The Supreme Court may have to consider questions about whether a sitting president can be indicted or subpoenaed, and what effect pardoning a federal offense would have on state charges for the same conduct — an issue bound up in Gamble v. United States, a double jeopardy case already on the court’s calendar. Many have argued that Judge Kavanaugh should not be confirmed unless he commits in advance to recusing himself from such cases. He has predictably refused to do so.

The accusations made by Christine Blasey Ford raise another order of concern. Some might argue that the unresolved cloud over his past would require a Justice Kavanaugh to recuse himself from any case involving sexual assault or harassment. That might well be, but I have in mind something more sweeping and fundamental.