The Kavanaugh saga continues

As Thursday, the day when the senate has currently scheduled testimony about the allegations made against US Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh approaches, more information keeps coming out, and most of it is not in his favor. It now appears that his second accuser Deborah Ramirez may also give testimony to the senate judiciary committee and the lawyer for the third accuser (who may go public today) has been in touch with a staff member of the committee about giving her testimony. And of course, there is the possible fourth accuser, not to mention Kavanaugh’s notorious close friend Mark Judge whose published descriptions of drunken debauchery during high school paint an all-too vivid and ugly picture that is consistent with the allegations.

Kavanaugh and his wife went for a damage-control softball interview on (where else?) Fox News. I did not watch but from news reports about the only new piece of information to emerge from it was his statement that he was a virgin until well after graduating from high school. I am not sure why he volunteered that bit of information because it does not really help his case and in fact harms it because the abusive behavior that he is accused of is consistent with that of a sexually inexperienced young man who belongs to a clique of young men given to boasting about their sexual conquests and thus make him feel inadequate. It is such men who get really frustrated and, under the influence of alcohol, are likely to try to match their peers.

Of all the new information to come out, the most damning (in my eyes) is that of his first year roommate in college (and thus in a good position to form an opinion) James Roche who issued a brief statement that I am reproducing in full (the boldface additions are mine).

I was Brett Kavanaugh’s roommate at Yale University in the Fall of 1983. We shared a two bedroom unit in the basement of Lawrence Hall on the Old Campus. Despite our living conditions, Brett and I did not socialize beyond the first few days of freshman year. We talked at night as freshman roommates do and I would see him as he returned from nights out with his friends. It is from this experience that I concluded that although Brett was normally reserved, he was a notably heavy drinker, even by the standards of the time, and that he became aggressive and belligerent when he was very drunk. I did not observe the specific incident in question, but I do remember Brett frequently drinking excessively and becoming incoherently drunk.

I became close friends with Debbie Ramirez shortly after we both arrived at Yale. She stood out as being exceptionally honest, with a trusting manner. As we got to know one another, I discovered that Debbie was very worried about fitting in. She felt that everyone at Yale was very rich, very smart and very sophisticated and that as a Puerto Rican woman from a less privileged background she was an outsider. Her response was to try hard to make friends and get along.

Based on my time with Debbie, I believe her to be unusually honest and straightforward and I cannot imagine her making this up.

Based on my time with Brett, I believe that he and his social circle were capable of the actions that Debbie described.

I do not consider myself to be a political person and I have no political agenda. I have shared this information with a small number of reporters who reached out to me directly because Debbie has a right to be heard and I believe her.

I have been asked for more detail and additional stories, but this is all that I am comfortable sharing. If I could contribute more first-hand information, I would, but I will not be granting any more interviews or answering any more questions at this time.

As Ronan Farrow (co-author of The New Yorker story that brought Ramirez’s claims to light) points out, Roche’s account flatly contradicts Kavanaugh’s claim that all the people he know in college would consider his alleged behavior “inconceivable”. As for Kavanaugh’s other claim, that the incident that Ramirez described, if it happened, would have been “the talk of the campus”, Farrow’s co-author Jane Mayer points to another contemporary student who says that every time he has heard Kavanaugh’s name over the past 35 years, he has thought of that incident.

Now Renate Schroeder Dolphin, one of the 65 women who signed the letter in support of Kavanaugh and who attended a nearby Catholic girls school, has just discovered that his high school yearbook entries had demeaning references to her and has said that she is disgusted by the revelations.

Two of Judge Kavanaugh’s classmates say the mentions of Renate were part of the football players’ unsubstantiated boasting about their conquests.

“They were very disrespectful, at least verbally, with Renate,” said Sean Hagan, a Georgetown Prep student at the time, referring to Judge Kavanaugh and his teammates. “I can’t express how disgusted I am with them, then and now.”

When Ms. Dolphin signed the Sept. 14 letter, she wasn’t aware of the “Renate” yearbook references on the pages of Judge Kavanaugh and his football teammates.

“I learned about these yearbook pages only a few days ago,” Ms. Dolphin said in a statement to The New York Times. “I don’t know what ‘Renate Alumnus’ actually means. I can’t begin to comprehend what goes through the minds of 17-year-old boys who write such things, but the insinuation is horrible, hurtful and simply untrue. I pray their daughters are never treated this way. I will have no further comment.”

Of all the women who signed that letter, Mayer says that only four still stand by it.

This whole article depicts a disgusting culture at Georgetown Prep, the Catholic high school at Kavanaugh attended. It says that Neil Gorsuch, who was placed on the Supreme Court last year, is also an alumnus. Parents who send their child to same-sex Catholic schools do so for a variety of reasons: to teach them religion and religious values, avoid contact with members of the opposite sex that they may see as distracting from academics, and reducing opportunities for early sexual temptations. If these revelations are any indication, the atmosphere of these Catholic schools is the very opposite of what they were looking for.

It looks like the Republicans and Donald Trump see this nomination as a test of their strength and are determined to get him on the court, come hell or high water, even as public confidence slips away.


  1. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Young kids like sex. I’m decently convinced that nothing more can be done besides giving them proper sex-ed, proper parental advice to watch out for oneself and beware of liars and cheats, and to give them condoms and access to other forms of birth control. I remember expressing this to one of my (former) Catholic friends, and he said that he will be different with his two young girls, and he will succeed in stopping them from having sex where everyone else has failed. I don’t recall the exact wording, but I communicated something to the effect of “you’re a fool”.

  2. John Morales says

    Saad, what a weird question.

    I think that EL is riffing on an aspect of the issue; to wit, the libidinousness of the young.

    (And possibly alluding to how society manages this as being the issue)

  3. Canadian Steve says

    Genuine question, perhaps a bit ignorant:
    If Kavanaugh is not approved by the senate, then the Democrats gain control of the senate, would they be able to arrange a nomination hearing for Merrick Garland, since he was nominated and was never given a hearing?

  4. Mano Singham says

    Canadian Steve,

    As far as I am aware, I think that the Garland nomination by Obama has lapsed. He would have to be nominated again.

  5. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    I was riffing on the Catholic all-boys and all-girls schools. No apology necessary. Thanks!

  6. Canadian Steve says

    it didn’t take that much searching to find that yes, the nominations expire at the end of the session. Wishful thinking on my part. On the other hand, if the democrats do gain control, then decided to actually grow a spine they could demand a new nomination for Merrick Garland under the threat that no other nominated judge will be approved. For the record, I think Garland isn’t really very that great of a choice, he’s pretty right wing anyway, but it has a better chance of success than an actual progressive.

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