The Education of Brett Kavanaugh | Robin Pogrebin

Summary of: The Education of Brett Kavanaugh: An Investigation
By: Robin Pogrebin


Get a glimpse into the life and controversies surrounding Brett Kavanaugh in this summary of ‘The Education of Brett Kavanaugh’ by Robin Pogrebin. Take a journey through his early years in elite Catholic schools, where he was part of a jock-centric culture and notorious for his love of partying and drinking. Explore the accusations of sexual assault by Christine Blasey Ford and Deborah Ramirez that rocked the nation and stirred debates around his nomination to the Supreme Court. Finally, witness how Ford’s testimony tapped into a deep well of sexual trauma in the United States and ignited a new wave of empowerment for those who have faced similar experiences.

The Traditional All-Boys Catholic Schools and Its Culture

The book paints a picture of the all-boys Catholic schools that Brett Kavanaugh attended – Mater Dei and Georgetown Prep – in the 1970s. These institutions promoted a traditional form of manhood and were jock-centric. The most popular boys were often athletes who were believed to receive special treatment. Alongside this culture of violence at the school, misogyny was also pervasive with very little to no education on how to socialize with the opposite sex. Signs of this attitude can be seen in the school’s underground newspaper, where students at the nearby all-girls school were referred to as “the most worthless excuses for human females.”

Brett Kavanaugh and the Allegation of Sexual Assault

In the summer of 1982, when Brett Kavanaugh was a high school student at Georgetown Prep, he and his friends were part of the 100 Keg Club, known for their love of partying and drinking. Kavanaugh is alleged to have participated in the sexual assault of a 15-year-old girl named Christine Blasey at a house party. During the assault, Blasey claims Kavanaugh and his friend, Mark Judge, took her into a bedroom, where Kavanaugh groped her and attempted to remove her clothes. Judge also jumped on the bed twice, causing Kavanaugh and Blasey to fall off. Kavanaugh put his hand over Blasey’s mouth when she tried to call out for help. Kavanaugh and Judge were heard laughing by Blasey while they stumbled drunkenly down the stairs.

The Contrasting Paths of Blasey and Kavanaugh

Blasey endured trauma in silence, while Kavanaugh excelled academically but had a reputation for heavy drinking and alleged sexual misconduct.

Blasey struggled to cope with the traumatic experience she had at a house party and didn’t tell anyone about it for some time. In the following years, her grades suffered, and it took time before she could build herself up again. Kavanaugh, on the other hand, had a reputation for being a diligent worker, and his excellent grades in high school earned him a spot at Yale Law School.

During his time at Yale, however, Kavanaugh was known to be a heavy drinker and was often found at keg parties. While he didn’t get much recognition from his professors, he impressed his mostly male friends with his organizational skills and dedication to his studies. Kavanaugh’s drinking habits persisted, and there were allegations of another incident at a Yale party.

Blasey went on to earn a master’s in psychology and a doctorate in philosophy and psychology. Meanwhile, Kavanaugh’s trajectory led him to the public sector, where he worked as a circuit judge for the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. The paths of Blasey and Kavanaugh couldn’t have been more different: one experienced trauma in silence, while the other had a reputation for heavy drinking and alleged sexual misconduct.

Kavanaugh Accused of Misconduct at Yale

Kavanaugh’s alleged misconduct involving classmate Deborah Ramirez at a Yale keg party is discussed. Ramirez recalled Kavanaugh thrusting his penis in her face while heavily intoxicated during a drinking game. Despite feeling ashamed, word of the incident spread around school, and two classmates corroborate Ramirez’s account. The incident left Ramirez feeling shattered and questioning her reputation. Kavanaugh has denied the allegations.

Brett Kavanaugh’s Career Journey

A glimpse into Brett Kavanaugh’s career path, from a clerk for Judge Alex Kozinski to a federal judge to controversial Supreme Court nominee under President Trump’s administration.

Brett Kavanaugh’s career journey has been a rollercoaster ride with its highs and lows. Kavanaugh started his career as a summer associate for various law firms during his time as a graduate student at Yale Law School. He then secured a clerkship position with Judge Alex Kozinski, a well-respected judge who later quit his profession after multiple allegations of sexual harassment surfaced against him.

Kavanaugh shot to fame in the 1990s when he became an integral member of the team behind lawyer Ken Starr during the impeachment case against President Bill Clinton. He was passionate about holding Clinton accountable for his moral failure and encouraged Starr to be aggressive in his prosecution. He later became a staff member in George W. Bush’s White House counsel’s office and transitioned to the position of assistant to the president and staff secretary.

After serving in the White House, Kavanaugh was appointed as a federal judge to the DC Circuit courts in 2006. During his 12 years in the position, he established himself as a moderate conservative judge, known for ruling along conservative lines but typically making pragmatic decisions. However, when he was nominated for the Supreme Court in 2018 to replace retiring Justice Kennedy, Kavanaugh’s path to confirmation was contentious due to the deep political divisions in the US.

His nomination came after the 2016 presidential election, which was surrounded by controversy over Russian interference and allegations of collusion. In response, Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blocked President Obama’s nomination of Judge Merrick Garland as a replacement for the late Justice Antonin Scalia. Ultimately, President Trump nominated Judge Neil Gorsuch, who was narrowly confirmed. Kavanaugh’s nomination was similarly fraught, given the current political climate and the possibility of high-stakes debates around issues like abortion rights coming before the Supreme Court under his tenure.

Despite the challenges, Kavanaugh was confirmed as a Supreme Court Justice and continues to serve on the bench. His career has been marked by highs and lows, controversy and acclaim, making him a polarizing figure in modern American politics.

The Kavanaugh Appointment Controversy

In July 2018, when Brett Kavanaugh was nominated for a position on the Supreme Court, Christine Blasey Ford decided to come forward with her allegation of sexual assault against him. She contacted her local state representative, who put her in touch with California Senator Diane Feinstein, and retained a pro bono lawyer, Debra Katz. Ford’s story eventually leaked to the press in mid-September, causing a huge uproar. Meanwhile, news of the incident involving Deborah Ramirez was also reaching some senators. Senator Feinstein admitted to having received a written statement regarding the high school incident, but she kept it from going public due to Ford’s request for anonymity, which ignited a contentious political battle.

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