Brett and Accusations Part II
by Sebastian Guccione
Staff Law Professor
Brett Kavanaugh has entered the national spotlight amid sexual assault accusations. If you’re experiencing déja vu right now, no you’re not crazy, and yes, we’ve been here before. This past Tuesday, two New York Times reporters published a book containing both previously unreported and new details about sexual assault accusations against Kavanaugh and the chicanery of his confirmation.
As many will recall, Kavanaugh, now Supreme Court Justice Kavanaugh, was confirmed to the highest court in the land by the Republican-controlled Senate in October of last year. The significance of the Senate’s historically close 50–48 vote was only surpassed by the extent of national outrage it ignited. All the controversy stemmed from allegations that Kavanaugh had sexually assaulted or raped several women, two of whom being Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and Deborah Ramirez.
During Kavanaugh’s confirmation process both he and Dr. Ford appeared in a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Dr. Ford told the committee that in the 1980s, Kavanaugh, along with a friend, pinned her to a bed, groped her, ground against her, tried to remove her clothes, and covered her mouth when she screamed. She cited notes from past counseling sessions where she described her assaulters. Kavanaugh, in the same hearing, denied all accusations against him, and described the efforts to pursue such allegations as a “calculated and orchestrated political hit.” He cited calendars that he kept at the time, which he would use as an abbreviated journal.
Deborah Ramirez, a classmate of Kavanaugh at Yale University, had also made public allegations of sexual assault against him. The allegations were made prior to Kavanaugh’s confirmation, and consisted of Ramirez telling the New Yorker that he had drunkenly and nakedly shoved his genitals in her face at an undergraduate dorm party.
During Kavanaugh’s confirmation process, the vast majority of public discourse was placed on Dr. Christine Ford, as she testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee and had ‘stronger’ allegations. As a result, Ramirez was often made light of by media outlets and even politicians.
So, why is the attention back on Kavanaugh now? New York Times reporters Robin Pogrebin and Kate Kelly released an article followed by a book, entitled The Education of Brett Kavanaugh: An Investigation, that provides many new details that corroborate Ramirez’s overlooked accusations, suggest a larger extent to which the F.B.I’s investigations of Kavanaugh were limited, and suggest that Kavanaugh was not truthful throughout his confirmation hearings.
In their report, Pogrebin and Kelly analyze Kavanaugh’s Senate testimony, where he stated that “if the incident Ms. Ramirez described had occurred, it would have been “the talk of campus.” [Pogrebin and Kelly’s] reporting suggests that it was.”
The New York Times reporters go into detail how “[a]t least seven people, including Ms. Ramirez’s mother, heard about the Yale incident long before Mr. Kavanaugh was a federal judge. Two of those people were classmates who learned of it just days after the party occurred, suggesting that it was discussed among students at the time.”
Max Stier, classmate to Kavanaugh at Yale, also reported in the new book that he “saw Mr. Kavanaugh with his pants down at a different drunken dorm party, where friends pushed his penis into the hand of a female student.” Although Stier reported the incident to the F.B.I, they did not pursue investigation.
As Pogrebin and Kelly notify in their report, a lack of F.B.I investigation is a common theme and not exclusive to Stier’s sighted sexual assault when examining Kavanaugh; “Ms. Ramirez’s legal team gave the F.B.I. a list of at least 25 individuals who may have had corroborating evidence. But the bureau — in its supplemental background investigation — interviewed none of them, though we learned many of these potential witnesses tried in vain to reach the F.B.I. on their own.”
An increasing amount of members of congress, such as senator Bernie Sanders, are now calling for impeachment: “[The details of Pogrebin and Kelly’s new report] confirm what we already knew: During his hearing, Kavanaugh faced credible accusations and likely lied to Congress. I support any appropriate constitutional mechanism to hold him accountable.” Similarly, senator Kamala Harris believes that “Brett Kavanaugh lied to the U.S. Senate and most importantly to the American people. He was put on the Court through a sham process and his place on the Court is an insult to the pursuit of truth and justice. He must be impeached.”
Most republicans in congress, and notably the POTUS, believe that any attempt to sully Kavanaugh’s reputation is a political move to fight back against the increasing presence of republicans in the Department of Justice. Last Sunday, President Trump tweeted out that “the Radical Left Democrats and their Partner, the LameStream Media, are after Brett Kavanaugh again… they want to scare him into turning Liberal!”
As calls for impeachment and contrasting opinions on Kavanaugh continue, it is a civic duty of the people to stay informed and read any relevant primary resources for themselves. Kavanaugh is 54 years old, extremely young by SCOTUS standards, and none would disagree that if left to serve, he will have a large impact on law and the morality of the country.