Two weeks ago the Senate Judiciary Committee invited Christine Blasey Ford to testify about a sexual assault allegedly committed by Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh nearly 40 years ago. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand referred to the proceeding as a “sham hearing,” and we criticized her for that remark.

Yet Gillibrand was right. It was a sham. The whole process was a sham.

But not for the reason she thinks.

The Senate is expected to soon vote to confirm Kavanaugh. He may or may not make it, although on his record alone, Kavanaugh is arguably the best choice President Donald Trump could make. The liberal American Bar Association, for example, had graded Kavanaugh “well qualified,” its highest rating — an evaluation that Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer once labeled the “gold standard” for judicial nominees.

But, as has been made abundantly clear over the past month, qualifications or philosophy matter little to Schumer, Gillibrand and the other Senate Democrats.

All that mattered to them was power and keeping Kavanaugh off the court by any means necessary.

We cannot say we weren’t warned. On July 9, the day Trump announced Kavanaugh as his pick, Schumer tweeted that he would “oppose Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination with everything I have.”

When Kavanaugh’s hearing opened, per Schumer’s coordination, Sens. Kamala Harris, Richard Blumenthal and Cory Booker repeatedly disrupted the process and grandstanded about documents they supposedly didn’t receive, even though the GOP had released more records about Kavanaugh than any previous Supreme Court nominee.

Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley rightly ignored their demands for a delay and kept the process rolling. As it neared the end, Sen. Dianne Feinstein dropped the bombshell about Ford’s letter outlining the alleged assault.

So we entered phase two, with Republicans bending over backwards to obtain Ford’s testimony, and treating her with great deference in doing so.

Yet Democrats met them with allegations of bullying and shaming them for not believing sexual assault victims.

Democrats have accepted Ford’s story as gospel, despite the paucity of corroborating details and despite Rachel Mitchell, the sex crimes prosecutor GOP lawmakers brought in to question Ford, exposing broad gaps in her credibility.

The day Kavanaugh and Ford testified seemed to open phase three.

As the dust from the testimony settled, Democrats then howled for an FBI investigation, even though Kavanaugh had six previous FBI background checks and GOP senators said Senate investigators, who already had looked at the claims, would be more thorough.

When Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., made an FBI probe a condition of his support to move Kavanaugh’s nomination to the whole Senate, Democrats complained his suggested weeklong timeline was insufficient.

So, Sen. Gillibrand, you were right. This has been a sham — a ruthless, shameful one perpetrated by Democrats who cared neither for the truth nor about the severe collateral damage caused by their naked quest to thwart Trump. How we recover from this is unforeseeable at the moment.

 

A version of this editorial originally appeared in the Lakeland Ledger.