I am, of course, referring to Brett Kavanaugh and his Evil Minions™.
First, we have another allegation of sexual assault while drunk, this one at Yale:
As Senate Republicans press for a swift vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh, President Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court, Senate Democrats are investigating a new allegation of sexual misconduct against Kavanaugh. The claim dates to the 1983-84 academic school year, when Kavanaugh was a freshman at Yale University. The offices of at least four Democratic senators have received information about the allegation, and at least two have begun investigating it. Senior Republican staffers also learned of the allegation last week and, in conversations with The New Yorker, expressed concern about its potential impact on Kavanaugh’s nomination. Soon after, Senate Republicans issued renewed calls to accelerate the timing of a committee vote. The Democratic Senate offices reviewing the allegations believe that they merit further investigation. “This is another serious, credible, and disturbing allegation against Brett Kavanaugh. It should be fully investigated,” Senator Mazie Hirono, of Hawaii, said. An aide in one of the other Senate offices added, “These allegations seem credible, and we’re taking them very seriously. If established, they’re clearly disqualifying.”
The woman at the center of the story, Deborah Ramirez, who is fifty-three, attended Yale with Kavanaugh, where she studied sociology and psychology. Later, she spent years working for an organization that supports victims of domestic violence. The New Yorker contacted Ramirez after learning of her possible involvement in an incident involving Kavanaugh. The allegation was conveyed to Democratic senators by a civil-rights lawyer. For Ramirez, the sudden attention has been unwelcome, and prompted difficult choices. She was at first hesitant to speak publicly, partly because her memories contained gaps because she had been drinking at the time of the alleged incident. In her initial conversations with The New Yorker, she was reluctant to characterize Kavanaugh’s role in the alleged incident with certainty. After six days of carefully assessing her memories and consulting with her attorney, Ramirez said that she felt confident enough of her recollections to say that she remembers Kavanaugh had exposed himself at a drunken dormitory party, thrust his penis in her face, and caused her to touch it without her consent as she pushed him away. Ramirez is now calling for the F.B.I. to investigate Kavanaugh’s role in the incident. “I would think an F.B.I. investigation would be warranted,” she said.
Ramirez acknowledged that there are significant gaps in her memories of the evening, and that, if she ever presents her story to the F.B.I. or members of the Senate, she will inevitably be pressed on her motivation for coming forward after so many years, and questioned about her memory, given her drinking at the party.
And yet, after several days of considering the matter carefully, she said, “I’m confident about the pants coming up, and I’m confident about Brett being there.” Ramirez said that what has stayed with her most forcefully is the memory of laughter at her expense from Kavanaugh and the other students. “It was kind of a joke,” she recalled. “And now it’s clear to me it wasn’t a joke.”
Ronan Farrow and Jane Mayer have not been able to find a witness, but they have been able to someone who says that, “Another student told him about the incident either on the night of the party or in the next day or two. The classmate said that he is “one-hundred-per-cent sure” that he was told at the time that Kavanaugh was the student who exposed himself to Ramirez. He independently recalled many of the same details offered by Ramirez, including that a male student had encouraged Kavanaugh as he exposed himself.”
And do we have one person on the record, albeit with (contemporaneous) hearsay, as well as her family:
Another classmate, Richard Oh, an emergency-room doctor in California, recalled overhearing, soon after the party, a female student tearfully recounting to another student an incident at a party involving a gag with a fake penis, followed by a male student exposing himself. Oh is not certain of the identity of the female student. Ramirez told her mother and sister about an upsetting incident at the time, but did not describe the details to either due to her embarrassment.
I should note that this is not limited to just the revelation, it appears that he and his friends used their senior yearbook to slut shame a woman at a nearby school, and there is absolute confirmation of this:
Brett Kavanaugh’s page in his high school yearbook offers a glimpse of the teenage years of the man who is now President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee: lots of football, plenty of drinking, parties at the beach. Among the reminiscences about sports and booze is a mysterious entry: “Renate Alumnius.”
The word “Renate” appears at least 14 times in Georgetown Preparatory School’s 1983 yearbook, on individuals’ pages and in a group photo of nine football players, including Judge Kavanaugh, who were described as the “Renate Alumni.” It is a reference to Renate Schroeder, then a student at a nearby Catholic girls’ school.
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.”
You will note that the “Fourth of July” has 6 extra “F”s. This stands for, “Find them, French them, Feel them, Finger them, F%$# them, Forget them.”
And finally, for Kavanaugh anyway, we have allegations of alcohol soaked parties where people pulled a train on a drunk girl.
But it isn’t just Kavanaugh, but also his friends, the Bobsey Twins of Yale Law School, Amy Chua and her husband Jed Rubenfeld.
I had already mentioned reports that Chua had advised her students that Kavanaugh wanted his clerks to look like models, which she has denied, bit now some of her former students are calling her a liar:
But another former law student who was advised by Chua and approached the Guardian after its original story was published on Thursday said his experience was consistent with the allegations presented in the article.
