For Blumenthal and other Democrats, the FBI investigation is important but also secondary. The debate has drifted beyond Kavanaugh. It was now a question about the future legitimacy of the Supreme Court itself; whether one of the three branches of government would retain a semblance of apolitical credibility in hyper partisan times.

“I think that the fact that the president has made it very clear that he wants the Supreme Court to be a political arm of his administration has already damaged its legitimacy,” Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) said. “Can you imagine the Supreme Court today coming down with a decision with the power of Brown v. Board of Education and having the American people think it’s legitimate, no matter which way they vote?”

Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY), who could end up chairing the House Judiciary Committee should Democrats retake that chamber, declined to say if he would use his gavel to conduct oversight into Kavanaugh’s past. But Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), who could take over the Oversight Committee, had no hesitation talking about the hoods under which he would look.