The Corner

Law & the Courts

A Week’s Delay and a Supplemental Investigation Changes . . . What?

Senator Jeff Flake (R, Ariz.) put the brakes on the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation by refusing to vote yes on the nominee before an FBI investigation has been conducted. (Jim Bourg/Reuters)

Thanks in large part to Senator Jeff Flake, the vote on Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court is delayed again as the Federal Bureau of Investigation begins a supplemental probe, projected to last no longer than a week.

Flake no doubt believes he’s doing the right thing, that he’s helping restore a bipartisan consensus and faith in the confirmation process, and that he’s helping Kavanaugh resolve the accusations that have been thrown at him.

We will see. Many on the right suspect that Democrats are not acting in good faith, and that in the coming days, we will see more implausible, evidence-free accusations such as that of Michael Avenatti’s client, more Da Vinci Code–level interpretations of Kavanaugh’s high-school yearbook, and more Democratic lawmakers making furious denunciations of the nominee as not merely a judge they disagree with but a dangerous menace to society.

We will see what happens, but it is entirely likely, based upon what we have seen, that Democrats immediately move the goalposts again and insist that the FBI investigation is “being rushed,” that it didn’t interview some key figure or ignored some other allegation or evidence, or that the whole investigation was “a fraud” because after all, FBI Director Christopher Wray answers to the president. They will always find a reason to delegitimize a process that gives them a result they don’t like.

And we can count on most Democratic senators to echo the argument of Chris Murphy: “Whatever they find doesn’t change the fact that Kavanaugh, especially after his performance yesterday, is the most dangerous Supreme Court pick of our lifetime.”

September has been a good month for cynicism. October is likely to offer more of the same.

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