive stomach and not related to heavy drinking. And, most incredibly, a group of football players posing for a picture calling themselves “the Renate Alumni” – a stunt which reeked of sexual boasting about a girl named Renate – were “clumsily” attempting “to show affection” for a friend. The attempt was so clumsy that they never shared it with their friend, who learned about the joke only recently. She told The New York Times: “The insinuation is horrible, hurtful and simply untrue. I pray their daughters are never treated this way.”

These are small things, but they matter. Many adults are embarrassed about what they did when they were young, and it is human nature to minimize some of the details. But when you have taken an oath to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, it’s not time to fudge the facts. If confirmed, Kavanaugh would bring this same lack of credibility with him to the place in the country where credibility matters more than anything.

If there were nothing else on his record, the Senate would have solid grounds not to confirm Kavanaugh. But it’s not the only thing. Not by a long shot.

POWERFUL WITNESS

Kavanaugh is the subject of credible allegations of sexual misconduct. It is incredible that any senator would want to vote to confirm him until the allegations have been throughly investigated.

The only accuser who has publicly testified was Christine Blasey Ford, who said Kavanaugh jumped on her when they were both teenagers, groped her body, stifled her cry for help by putting his hand over her mouth and tried to tear off her clothes.

It was many years ago, and there are understandable gaps in her memory. But when Ford testified about the traumatic event, it was clear that she was profoundly affected by it and was absolutely certain Kavanaugh was her assailant.

Like Kavanaugh, she spoke with great emotion, but unlike him, she answered every question that she was asked without trying to turn the tables on the questioner.

Ford had nothing to gain by making her allegation at such a late date. She would derive no benefit if Kavanaugh were denied a seat on the court. Her statements have been consistent, conform with other known facts and carry other hallmarks of credibility.

After Ford’s testimony, it would be a mistake to confirm Kavanaugh without a full investigation into her charges. But senators don’t even need to consider these explosive allegations. They can use their own eyes and ears and apply their own common sense.

The man who appeared before the Judiciary Committee on Thursday can’t control his temper, he is overtly partisan and he doesn’t always tell the truth.

Based on his own testimony, Kavanaugh has shown that he does not belong on the Supreme Court.

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