Supreme Court Justice and accused sexual predator Brett Kavanaugh is embroiled in yet another allegation of sexual misconduct that the limited and constrained FBI investigation into him last year failed to unearth.
On Sunday, September 15, the New York Times published an excerpt from the upcoming book The Education of Brett Kavanaugh: An Investigation that details new allegations of sexual misconduct against him. In the book, Times reporters Robin Pogrebin and Kate Kelly detailed interviews with former Yale students who said that Kavanaugh exposed himself to two female classmates on two separate occasions: During one occasion, he allegedly forced his penis into the face of his female classmate Deborah Ramirez and forced her to touch it as she attempted to get away from him; during the second, he allegedly forced his penis into a different female classmate’s hand, per an eyewitness. (In an update to its story, the Times later noted that the woman “declined to be interviewed and friends say she does not remember the episode.") Kavanaugh declined to be interviewed, but denied the claims.
This comes just a year after President Donald Trump nominated Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, which is a lifetime appointment. During the course of his confirmation, multiple women publicly accused him of sexual misconduct, including Christine Blasey Ford who said he pinned her down, covered her mouth, and groped her during a party in high school. The immediate FBI investigation — which was incredibly limited — found insufficient evidence to support the crimes. The Times investigation also found that the FBI declined to follow up on any of the at least 25 witnesses Ramirez provided to confirm her allegation.
In response, Democratic legislators, presidential candidates, and activists alike have levied calls for his impeachment . Former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julián Castro, Former Texas Congressman Beto O’Rourke, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, New Jersey Senator Cory Booker, California Senator Kamala Harris, and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren all called for his impeachment.
However, while other Democratic presidential candidates condemned the allegations, they also stopped short of calling for Kavanaugh’s impeachment. Former Vice President Joe Biden said the new allegations were “profoundly troubling” and called for a new FBI investigation into “whether the Trump Administration and Senate Republicans pressured the F.B.I. to ignore evidence,” according to Biden’s statement shared on Twitter by Axois’s Alex McCammond. On ABC News’ This Week with George Stephanopoulos on Sunday, Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar similarly called the process of Kavanaugh’s confirmation a “sham” but didn’t quite call for impeachment. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, on the other hand, tweeted that he supports “any appropriate constitutional mechanism to hold [Kavanaugh] accountable.” One of those mechanisms could be impeachment proceedings, but it’s unclear if that’s what Sander’s was referring to. Tom Steyer, who recently qualified for the fourth primary debate, also called for an investigation into the allegations.
Impeaching a Supreme Court justice would require approval by a majority of the House and two-thirds of the Senate — so it’s unlikely that the Republican-led Congress would pass such a measure. The last time a Supreme Court justice went through impeachment proceedings was more than two centuries ago, in 1804, when the House of Representatives voted to impeach Associate Justice Samuel Chase because House Republicans didn’t agree with many of his decisions on politically-charged trials, according to the Federal Judicial Center. Chase argued that it wasn’t a good enough reason for impeachment because it did not meet the “high crimes and misdemeanors” standard for the conviction of a federal judge. He was right, apparently, and after a 22-day trial was acquitted by the Senate. In the 200 years since then, just eight federal judges have been impeached, none of whom are members of the SCOTUS.
Republican leaders have since come to Kavanaugh’s defense. On Twitter, President Donald Trump accused news outlets of trying to pressure the Justice to vote more liberally and then asked for the Department of Justice to “come to his rescue.” At publish time, it is still unclear what that means. Trump is joined by the likes of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Texas Senator Ted Cruz. And next month, the Justice Department with present the team of lawyers who supported Kavanaugh’s confirmation with the prestigious Attorney General’s Award for Distinguished Service, the Times reported. The award is typically given to teams who work on prosecution cases.