FRESH AIR: Several Democratic presidential candidates are calling for the impeachment of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh after The New York Times published an essay Sept. 14 describing alleged sexual misconduct that occurred during his college years at Yale.
New York Times reporters Robin Pogrebin and Kate Kelly, who penned the essay, covered Kavanaugh’s contentious 2018 confirmation hearings, in which Christine Blasey Ford alleged that he’d sexually assaulted her at a house party when they were both teenagers. The FBI conducted an investigation into Kavanaugh’s behavior, but it was restricted in terms of time and scope. The Senate ultimately voted 50-48 in favor of Kavanaugh’s confirmation.
In their new book, The Education of Brett Kavanaugh, Pogrebin and Kelly detail what’s already known about Kavanaugh — and extend the investigation into parts of his history and events alleged to have taken place. (Editor’s Note: Pogrebin and Kelly’s reporting noted below includes a graphic description of alleged sexual misconduct.)
Pogrebin and Kelly research allegations by Deborah Ramirez, a Yale alumna who claims that Kavanaugh put his penis in her face during a college party when they were both freshman. They also raise allegations of a similar incident detailed by a male Yale classmate, though neither he nor the woman allegedly involved speak publicly about it.
In response to the latest news, President Trump tweeted: “Brett Kavanaugh should start suing people for libel, or the Justice Department should come to his rescue. The lies being told about him are unbelievable. False Accusations without recrimination. When does it stop? They are trying to influence his opinions. Can’t let that happen!”
Pogrebin, who was in Kavanaugh’s class at Yale, says that Ramirez’s account “never got its due” during the confirmation hearings because “the Republicans in charge of the process … clearly had no interest in adding yet another story and another potential victim to the public dialogue and giving [Ramirez] the legitimacy of a public forum.”
“Although [Ramirez] was made available to the Senate Judiciary Committee and then her lawyers ultimately gave the FBI a list of more than two dozen potential witnesses who could add credence to her story, ultimately the Judiciary Committee determined that her allegations were not relevant to the process,” Pogrebin says.
Kelly grew up in Washington, D.C., and attended a girls’ high school in the same social network as Kavanaugh’s high school. She notes that alcohol abuse was a common theme throughout their investigation of Kavanaugh.
“The drinking was something of a through-line,” Kelly says. “Generally speaking, [Kavanaugh] was regarded as a pretty polite, responsible well-mannered young person. But when he was heavily drinking — and also at times when he was simply trying to impress his friends, like in the schoolyard — a different side of him came out.” MORE