Their view: Allegations demand full FBI investigation of Kavanaugh

FILE - In this Sept. 6, 2018, file photo, President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, for the third day of his confirmation hearing to replace retired Justice Anthony Kennedy. Christine Blasey Ford, the woman accusing Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct when they were teenagers has come forward to The Washington Post. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File) -

Put aside the politics. The allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh demand a full investigation prior to the Senate’s confirmation vote.

This is a decision that will impact the country for the next 20 years — or more. It’s arguably as important as whom voters select as their next president.

The Senate owes it to the American people to determine the veracity of the charges against Kavanaugh. Anything less would taint the court and further divide the country.

Process matters. The accusation made by Palo Alto University professor Christine Blasey Ford is credible. Not proven, but certainly strong enough to merit independent review.

The emergence of a second accusation of sexual misconduct against Kavanaugh on Sunday and reports of a possible third from attorney Michael Avenatti reinforce the need to learn the truth about the nominee’s history.

The claims are serious — extremely serious. The public deserves to know if they’re true. No senator should be voting on his nomination without full information that can only be attained through a thorough investigation. This nation should not continue turning its back on women who speak up about sexual abuse.

The notion that a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing can get to the bottom of the issue simply by interviewing Ford and Kavanaugh is nonsense. No experienced investigator would dream of conducting a serious inquiry — especially not one involving sexual misconduct — in front of television cameras with the nation watching.

The only way to get at the truth is for the FBI or an independent investigative team to interview everyone involved and report the findings. Kavanaugh, assuming he did nothing wrong, and his supporters, including the president and Republican senators, should want a thorough investigation as much as anyone. Rushing the confirmation process contributes to the notion that he has something to hide.

This isn’t a matter of what the Constitution demands, for our Founding Fathers established no criteria for becoming a Supreme Court justice. The Constitution does not require a law school education or service as a lawyer or judge. There is no age requirement. Supreme Court justices don’t even have to be American born.

They only have to be nominated by the president and confirmed by a majority vote of the Senate. The Senate doesn’t have to specify its thinking. It’s strictly an up or down vote.

But our nation’s representative democracy and judicial system work only if the public has confidence in them. Rushing the confirmation of a high-court justice under a cloud as thick as the one over Kavanaugh would only erode that confidence.

It isn’t the end of the world if Kavanaugh isn’t confirmed. Since 1789, 37 of 162 nominees to the Supreme Court have failed.

The reasons vary from having smoked pot with students (Douglas Ginsburg, nominated by President Reagan in 1987), to having a strong anti-war record (Caleb Cushing, nominated by Ulysses S. Grant in 1874), to opposition to a U.S. treaty with Great Britain (John Rutledge, nominated by George Washington as chief justice in 1795).

The integrity of the confirmation process and the need to fully vet a candidate before any vote is more important than concerns about Kavanaugh’s good name or worries that an investigation would deter people from entering public service.

There’s too much at stake to rush this. Ordering a thorough investigation is the Senate’s only responsible action.

– The Mercury News (San Jose, Calif.)

FILE – In this Sept. 6, 2018, file photo, President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, for the third day of his confirmation hearing to replace retired Justice Anthony Kennedy. Christine Blasey Ford, the woman accusing Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct when they were teenagers has come forward to The Washington Post. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/web1_121270901-24811320fb7e4fcd8b561a4f9beef1ab.jpgFILE – In this Sept. 6, 2018, file photo, President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, for the third day of his confirmation hearing to replace retired Justice Anthony Kennedy. Christine Blasey Ford, the woman accusing Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct when they were teenagers has come forward to The Washington Post. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)