On Sunday, Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s team announced they would provide the nominee’s high school calendars from 1982, in connection with Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s allegations that he sexually assaulted her in that year. The calendars suggest Kavanaugh was out of town around the time of the incident, The New York Times reported. Kavanaugh has categorically denied the accusation, and his being out of town would bolster that denial.
“The calendars show, according to the person working for his confirmation, that he was out of town much of the summer at the beach or away with his parents,” the Times‘ Peter Baker reported. “When he was at home, the calendars list his basketball games, movie outings, football workouts and college interviews. A few parties are mentioned but include names of friends other than those identified by Dr. Blasey [Ford].”
Both Kavanaugh and Ford will testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday, after a tense week of Democrat stall tactics and odd negotiations. Senate Republicans had scheduled a hearing for Monday, but Ford’s lawyers first demanded an FBI investigation — out of the question, as advice and consent for Supreme Court seats are the purview of the Senate, not the executive branch — and then suggested that Ford was too claustrophobic to fly due to the alleged assault.
Ford accused Kavanaugh of attempted rape at a booze-soaked party in the summer of 1982, at an imprecise time and location. She claimed that Kavanaugh and his alleged accomplice were “stumbling drunk” but she was almost entirely sober. She also named three additional witnesses, each of whom has denied knowing any such party which Kavanaugh attended.
As for the calendars, “all of this just goes to further bolster the ever-increasing quantities of evidence that just keep pointing to the fact that Kavanaugh did not do this,” Carrie Severino, chief counsel at the Judicial Crisis Network, told PJ Media on Sunday. “We have every single person alleged to have been at this party saying it didn’t happen.”
“The more digging you do, the less the story adds up,” Severino argued, noting that each of the testimonies to the Senate Judiciary Committee come with the penalty of felony if proven false. “Now you’ve got his contemporaneous calendars that suggest he was not even in D.C. and Maryland much during the relevant summer.”
Severino also noted, citing the Times report, that there are “parties listed on the calendar, but not any that match the description. It seems to me that the evidence clearly points to the fact that Brett Kavanaugh is not involved here.”
Given both the delay tactics and the denials of each alleged witness, any and all evidence that could shine any light on this allegation should be welcome. Kavanaugh’s team has clarified that the calendars “do not disprove Dr. Blasey [Ford]’s allegations.” The team will argue, however, that “the calendars provide no corroboration for her account of a small gathering at a house where he allegedly pinned her to a bed and tried to remove her clothing.”
When the Times reported that the calendars would be sent to the Senate Judiciary Committee, liberal journalists — and even some conservatives — immediately started mocking the idea that Kavanaugh would have kept such calendars or that the calendars could help bolster his categorical denial.
“You mean to tell me a teenage boy didn’t write ‘get drunk at party and attempt to sexually assault girl’ on a calendar?” Jon Passantino, Los Angeles bureau chief for BuzzFeed News, tweeted.
“Yeah I definitely made sure to put all the underage drinking parties I attended into my high school calendar. This is absurd,” tweeted feminist activist Jessica Valenti.
“I don’t know if the Reagan era adolescent diarist did the crime or not, but the idea that the hard drinking teen’s daily calendar entires are at all representative of how that teen spent his days is hilarious,” Ben Dreyfuss, editorial director at Mother Jones, chimed in.
Washington Post columnist Megan McArdle tweeted, “I am in awe of the discovery that anyone kept a calendar of their high school years, and then kept the calendar.”
I am in awe of the discovery that anyone kept a calendar of their high school years, and then kept the calendar. https://t.co/XqNU4XcGrI
— Megan McArdle (@asymmetricinfo) September 23, 2018
Ironically, even the conservative opinion editor at the New York Post, Seth Mandel, mocked the idea. “Everybody’s making fun of the idea that Kavanaugh as a high school kid would keep keggers on a calendar. But that seems unfair. Obviously his secretary kept the calendar,” he tweeted, ironically.
Everybody's making fun of the idea that Kavanaugh as a high school kid would keep keggers on a calendar. But that seems unfair. Obviously his secretary kept the calendar.
— Seth Mandel (@SethAMandel) September 23, 2018
These tweets suggest that each of these columnists and editorial directors did not bother to read the third paragraph of The New York Times article, which clearly states that the calendars show Kavanaugh was “out of town for much of the summer,” a basic detail that makes much more sense as a defense than combing through a calendar saying, “Look, it doesn’t have ‘sexual assault’ scheduled for Thursday!”
The existence of parties in the calendar also suggests that Kavanaugh is the type of person who would have recorded such an event, although the absence of this particular alleged party does not categorically prove Kavanaugh was not there. The judge’s team is not claiming that it does.
Furthermore, high school calendars are far from unheard of. My experience may not be representative — I went to high school in the late 2000s, and I kept an admittedly imperfect calendar for classes, homework, activities, and travel — but others chimed in with their own experiences, suggesting that the existence of these calendars should not strike people as absurd.
Ken Barnes, a Forbes contributor and executive director of Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse, recalled his experience. “I kept a detailed calendar in high school,” Barnes tweeted. “It was a necessity with sports, two jobs, band, drumline, student council, church activities, clubs, school board, and exams. Three years ago my mom gave me my original 1988 commencement speech, does she have the calendar?”
I kept a detailed calendar in high school. It was a necessity with sports, two jobs, band, drumline, student council, church activities, clubs, school board, and exams. Three years ago my mom gave me my original 1988 commencement speech, does she have the calendar? #Kavanaugh pic.twitter.com/EPaGF9wQPT
— Ken Barnes (@kenjbarnes1) September 23, 2018
Small business advocate Carol Roth tweeted a picture of her old high school calendars.
Add me to the nerdy/weirdo club hat has my calendars from high school (along w a giant bag of handwritten notes that my friends and I passed between classes) pic.twitter.com/Btlt8IPUmf
— Carol Roth (@caroljsroth) September 23, 2018
Brooklyn College history professor K.C. Johnson argued that “while calendars in the end are unlikely to be relevant one way or other, what if they showed Kavanaugh not in town on the night of the alleged incident? Would at the least be somewhat helpful to his credibility.”
And while calendars in the end are unlikely to be relevant one way or other, what if they showed Kavanaugh not in town on the night of the alleged incident? Would at the least be somewhat helpful to his credibility.
— KC Johnson (@kcjohnson9) September 23, 2018
In a case like this, any evidence is helpful. Sadly, Ford has not specified the date — or even the month — of the alleged assault, saying only that it occurred in “the summer of 1982.” Any evidence that Kavanaugh was likely out of town at the time in question would certainly be pertinent to the situation. Indeed, Peter Baker’s article plainly suggests that just such evidence exists in the calendars.
It is a disgrace that none of these upstanding editors seem to be able to read to the third paragraph of the Times article in question. Instead, they rushed to mock the very idea that calendars could be relevant.
Sadly, this echoes the behavior of Democrats throughout the process. Rather than help the Senate Judiciary Committee investigate the allegation, Democrats have stated their immediate belief in Ford’s account, and attempted to stall and block the process. “I think it’s been absolutely shameful,” Severino told PJ Media, slamming the Democrats’ behavior.
The mocking of potential evidence also illustrates the tragedy of modern partisan journalism. Often, journalists who should know better rush to judgment on important issues because they think they already know the story. (I am by no means innocent of this.) Whether it comes to tragic police shootings or accusations of sexual assault, the real story is often much murkier than it first appears. I would encourage my colleagues in the media to hesitate before mocking potential evidence — and to investigate claims before they dismiss them.
Follow the author of this article on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.