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Support for Kavanaugh Shrinks, Particularly After Sexual Assault Charges

News & Analysis

One of the early selling points of the campaign to put Brett Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court was the allegedly wide support from people who knew him, especially among women and people of color. Particularly as allegations of sexual assault by Kavanaugh have emerged, however, much of that support has evaporated. For example:

  • Six Yale classmates were originally included on a statement from Kavanaugh’s lawyers that disputed the serious sexual assault charges by Deborah Ramirez. Two contacted the New Yorker a day after the statement became public, however, and asked that their names be removed, explaining that they could not dispute her claims. One of the two was Louisa Gary, who had filmed an ad in support of Kavanaugh, testified on his behalf, and was lifted up by the White House as disputing the sexual assault contention.
  • Quotes from five Yale law school professors in support of Kavanaugh were originally featured on the school’s website. One, Abbe Gluck, had her quote removed and has stated that she believes that a full review of unreleased documents and the sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh should occur.
  • Of the 65 female high school classmates who signed a statement of support after sexual assault allegations were first raised, only eight responded to media inquiries after the identification of Dr. Catherine Blasey Ford to confirm that they still support Kavanaugh. One of the 65, Renate Schroeder Dolphin, did not yet know that Kavanaugh had described himself as a “Renate alumnus” in his high school yearbook, as had a number of others. When she learned of that reference, she described the conduct as “horrible” and “hurtful.”
  • Out of 80 former Kavanaugh students at Harvard Law School who initially supported his nomination, only 18 responded to media that they still support his nomination, and two women specifically said they do not in light of the sexual assault allegations against him. One specifically called for his nomination to be withdrawn.
  • Eight members of the Harvard Black Law Students Association supposedly signed a letter supporting Kavanaugh that was read into the record at his previous hearing by Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo. Several did not actually sign the letter, and one individual wrote to the Senate Judiciary Committee to ask that his name be removed.
  • Two prominent Kavanaugh supporters, Akhil Amar and David Lat, have called for an FBI or other professional investigation of the sexual assault allegations against him. Another, Benjamin Wittes, said that Kavanaugh bears the burden of proof and should consider withdrawing his nomination.

As all these present and former Kavanaugh supporters make clear, his nomination should not go forward at least until there is a thorough nonpartisan investigation of the recent troubling sexual assault claims.