Bench Memos

Accusers of Kavanaugh: Status Update

As the FBI conducts its investigation, here is a status update on allegations that have been leveled at Judge Kavanaugh. That they have not held up should be no surprise, given that they only surfaced at the eleventh hour against a nominee who had faced extensive background checks over 25 years with never a whisper of such misconduct:

Source Allegations Problems with the allegations
Dr. Christine Blasey Ford In 1982, Kavanaugh pushed her into a room with Mark Judge, groped her and attempted to remove her clothes, put his hand over her mouth. As detailed in my previous posts here and here, as well as the analysis of Senate Judiciary Committee counsel Rachel Mitchell, this account contains numerous holes and inconsistencies and is either not corroborated by or is contradicted by every alleged witness.
Deborah Ramirez During the 1983-1984 school year, someone exposed himself to her while she was inebriated, after which she saw Kavanaugh with “his hips coming forward, like when you pull up your pants.” Ramirez admits she was inebriated and that she did not see Kavanaugh expose himself, but inferred it. Significantly, as she called multiple former classmates about the incident, she admitted herself that she was not sure it was Kavanaugh. Ramirez became “certain” only after working with a partisan activist lawyer for six days.


Neither she nor the New York Times, which interviewed several dozen people in search of a witness with firsthand knowledge of the allegation, could find anyone to corroborate. Ramirez’s attorneys refused seven requests from the Senate Judiciary Committee for cooperation in the form of evidence or agreeing to an interview.

Julie Swetnick Kavanaugh systematically facilitated gang rapes by spiking punch and waited his turn in lines to participate in such rapes. This is a widely discredited source with a history of dishonest and abusive behavior. Among other things, she was accused of lying about her background to her employer and was sued for defamation for making false and retaliatory claims of sexually offensive conduct in a lawsuit that also alleged similar conduct by her. Her ex-boyfriend, who called her “not credible at all,” had filed a restraining order against her and asserted that she threatened to harm his family.


She provided no dates, times, locations, or evidence to support her claims. The few specific details she provided were already publicly available.


In an October 1 interview with NBC News, she walked back some of her allegations, admitting she never “specifically” saw Kavanaugh spike punch and later surmised that gang rapes were occurring at parties even though she “didn’t know what was occurring” at the time. The Wall Street Journal and other media outlets have contacted dozens of former classmates and colleagues without being able to find a single person to corroborate her allegations. She occupied a different social circle, is more than two years older than Kavanaugh, and it does not appear anyone interviewed in his social circle has heard of her. She submitted her statement under penalty of perjury, which makes her a good candidate for a perjury prosecution.

Jeffrey Catalan on behalf of an anonymous woman In August 1985, an acquaintance of the accuser was raped by Kavanaugh and a man named Mark on a boat in the harbor at Newport, Rhode Island. The accuser and another man “physically confronted” both men after learning of the incident. On September 24, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse simultaneously gave the accuser a reporter’s contact information and forwarded his allegations to the FBI, after which he forwarded them to the Senate Judiciary Committee. Two days later, the accuser “recanted because I have made a mistake and apologize for such mistake.” The Judiciary Committee made a criminal referral of this matter to the Justice Department for the false statements alleging misconduct by Kavanaugh.
Anonymous in Colorado In 1998, Kavanaugh shoved his girlfriend against a wall “very sexually and aggressively,” according to a woman claiming to be the mother of a friend of his girlfriend. Kavanaugh’s girlfriend at the time, Judge Dabney Friedrich, denied the allegation as “offensive and absurd.” Besides never shoving her against a wall, she asserted she has “never observed (nor [is she] aware of) Brett acting in a physically inappropriate or aggressive manner toward anyone.”


Carrie Severino is chief counsel and policy director to the Judicial Crisis Network.

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

The Great Misdirection

The House Democrats are frustrated, very frustrated. They’ve gotten themselves entangled in procedural disputes with the Trump administration that no one particularly cares about and that might be litigated for a very long time. A Washington Post report over the weekend spelled out how stymied Democrats ... Read More

Australia’s Voters Reject Leftist Ideas

Hell hath no fury greater than left-wingers who lose an election in a surprise upset. Think Brexit in 2016. Think Trump’s victory the same year. Now add Australia. Conservative prime minister Scott Morrison shocked pollsters and pundits alike with his victory on Saturday, and the reaction has been brutal ... Read More
NR Webathon

We’ve Had Bill Barr’s Back

One of the more dismaying features of the national political debate lately is how casually and cynically Attorney General Bill Barr has been smeared. He is routinely compared to Roy Cohn on a cable-TV program that prides itself on assembling the most thoughtful and plugged-in political analysts and ... Read More
Film & TV

Game of Thrones: A Father’s Legacy Endures

Warning! If you don't want to read any spoilers from last night's series finale of Game of Thrones, stop reading. Right now. There is a lot to unpack about the Thrones finale, and I fully understand many of the criticisms I read on Twitter and elsewhere. Yes, the show was compressed. Yes, there were moments ... Read More

Cold Brew’s Insidious Hegemony

Soon, many parts of the United States will be unbearably hot. Texans and Arizonans will be able to bake cookies on their car dashboards; the garbage on the streets of New York will be especially pungent; Washington will not only figuratively be a swamp. And all across America, coffee consumers will turn their ... Read More
National Security & Defense

The Warmonger Canard

Whatever the opposite of a rush to war is — a crawl to peace, maybe — America is in the middle of one. Since May 5, when John Bolton announced the accelerated deployment of the Abraham Lincoln carrier group to the Persian Gulf in response to intelligence of a possible Iranian attack, the press has been aflame ... Read More