The second question is not about burden of proof, but standard of proof. While Ford and Ramirez should not have to meet a criminal law standard — that is, to establish the truth of their charges beyond any reasonable doubt — it is fair to hold them to the general standard in civil litigation. In other words, the accusers must show that their claim is more likely than not to be true.

Third, the Senate should remember that its constitutional role requires it to determine the truth, not just provide a forum for the airing of grievances. Ford and Kavanaugh must testify under oath as planned, and the committee should be free to delegate the questioning to lawyers, who have regularly performed this role in congressional investigations, such as for the Watergate, Iran-contra and Whitewater scandals. Elected politicians may prove unwilling to ask both the accuser and accused the difficult questions that courtrooms demand in sexual assault cases.