“It’s difficult to imagine an exit strategy that’s not personally and professionally devastating for Kavanaugh,” Jonathan Turley, a George Washington University Law School professor, told The Washington Post on Tuesday.

Those encouraging the federal judge to withdraw are telling him to cut his losses, Turley said. But the losses are quite considerable.

“He’s been accused of being an attempted rapist. There’s not a viable option for Kavanaugh beyond appearing at this hearing and defending his actions and reputation,” he said. At this stage, many lawyers think a withdrawal would cement the allegations into his record.

Entertaining a hearing presents a more appealing end: If he falls short on confirmation votes, Kavanaugh returns to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, as others have before him; after a failed nomination related to marijuana use, Douglas H. Ginsburg went on to serve with distinction. A hearing also preserves the possibility of a lifetime appointment to the high court.