A recent article in the News attempted to brand conservatives as hypocritical pundits, pundits playing a dirty political game through Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s ’87 LAW ’90 confirmation process, abandoning their “family values.” As a conservative who values family above most everything, I write to express why my conditional support for Kavanaugh is in line with that familial perspective.

My support for Kavanaugh does not negate Christine Blasey Ford’s claim of sexual assault. In fact, I tend to see Ford as a sister, traumatized by one of the most evil acts a human being can commit. After watching her testimony, it was clear to me that she was credible — that she was at a party in the 1980s, that she was sexually assaulted, that she suffered as a result of that incident. The caveat is that I believe all of this while recognizing Kavanaugh as innocent of the allegations based on evidence, or lack thereof.

To ignore evidence is to blaspheme justice. The four corroborating witnesses that Ford listed came forward denying the allegations under penalty of felony. According to The Hill, 72 female law clerks for Anthony Kennedy and 18 for Kavanaugh came forward endorsing the nominee’s upstanding character after the allegations were made. Sixty-five women, friends of Kavanaugh in high school, endorsed his moral, sensible character in a public letter of support. One of the women, Paula Duke Ebel, remarked, “Brett wouldn’t do that in a million years. I’m totally confident. That would be completely out of character for him.”

During his hearing, the judge expressed his frustration with the media’s treatment of his family, besmirching his character based on unsubstantiated allegations. Kavanaugh, with tear-filled eyes, described how, when he was saying prayers before bedtime with his two daughters, “little Liza, all of 10 years old, said to Ashley, we should pray for the woman [Ford]. That’s a lot of wisdom from a 10-year-old. We mean no ill will.” Kavanaugh himself expressed his support for Ford, believing that her claim of being sexually assaulted is credible, though he maintains that he had no role in the incident. He, Ford and Mark Judge all welcomed the FBI investigation, which notably produced no new corroborating evidence.

Democratic officials have chosen to ignore the complexity of the issue, to make the simple bait-and-switch, playing the exact political game that they have accused conservatives of playing. There are certainly unanswered questions here. Why did Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., leak Ford’s story against Ford’s wishes? Why did the senator knowingly withhold Ford’s allegations, given to her on July 30, until now? Why didn’t any elected Democrat request an FBI investigation as soon as they learned of the incident? What is the goal of the FBI investigation if most Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee have already decided on voting against Kavanaugh’s confirmation? Why have the accused agreed to cooperate fully in the ongoing FBI investigation if they are supposedly guilty? Finally, what ever happened to “innocent until proven guilty?” Does that foundational principle of American law evaporate if you stand on the opposite end of the political spectrum as the accused? Does that mere disagreement disqualify one for nomination to the Supreme Court?

If we are unwilling to acknowledge any credence from each other, we have lost the power of democracy. In the United States, we are bestowed a freedom unlike any other in history, a freedom that recognizes equality before the law as essential to the American experience. We are given the responsibility, as the court of public opinion, to remain informed and educated, to keep an open mind and to be wary of ascribing punishment without evidence. As St. John Paul II notes, “When freedom does not have a purpose, when it does not wish to know anything about the rule of law engraved in the hearts of men and women, when it does not listen to the voice of conscience, it turns against humanity and society.”

I support women coming forward with sexual assault stories. I do not ignore any case because it purportedly happened decades ago or because it fits into a certain political narrative. Too many women have been abused, and it is my civic duty to respond appropriately to those women and their allegations, to support their courage and to bring justice upon the rightly convicted in whatever capacity I am able. Simultaneously, my civic responsibility also requires that I protect the wrongly accused. Without any substantiating evidence, there is no possible way Kavanaugh can be found guilty. Both Ford and Kavanaugh deserve respect, or at least a simple recognition of their humanity. Media and politicians on both ends of the political spectrum have denigrated the accused or the accuser, betraying the family values I hold dear. I think it’s high time we recognize each other as a family. If there is evidence against my claim, like a brother recognizing his wrong, I will consider it and change my opinion accordingly. Will you?

Carson Macik is a first year in Saybrook College. Contact him at carson.macik@yale.edu .