When Senator Dianne Feinstein received very serious allegations against Judge Kavanaugh, she could have—and should have—handled those concerns through the committee’s normal protocols. This process, which applies not just to Supreme Court nominees but to hundreds of judicial and Justice Department appointments, is specifically designed to protect the interests of both accusers and nominees. The process is both confidential and bipartisan. Its goal is to pursue the truth, not political advantage. That Senator Feinstein inexplicably chose not to handle the serious allegation Dr. Christine Blasey Ford made against Judge Kavanaugh according to these procedures has had terrible consequences for all the individuals involved and has done lasting damage to the Senate and the Supreme Court as institutions…

Although the vast majority of nominees have exemplary background files, evidence of potential concern arises with some regularity. When the FBI interviews dozens of former associates and neighbors covering a nominee’s entire lifetime, it is not uncommon that one of those associates has something unflattering to say. Sometimes, the unflattering information crosses the line and becomes potential evidence that, if true, would disqualify a nominee from a lifetime appointment to the bench. Examples of potentially disqualifying evidence include sexual harassment, physical and sexual violence, racial prejudice, substance abuse, and pervasive dishonesty.

If either the Republican or the Democrat staffer reviewing an FBI file find anything of concern, the committee conducts additional investigation.