The inadequacy of the Judiciary Committee’s process was most glaring in the absence of Mark Judge, whom Republicans refused to subpoena. Ms. Ford has said Mr. Judge was in the room when the alleged assault occurred; on Thursday, she provided a few fresh details that almost certainly would have sent professional law enforcement agents in new investigative directions if they had the time and mandate. Mr. Judge has denied knowing of or being present for any assault but has also declined to offer any more information. When Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) asked Mr. Kavanaugh about Mr. Judge’s writing on drunken high school antics, the nominee told the senator, “You’d have to ask him.” “I would like to,” Mr. Leahy responded.

Americans could only watch with sadness. If he is the victim of some terrible case of mistaken identity, Mr. Kavanaugh’s anger is understandable, but his partisan conspiracy-theorizing was hardly becoming of a potential Supreme Court justice. Ms. Ford, whose life and family have been upended, deserved better than the condescension shown by a number of Republican senators and, more to the point, their unwillingness to vet her claims.