Opinion: What makes a fair trial in the Kavanaugh allegations

Posted on Sep 26 2018 - 5:50am by Lauren Moses

On Sunday another wrench was thrown into Circuit Judge Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court hearing. New allegations of sexual misconduct by the nominee have surfaced. In a story published by The New Yorker, Deborah Ramirez, a fellow Yale classmate of Kavanaugh, accuses Kavanaugh of indecently exposing himself to her at a party. Though the accusations are serious, the evidence just does not add up.

Both The New Yorker and The New York Times have published pieces about the accusations, posting findings and evidence from their investigative journalism. But the accusations made 35 years after the fact may be too late.

In the original piece published by The New Yorker, there are no witnesses to corroborate Ramirez’s accusation. Those that do speak in support of her testimony were only able to say that they remember hearing about the incident. Richard Oh and Mark Krasberg, both classmates of Ramirez and Kavanaugh, said that they remember hearing about the incident; however, neither could identify those who were a part of the incident. A third classmate, who remained unidentified in the article, spouts a “he said, she said” narrative, stating that another student had told him about the incident around the time it had occurred. Even Ramirez’s best friend and confidant during their college years was contacted about the story and stated that she had never heard of this incident until now.

Close friends of Kavanaugh also came forward in the article to defend the character of the Supreme Court nominee. Dan Murphy, in his statements to The New Yorker, said of himself and his friends, “We can say with confidence that if the incident Debbie alleges ever occurred, we would have seen or heard about it — and we did not.”

The New York Times ran a story similar to that of The New Yorker, contacting classmates of Ramirez and Kavanaugh to try to obtain the full story. However, it found no one with “firsthand knowledge” of the incident. The article goes on to say that Ramirez also contacted her fellow Yale classmates and, in talking with them, said she could not be certain it was Kavanaugh who exposed himself to her.

Clearly, there is a lack of evidence in the case that Ramirez is trying to make against Kavanaugh. While her story should be told, the Senate Judiciary Committee should ensure that these serious allegations are properly proven. Not one person that The New Yorker or The New York Times talked to was able to state that, without a doubt, it was Kavanaugh who exposed himself to Ramirez or that the event happened.

The lack of firsthand evidence points to a possibly politically charged allegation. The New Yorker reports in the same article accusing Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct that Ramirez is a registered Democrat and “works toward human rights, social justice, and social change.” All of these are noble causes, but this is a serious allegation with serious consequences, if proven true.

The Senate Judiciary Committee should be thorough in its investigation of witnesses. Ramirez should testify and present a case against Kavanaugh. But until a fair trial has occurred, Kavanaugh’s name should not be marred.


Lauren Moses is sophomore accounting and political science major from Dallas.