The Corner

Law & the Courts

At the Most Important Confirmation Hearing in 25 Years, Republicans Blew It

Christine Blasey Ford was compelling and sympathetic. Clearly, she sincerely believes her account. But that doesn’t mean it’s correct. She very well could be mistaken about a long-ago memory, which is why Republicans needed to draw out the gaps in her story, walk through how others contradict her, and highlight the complete lack of corroborating evidence. The designated questioner, Rachel Mitchell, failed to do this effectively at all.

She acted like she was getting a deposition for a trial, when this was the trial. She didn’t focus in on the night in question, which matters most, and didn’t raise the inherent problems with memory and how Ford’s might have been influenced by her therapy. She wasn’t helped by the format and the interruptions every five minutes. But her question jumped around and she spent much too much time on meaningless process — she actually asked Ford, “Have you been told my questions in advance?” — and left fraught questions dangling, like how Leland Keyser contradicted her and her relationship with the man who introduced her to Kavanaugh.

It’s as if she didn’t have a plan, or it was a very poor one, and ultimately this is the fault of committee Republicans, who have made Kavanaugh’s task even more difficult this afternoon. Very disappointing.

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