The male student, who asked not to be identified, said that when he approached Chua about his interest in clerking for Kavanaugh, the professor said it was “great”, but then added that Kavanaugh “tends to hire women who are generally attractive and then likes to send them to [supreme court Chief Justice John] Roberts”.
It was a reference to Kavanaugh’s role as a so-called “feeder” judge, whose clerks often go on to win highly coveted clerkships at the US supreme court.
The student alleged that Chua then added: “I don’t think it is a sexual thing, but [Kavanaugh] likes to have pretty clerks.”
The former student told the Guardian that in the following year, he advised two female classmates who were also interested in clerking for Kavanaugh to talk to Chua.
“They got the same advice: ‘He likes girls who are pretty’,” the student said. “Another girl … she got the same advice, and [Chua told her] to wear heels.”
Meanwhile, the allegations against Rubenfeld sound a lot like Kavanaugh’s freshman year:
And apparently the school’s been worried about Jed Rubenfeld for some time.
We can now report that Yale has been conducting an internal investigation into harassment and inappropriate conduct allegations concerning Professor Rubenfeld. The law school will neither confirm nor deny the existence of the investigation, but a letter that went out to Yale Law School Alumni over the summer confirms that the investigation is ongoing.
“YLS has hired an outside investigator to look into Professor Rubenfeld’s conduct, and folks should reach out to her if they have something to share. The sooner the better, and it’s possible to talk to her in ways that preserve anonymity (see details below). The investigator’s name is Jenn Davis, and she can be reached at: [Redacted]
YLS seems to be pretty concerned about what it’s been hearing about Professor Rubenfeld’s conduct, especially (but not solely) with respect to female students. This is conduct that seems to date back decades but that has persisted into the just-concluded school year. YLS has hired an outside investigator, Jenn Davis, to try to put together a more comprehensive account of that conduct and its effects on the environment at YLS. One Dean Gerken receives this account, a determination will be made about what steps to take with respect to remedies.
Scope and process: Jenn’s jurisdiction is over issues regarding female students as well as other types of behaviors that have given rise to concern over the years. It seems she’s been tasked with understanding whether Professor Rubenfeld contributes to a hostile environment for students, generally. There is an understanding that certain behaviors might well not be unique to him or to YLS, but that does not make them OK.
More specifically, it seems Jenn is interested in hearing about, among other things:
- Disparate treatment of, or boundary crossing with, women in the YLS community. She is interested in hearing from subjects of, or witnesses to, that treatment. (E.g., comments about female students’ physical appearances or relationship histories, conversations that seem designed to “test the waters,” intimidation or efforts at manipulation targeted at female students, etc.).
- Conduct related to excessive drinking with students (driving with students while drunk, etc.).
- Inappropriate employment practices relating to RAs or Coker Fellows.
- Retaliation against students who do not show sufficient loyalty.
Anonymity: YLS has given Jenn permission to talk to individuals (students, alums, etc.), and to record (or not) what they have to say, at whatever level of anonymity the individuals feel comfortable with. There are opportunities to aggregate accounts, to speak completely off the record, etc. Obviously, the more detail that Jenn can ultimately pass along, the more useful her report will be, but any accounts that help her get a better sense of the environment at YLS will add value. If you are interested in reaching out to her, you can set up a preliminary call just to talk about procedure, if you would like. You can also change your mind at any point about the level of anonymity at which you provide information; she has said that even for people who agree to have their name or identifying information used, she will circle back to confirm before sharing it. There is enormous flexibility here. That said, the one thing Jenn cannot offer is attorney-client privilege; if her records are ultimately subpoenaed, she could fight the subpoena, but can’t guarantee she would win.
Jenn herself: She has worked on investigations at graduate and undergraduate programs at peer schools, and she seems to recognize the complexities of, and common dynamics within, these types of environments. [Redacted] has spoken with her already and would be happy to speak with anyone who wants to know more.
Moreover, Yale Law alumni tell us that Rubenfeld’s behavior towards women was an “open secret” within the Yale Law community. The allegations of “boundary crossing” mentioned in the email have been repeated to us via anonymous emails, texts, and DMs from alumni that are known to us but do not want to go on the record until the investigation is complete. There are even public tweets which seem to speak to these matters, if you know what you are looking for.
Davis is a Title IX investigator of some note, so it’s pretty clear what the bulk of allegations are about, and given that we have reports that, “Rubenfeld apparently warned a student to avoid working for two judges: Alex Kozinski, and Brett Kavanaugh,” it is not a stretch to conclude that Kavanaugh’s office was a hostile workplace, though hopefully not quite as bad as Kosinski, whose behavior towards women led to a forced retirement.
It does appear that, in addition to the obvious pain that this is causing for bad people Kavanaugh is ……… Kavanaugh, Rubenfeld’s writings show an antediluvian attitudes toward sexual harassment and assault, and, if her book Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother is any indication, Chua makes Joan Crawford look like Barbara Billingsly, there are some positive consequences for the rest of us about all of this, which I will get into later.