Bench Memos

Law & the Courts

Mea Maxima Culpa

I apologize deeply and sincerely to all those whom I have harmed by my appalling and inexcusable tweet thread last week—above all, the person whose name I wrongly made public, but lots of others as well, including Judge Kavanaugh, my Ethics and Public Policy Center colleagues, those institutions and individuals who have supported my work or my colleagues’ work, the editors of National Review (who have made it possible for me to reach a wide audience here at Bench Memos since 2005), and many others who had placed their trust in me.

I also apologize to victims of sexual assault and to Dr. Ford for these and other tweets that did not address with respectful consideration the difficult question of how to assess allegations of sexual assault. I do not believe that all such allegations must be accepted as true, and I believe further that the usual inquiries into motivation, cognition, memory and other matters that apply to other charges properly apply to these as well. But my tweets did not advance the discussion in a constructive way.

I don’t mean this to be exculpatory, but I do want to emphasize that my grave error resulted not from malice towards anyone but instead from my deep faith in the honesty and integrity of Judge Kavanaugh, whom I have known, worked with, and admired for many years, and from my resulting over-readiness to rush to his defense.

At the direction of my board, I will be taking a leave of absence of undetermined duration from EPPC. I intend to use the leave to reflect on how and why I made the mistakes I did and to chart a better course forward. I expect that my blogging will be much reduced in the meantime (and that my tweeting will be minimal or non-existent).

I am grateful for all the consoling notes I have received, including some from very unexpected quarters. I fully deserve much of the criticism that others have directed at me, and I will not undertake here to distinguish between the fair critiques and the unfair ones. To those who have taken delight in being vicious towards me, I will say only that my self-rebuke stings far more than anything they can say.

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