New Accusations Against Justice Brett Kavanaugh: Trustworthy or Not


Shealah Craighead

Photo Courtesy of Flickr

On Sept. 14th, 2019, “The New York Times” (NYT) released an essay based on an in-depth investigation into Deborah Ramirez’s accusations against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. This article has caused some controversy for a number of reasons. 

Republicans have jumped on the instances of seemingly botched journalism that the NYT demonstrated, but were they really so flawed? 

In a single word: yes. But, the blame isn’t all on the shoulders of the writers and editors of the NYT. 

The NYT’s first mistake was putting the essay, titled, “Brett Kavanaugh Fit In With the Privileged Kids. She Did Not,” in the Opinion section of their paper. While this is not unprecedented – NYT has put essays adapted from books in this section many times – it does bring those who already questioned the allegations to question them further. 

Yes, essays based on books are usually put in the Reviews section, but in instances where they break news, I think they should be put in a different section entirely. Putting an article like this, one in which new allegations are brought forward and new witnesses brought to the forefront of the issue, in the Opinion section of the paper downplays its importance. 

In this case, those already against the accusations were itching for a chance to undermine the accounts of the women who came forward. The NYT should have exercised more caution when dropping this article.

Another mistake that the NYT made was not including a piece of information in the article that was included in the book. That piece of information was that one of the victims of Kavanaugh’s actions did not recall the event that Max Stier, the man who brought the event to light, witnessed. People quickly found this information in the book, “The Education of Brett Kavanaugh: An Investigation,” after it was dropped Tuesday. 

As per usual, conservatives and skeptics were chomping at the bit in an effort to disprove any allegations against Kavanaugh. But, does the information disprove the other allegations? 

No, it doesn’t. Here’s why: the people who are saying that the victim does not remember the event described are friends of the victim, not the victim herself. 

Until we hear it from the horse’s mouth, we can’t know for sure if the victim doesn’t remember the event or if she just refused to comment on the issue. Unless the victim herself speaks out against Stier’s account, everything is up in the air. 

Another reason that this doesn’t mean that the rest of the allegations are false is because even if this accusation is false, that’s one false one in a sea of many that have been proven to be true. 

Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony was backed up by multiple other accounts. Deborah Ramirez’s account was the talk of Yale, according to the investigation by Robin Pogrebin and Kate Kelly, the authors of the NYT article. Both women are credible, trustworthy sources.

Despite the NYT’s mistakes, Ramirez’s account of the sexual assault deserves to be heard and added to the ever-growing list of reasons why Kavanaugh is not fit to be a Supreme Court Justice.