Kavanaugh’s public hearings, then, and any inquiry now into the accusations against him, are less like a trial and more like a high-stakes job interview — and this job comes with life tenure. The main point of the hearings is to determine the nominee’s fitness for the post. Senators evaluate judicial qualifications, record, demeanor and philosophy. Modern judicial nominees undergo incredibly thorough vetting in preparation because they know that senators may also explore every aspect of their past. Allegations of sexual misconduct fall well within the scope of relevant considerations. Because guilt or innocence isn’t the issue, but instead fitness for the Supreme Court, the burden of proof isn’t, and shouldn’t be, on Ford, the accuser; it remains on Kavanaugh.
.. it doesn’t mean Kavanaugh must be irrefutably proved to have assaulted her, either. “If there is a doubt,” the late senator Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) said when he voted against Thomas’s confirmation, “I say resolve it in the interests of our country, its future. Let’s not have a cloud of doubt for someone who will be on the court for many years.”