Assuming Hatch is faithfully repeating this conversation, the assertion that Kavanaugh wasn’t at a party like the one described is at best fishy. After all, Ford’s own recollection of the alleged incident is hazy and offers few details — including where the party was — beyond the fact that it was a house with no parents present, where just a few teens were drinking and Kavanaugh’s close friend was present, probably in 1982. Sometimes Kavanaugh’s defenders cite this lack of detail to cast doubt on her credibility, but his denial, given the lack of detail, would seem at least somewhat discrediting of him.

More significantly, his evasiveness in other exchanges with senators — about, for example, receiving stolen information while working in the George W. Bush White House, or getting sexually explicit mass emails from a circuit judge who abruptly retired following sexual harassment accusations — have likewise called his candor into question. Perhaps the explanation is a willful blindness and not any duplicity. But that’s hardly a better quality to seek out in a Supreme Court justice.

The big possible lie we should worry about, in any case — and the one that seems more plausible in light of these other statements — would be his promise to be “a neutral and impartial arbiter who favors no litigant or policy,” who follows the Constitution faithfully and respects precedent.