As a woman and an attorney, I have been disturbed by Brett Kavanaugh supporters’ willful blindness to evidence that corroborates his accusers’ claims. While I will not be able to discuss every piece of evidence that the Republican leadership seemingly ignored, I would like to highlight some information I believe could have corroborated the sexual aggression accusations against Kavanaugh—information which American politicians ignored in their unquenchable thirst for power.
First, in her speech explaining her vote, Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) failed to acknowledge the attempts Dr. Christine Blasey Ford made to provide supporting evidence to the Senate and FBI. For example, Dr. Ford attempted to provide the names of at least seven corroborating witnesses, including her husband and three friends, but the FBI did not interview them. Dr. Ford was also willing to provide potentially corroborative evidence, such as her medical records and information related to her polygraph, but because the FBI did not interview her, she was unable to provide that information to the Bureau.
Moreover, one of the individuals Dr. Ford mentioned as being present at the gathering, Leland Keyser, said she believes Dr. Ford, and the people Dr. Ford said were at the party did not deny that the party or assault happened. It makes sense that such individuals would not remember the gathering. While the gathering was memorable for Dr. Ford because she believes Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her that night, the party was likely unmemorable for the other people there, especially 36 years later, because nothing worth remembering happened to them. Moreover, as Mark Judge, Kavanaugh’s Georgetown Prep friend and alleged witness to the assault, recounted in his memoir, he would often get so drunk in high school that he could not remember what he did or observed. This points to the conclusion that Judge could have been so intoxicated the night of the alleged assault, that he has no memory of it.
Second, Republican leadership failed to acknowledge and thoroughly investigate corroborating evidence that Deborah Ramirez attempted to provide to the FBI. Ramirez accused Kavanaugh of exposing himself to her without her consent while they were at a party at Yale. Ramirez provided the FBI with the names of numerous potential corroborating witnesses, but it appears that the FBI did not interview them. For example, Kenneth Appold stated publicly that, while he did not personally witness the alleged incident, he remembers an eye witness telling him about it within a couple days after it happened, and Appold was positive that the eye witness said the person who exposed himself to Ramirez was Kavanaugh. Appold said the FBI did not interview him, even though he contacted them. Additionally, some of Kavanaugh’s Yale classmates have publicly stated that they believe Kavanaugh lied under oath about whether he ever drank to the point of “blacking out” and about the definitions of words in his yearbook. One of Kavanaugh’s freshman year roommates said he believes Ramirez and thinks “Kavanaugh has shown contempt for the truth.”
To be clear, I do not believe excessive drinking during adolescence should be an automatic bar to becoming a Supreme Court Justice. The problem is that it appears likely that Kavanaugh lied under oath about the extent of his drinking and the meaning of sex-related terms in his yearbook, and perjury should be an automatic bar to confirmation on the Supreme Court. Moreover, Kavanaugh had a motive to lie about whether he ever had memory lapses due to intoxication because, if he did forget events because of drinking too much, it would mean it is possible he did sexually assault Dr. Ford but has no memory of it. Also, if Kavanaugh admitted that he had blacked out from drinking, it could have supported Dr. Ford’s claim that he was very drunk when he assaulted her.
Senator Collins and Kavanaugh’s supporters cannot have their cake and eat it too. You cannot claim, on the one hand, that no corroborating evidence exists, but on the other, refuse to open the door when the evidence comes a-knocking. While I have doubts that anything meaningful will be done at this point, I hope our country’s leaders will eventually reach a place where truth is more important to them than power.
Nisha Ajmani is a member of the class of 2006.