Lindsay Graham, US Senate judiciary chair, opened the confirmation hearings for Donald Trump’s nominee to the US supreme court, Amy Coney Barrett, with the injunction: “To the extent possible, let’s make it respectful. Let’s make it challenging. Let’s remember the world is watching.”

Presumably, Graham had in mind that the world should be instructed as to how these things are done. Yet many of us watching from outside were wondering whether this would be another watch-through-your-fingers horror show, as when Brett Kavanaugh, Trump’s last nominee (now confirmed) screamed hell and damnation on all those who believed Christine Blasey Ford’s account of sexual abuse at the hands of the teenage Kavanaugh was relevant to his suitability for office several decades later.

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