U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham talks to a reporter as he arrives at Capitol Hill in Washington U.S. on May 10, 2016.
Photo by Carlos Barria/Reuters

Lindsey Graham: ‘I’m not going to ruin Judge Kavanaugh’s life over this’

Last week, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) wasn’t exactly subtle in his response to Christine Blasey Ford’s allegation against Brett Kavanaugh. “This has been a drive-by shooting when it comes to Kavanaugh,” the Senate Judiciary Committee member said. “I’ll listen to the lady, but we’re going to bring this to a close.”

If Graham was trying to hide his disdain for the controversy, he wasn’t trying very hard.

Yesterday, the South Carolina Republican went a little further.

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, one of the 11 Republicans who sit on the Senate Judiciary Committee, made it clear Sunday that while he is willing to hear out Christine Blasey Ford about her sexual assault allegation against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, he has not heard enough evidence to “ruin Judge Kavanaugh’s life over this.”

“What am I supposed to do? Go ahead and ruin this guy’s life based on an accusation?” Graham asked in an interview with “Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace. “I don’t know when it happened, I don’t know where it happened. And everybody named in regard to being there said it didn’t happen. I’m just being honest. Unless there’s something more, no I’m not going to ruin Judge Kavanaugh’s life over this.”

“But she should come forward, she should have her say. She will be respectfully treated,” he added.

Ah, yes. Graham isn’t inclined to ignore Dr. Ford right now; he’s inclined to treat her respectfully and then ignore her.

But it was the senator’s specific concerns that struck me as especially remarkable: to take the California professor’s allegation seriously is to “ruin Judge Kavanaugh’s life,” Graham argued.

That’s not even close to being true.

I won’t pretend to know how this process will unfold in the coming days and weeks, especially in the wake of a new misconduct allegation published last night, but let’s say Kavanaugh’s nomination is derailed. That may not happen, of course, but let’s just say it does for the sake of conversation.

What would be the consequence for the conservative jurist? Well, at that point, Kavanaugh would go back to being an appeals court judge on the D.C. Circuit, where he’s currently one of the most powerful jurists in the country. That’s it. A life of power and privilege – a position he’ll be free to maintain for the rest of his life – would be his “punishment.”

This, in Lindsey Graham’s estimation, would be Kavanaugh’s personal “ruin.”

The question is whether the Senate is prepared to overlook a series of controversies and reward him with a seat on the nation’s highest court. “Ruining Judge Kavanaugh’s life” isn’t one of the options on the table.

Lindsey Graham and Supreme Court

Lindsey Graham: 'I'm not going to ruin Judge Kavanaugh's life over this'