If there is such a thing as a Super Bowl in politics, it occurred real time before a nation-wide audience riveted to their screens as the high drama taking place in Washington unfolded.

As is so often the case, Californians are playing a starring role.

In a shocking turnabout to the Senate Judiciary Committee’s tumultuous confirmation hearings on Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, at the initial urging of Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the panel’s ranking member, it was unanimously agreed that a full Senate vote be delayed for one week to allow the FBI to conduct a more thorough investigation into the allegations of sexual misconduct. However the motion to advance the nomination to the floor passed on a straight-line party vote. 11-10 with Flake joining the majority.

The states junior Senator, Kamala Harris, was also scoring points in what may be a preview of a future presidential run.

Sen. Jeff Flake a retiring Arizona Republican, served as quarterback who after a long side room huddle, apparently convinced his ten fellow Republicans—all males—to go along.

It required the consent of Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, who takes his cues from President Trump.

Although a thorough going FBI investigation has been standard practice for decades in prior nomination hearings, there was immediate speculation that McConnell, a master vote counter, would not have agreed to any delay if he already had the votes.

Confirmation is by no means a certainty with the final outcome resting in the hands of two undecided GOP women, Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska & Susan Collins of Maine. Flake could also be a swing vote in a bitterly divided Senate composed of 51 Republicans and 49 Democrats.

It will boil down to a question of believability with Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, a Palo Alto resident and part-time Stanford professor who gave transfixed committee members a vivid account of her harrowing experience of what exactly happened 30 years ago when she and the alleged assailant were high school teenagers. She submitted to a lie detector test which Kavanaugh has not.

Fast-tracking the nomination appears to have posed even greater risk than allowing a minimal delay. The re-opening of the FBI investigation was characterized by one Democratic Senator as “an additional background check.”

Given the explosive nature of the allegations it is highly warranted.

Of course, future revelations could still sink a nomination already in considerable trouble, or it could yield—though less likely—information that is exonerating.

The hearings were punctuated by heated exchanges between Republican senators who believe Kavanaugh innocent of all charges of sexual assault and Democrats who found Ford’s testimony compelling and highly credible.

Ford, often on the verge of tears, but in surprisingly calm and measured tones, gave a detailed, heart wrenching account of the harrowing ordeal declaring herself  “100% certain” about what had occurred.

Were Kavanaugh still to be confirmed, she is now a hero to women victims across America.

Kavanaugh, also tearful but visibly shaken, angered and extremely combative, categorically denied all the allegations with equal conviction, characterizing the proceedings a “circus”, a “sham”, and a “left wing conspiracy.”

The imagery of an even-handed temperament and impartiality expected of a Supreme Court justice was definitely shattered.

A Yale College roommate described Kavanaugh as having a tendency to “become belligerent when he drinks heavily.”

In one extraordinary moment, the soft-spoken Minnesotan, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, questioned whether he had ever “blacked out” while drinking?  “Have you?” he retorted to which she responded,  “I have no drinking problem.”

Aside from this incredibly insulting rejoinder, there is incontrovertible scientific evidence that excessive drinking can cloud one’s memory.

His defenders offered the theory that perhaps it was a case of mistaken identity attempting to challenge Ford’s memory.

There was no evidence to support any of these claims.

Ford’s anguished hesitation to come forward with her story—a reaction not uncommon to victims of sexual abuse—and the fact that she had little or nothing to gain by doing so attests further to her truthfulness.

Someone is lying. Whom may never be known just as speculation continues to this day about who was telling the truth after the comparatively sedate Clarence Thomas/Anita Hill hearings 27 years ago.

Feinstein has been roundly and many believe unfairly criticized for failing to turn over sooner the letter Ford wrote to her and San Jose Congresswoman Anna Eshoo detailing the assault.

Feinstein responded that she had pledged to protect its confidentiality as Ford had initially requested.

Three more women yet to testify have since come forward with similar allegations of sexual misconduct giving Feinstein’s actions in retrospect even greater justification.

It is still not clear whether they will be called if a tight leash is held on the continuing investigation.

Mark Judge, also among those not yet asked to testify, who wrote that he did not remember the event and who Ford claimed was a co-participant, is potentially the key witness.

This rush to judgement is purely and simply a determination to ram through a nominee who should be the first to demand a thorough going examination if only to clear his name.

The charade we have been witnessing is an affront to all women and men. Come November they will have their chance to be heard. They should take it.

Kavanaugh has labeled the hearings “a national disgrace.” If additional findings are even more conclusive that he committed the serious wrongdoings, which he vehemently denies, he will be right.

If so the only honorable thing to do to preserve what honor he still has would be to ask that his nomination be withdrawn.

By all indications, that appears unlikely.

In this instance, given the implications of rubber-stamping a highly controversial choice who might one day be called upon to determine the fate of his nominator who has not been exactly apologetic about his own sexual proclivities, the stakes could not be greater.

This is not a court trial to establish guilt or innocence. It is a constitutionally mandated job interview with one objective: to evaluate a nominee’s character at what may be a pivotal moment in our history.

It is about the qualifications or lack thereof of an individual who will be given a lifetime appointment to the most powerful tribunal in the land. Nothing less.

It is a search for truth or as close as we can come to finding it.

Instead, millions are watching what has turned into a nasty political street brawl masquerading as a high-minded hearing designed to achieve a pre-ordained result orchestrated by a president who will not be satisfied with anything less than total victory.

Christine Blasey Ford did her civic duty and is deserving of enormous gratitude for such unflinching heroism. That took great courage.

Two others deserve high praise for their valiant efforts in what may have been an exemplary moment in bi-partisanship for negotiating the agreement resulting in a delay that could change history. They are Sens. Jeff Flake and Delaware Democrat, Chris Coons.

We will soon find out if there are any other heroes out there.

This is not about whether Republicans or Democrats have the greater corner on wisdom or truth. It is about respect for a process that has gone badly off the rails to the detriment of everyone interested in fundamental principles of fairness.

The nation deserves better—-not just in fairness to all parties, but for the integrity of the Senate, the reputation of the highest court, and, indeed, the health of the Republic.