Sadly, the week-long pause in Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation process is likely to give him the seat on the Supreme Court that he clearly does not deserve.
Only discovery of a true smoking gun - definitive evidence that Kavanaugh sexually abused a young teen while in high school - will dash his hopes. Given the brevity of the new FBI investigation, that is not likely.
What investigators will probably uncover this week is confirmation that Kavanaugh was a party-going teen who caroused with friends, disrespected young women, and then decades later tried to fudge facts under oath before the Senate Judiciary Committee. That alone should be disqualifying.
Instead, it is likely to give dissident Republicans, led by Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake, the cover needed to reluctantly vote in Kavanaugh’s favor. “The FBI was unable to corroborate the accusations made by Christine Blasey Ford,” they could say. “Under the circumstances we cannot deny Judge Kavanaugh his place on the Court.”
With that, everything turns upside down. Ford’s heroic testimony becomes an afterthought, because it wasn’t “proved.” The women who bravely confronted Flake in a Senate office building elevator - along with thousands of others who protested on Friday - discover that the system worked against them.
And the Trump Administration succeeds in placing another conservative, one with tainted character no less, on the Court - affecting our lives and laws for decades to come.
Is there anything positive in this ugly turn of events? Yes.
Jeff Flake, who is retiring from the Senate, could emerge as a Republican challenger to Donald Trump in 2020. During the one-week FBI “pause” Flake will be in New Hampshire - a long way from his home in Arizona, and a place that presidential aspirants like to visit early and often.
Amy Klobuchar, the articulate Senator from Minnesota, who helped force the FBI investigation and who bore the worst of Kavanaugh’s crude and combative testimony - so much so that he apologized to her during the hearing - looks increasingly like a viable Democratic candidate for president.
The midterm elections, now just a few weeks away, could swing even more heavily in Democrats’ favor following an unsavory confirmation of Judge Kavanaugh.
And the sweeping movement to expose past abuses against women and reshape our cultural norms going forward could, after the Kavanaugh setback, gain even more momentum.
So, while the system seems broken, the pendulum is not.
The nation will pay a steep price with the likes of Brett Kavanaugh on its highest court. But his confirmation, if it happens, might actually be a marker for the point in time when things finally began to swing the other way.
Peter Funt is a writer and speaker.