News analysis

Republicans likely to prevail in Kavanaugh case but at cost

Sexual assault claims against conservative judge deepen rift between right and left

America is being "ripped apart", said a sombre Senator Jeff Flake, a Republican, after being cornered in an elevator last Friday by a woman, who is a survivor of sexual assault, pleading with him to think again before voting to confirm Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the US Supreme Court.

The day before saw dramatic testimony from Dr Christine Blasey Ford, a professor of psychology in California, about what she said was an attack 36 years ago by a drunken Mr Kavanaugh, when they were both in high school - an allegation angrily and tearfully denied by the judge, all on live television. He is 53, she is 51.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on September 30, 2018, with the headline 'Republicans likely to prevail in Kavanaugh case but at cost'. Subscribe