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Editorial: Confirm Brett Kavanaugh

The Detroit News

The U.S. Senate is poised to begin voting Friday on whether Judge Brett Kavanaugh should take a seat on the Supreme Court. Despite calls for further delays, it’s time to settle this matter.

An FBI investigation into the allegations by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford that Kavanaugh attempted to force himself on her at a party when both were in high school in Maryland 36 years ago is finished and in the hands of senators.

Sen. Chuck Grassley, the Iowa Republican who chairs the Judiciary Committee, says the report contains no new information to corroborate that Kavanaugh did what Ford accuses him of doing.

Democrats don’t dispute that, but are attacking the scope of the probe, objecting that Ford and Kavanaugh were not interviewed by the FBI. Both were grilled extensively by the Senate. The Democratic complaints seem aimed to further their delay-to-destroy strategy.

Senators have what they need to take an informed vote. Kavanaugh should be confirmed to the court.

As moving as Ford's testimony was last Friday, without any supporting evidence it remains to the senators to make a subjective judgment on something that may or may not have happened more than three decades ago.

The additional allegations from other women against Kavanaugh don’t pass any test of believability and should not be part of the calculation.

What senators do know is that Kavanaugh’s adult life has been scandal free.

Scores of women who know the judge either socially or professionally have stepped forward to attest to his character and the propriety of their interactions with him.

No women who have known the adult Kavanaugh have raised as much as a suggestion of an unwelcome flirtation.

He’s a husband and father, and from all evidence an honorable and decent man.

For the past 12 years, Kavanaugh has served as one of the respected members of the federal circuit court in Washington D.C., often referred to as the nation's second most important court.

He's been a measured, temperate jurist who has earned the respect of his colleagues, including those from across the philosophical aisle.

He's a conservative, and that offends those who believe President Donald Trump has an obligation to appoint a judge in the more moderate mold of Justice Anthony Kennedy, whose retirement left the current vacancy.

In this July 18, 2018, file photo, Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh smiles during a meeting with Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, on Capitol Hill in Washington. Kavanaugh says he recognizes that gun, drug and gang violence "has plagued all of us." Still, he believes the Constitution limits how far government can go to restrict gun use to prevent violent crime.

But Kavanaugh is no more conservative than Elena Kagan and Sonya Sotomayor, President Barack Obama's two court appointees, are liberal. Yet both received bipartisan support from the Senate.

Even before Ford's accusations, Kavanaugh's confirmation depended on winning the support of nearly every Republican senator in a chamber the GOP controls by a thin 51-49 margin.

The allegations have placed in doubt the votes of Sens. Jeff Flake of Arizona, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska. Trump did himself no favors with those three by mocking Ford at a rally in in Mississippi earlier this week.

What the doubting Republicans should focus on is who Brett Kavanaugh is today. And who Kavanaugh is today is a man whose adult character has never been called into question, who treats women with respect, and who has proved himself to be a capable and temperate jurist.

This confirmation process has been a display of the worst of American politics in the year 2018. The absurdity of U.S. senators grilling a nominee for the Supreme Court about how many "brewskis" he consumed as a teenager can't be overstated.

It should end now with the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.