No matter what you make of the veracity of the sexual assault claims that multiple women have leveled against Brett Kavanaugh, Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, you have to wonder—why are conservatives defending such a controversial candidate for the highest court in the land?

As Vox’s Matt Yglesias has argued, “Republicans simply do not care whether it’s true that Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted women in his youth,” noting that Bill Shine has ascended to a top communications post in the White House after he was ousted from Fox News “because he’d been named in too many lawsuits as an abettor of the multiple, large-scale sexual harassment allegations at the company.” And of course, Trump himself has been accused of sexual misconduct by many women, one of whom is suing him for defamation.

But just as a political matter, you would think that Republicans would not be eager for another public debate about sexual assault less than a year after Roy Moore lost a Senate race in Alabama. Trump could’ve ditched Kavanaugh when it was clear his confirmation was in peril weeks ago and picked one of several other judges just as conservative as the former George W. Bush attorney (Neil Gorsuch, after all, was confirmed routinely despite his very conservative views).