It’s anybody’s guess.

What a difference a day makes!

From the certain confirmation of Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh as a Justice of the Supreme Court of Friday morning, there is substantial doubt as of Friday evening. The spirit of the late Senator Robert Byrd, the champion of the Senate of my lifetime, seems to have planted itself on the shoulders of Senate members as of this evening as they display a deep concern for the Senate as an institution.

On Thursday we witnessed a day of high drama at the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing. In the morning, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh’s accuser, heartened and thrilled Kavanaugh opponents in questioning by “female assistant”  Rachel Mitchell (per Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell) imported from Maricopa County Arizona where she is a sex crimes prosecutor.

Ms. Mitchell substituted for each Republican committee member,  alternating in five-minute rounds with the Democrats doing their own questioning.

As a questioner, Ms. Mitchell reminded me of defense counsel in my Southern District days whose cross examination took the form of going over the direct. Considering Dr. Ford’s opening statement as her direct testimony, Ms. Mitchell’s questions were supposed to be the cross-examination.

But going over the direct permits the Committee members and the public to hear the testimony twice, solidifying the initial impression by permitting the witness to confirm details that may have been missed the first time around. Southern District prosecutors aptly called this inept technique “hammering in the coffin nails.” Dr. Ford benefited from getting to recite details of an attempted rape not just once but twice.

Ms. Mitchell then wanly attempted to sow doubt with questions that sought to undermine irrelevant details like Dr. Ford’s alleged fear of flying that Dr. Ford said inhibited a flight to Washington to be interviewed by Committee staff. (She doesn’t like to fly.) In the face of a convincing story of attempted rape, who cares about her dislike of air travel?

Ebullient observers opposing Kavanaugh were over the moon when the break came after Dr. Ford concluded. That ebullience did not last.

In the afternoon, a contentious, angry and disrespectful Judge Kavanaugh barked accusatory responses at Democratic Senators and listened with pleasure as the Republicans cheered him on without the benefit of the “female assistant’ who got to sit there and say nothing more.

Kavanaugh’s belligerence in this venue, aided by a loud excoriation of Democrats by the always-available Sen. Lindsey Graham (he will attend the opening of an envelope) was in sharp contrast to his talking- point gentility in his interview with Martha McCallum on Fox two days before. There he was a pussycat, invoking the objective of fairness at the then-coming hearing seventeen times.

I confess that I am always disturbed by people who show different selves and different energy depending on the circumstances. Inconsistency is not a good quality in a judge. I couldn’t recognize the Fox Kavanaugh when I saw and heard the Senate Kavanaugh on Thursday afternoon. Each was different from the Kavanaugh at the initial hearings who was evasive and quibbling then, but not snarling. Sure, he may have a “right” to be angry but he has no right to a lifetime appointment on the Supreme Court unless he obtains the advice and consent of the Senate.

Whether I liked Kavanaugh’s manner or not, the situation changed by the time he was through (or so we thought). Opposition that could have made a difference in a close vote appeared to melt away overnight and into Friday morning.

By Friday afternoon, everything changed yet again. Sen. Jeff Flake agreed to vote in Committee to advance the nomination to the full Senate on condition that there be no floor vote until after a one-week investigation by the FBI into the charges against Kavanaugh. Flake’s decision and reservation has the approval of both sides and appears to be supported by the White House that must order the FBI reopening of Kavanaugh’s background investigation .

But this investigation is like one shoe dropping. The other shoe is what happens when the FBI’s report is completed. The FBI will supply 302s (interview reports)and let the Senators and the White House decide what to do.  Since Democrats and Republicans are likely to have differing views of these reports, further delay is inevitable. I suggest that some may get tired of this and want to move on,  like the nominee or the President or both.

The Senate is acting because its prestige and influence has taken a massive hit from the Kavanaugh appointment and the attendant hearings.

It has no choice but to moderate its behavior as a body. Most Senators strongly believe that they can  and should be President, a belief solidified each morning when they look in the mirror and hear “Hail To The Chief” over the sound of water running into almost 100 sinks.