Brett Kavanaugh Supreme Court Nomination
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The Brett Kavanaugh Supreme Court Nomination began in July 2018 with the selection of Judge Kavanaugh as the replacement for Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, following his retirement, by United States President Donald Trump. The nomination and subsequent confirmation hearings were the center of various controversies, particularly regarding a sexual misconduct allegation made toward Kavanaugh by a high school classmate.
On July 2nd, 2018, President Trump held private interviews with Kavanaugh, along with three other U.S. Court of Appeals judges. One week later, on July 9th, President Trump announced that he would nominating Kavanaugh for the open seat left vacant by Justice Kennedy.
Reaction to Nomination
The nomination of Kavanaugh was largely split along party lines between democrats and republicans. The verified GOP Twitter account tweeted, "Praise is pouring in for Judge Brett Kavanaugh, @realDonaldTrump’s nominee for #SCOTUS ⬇️
Sen. Mike Lee: 'I know him to be a smart and fair judge, one of the most admired appellate judges in the country.'" The tweet (shown below, left) received more than 600 retweets and 1,800 likes in three months.
Others questioned Kavanaugh's beliefs, particularly about his opinion on whether or not presidents can be indicted for a crime, which Kavanaugh has argued against in the past. Some believed this could create a conflict because the Russia investigation, in which President Trump is involved, could be heard before the Supreme Court (shown below, center).
Some questioned whether Kavanaugh's confirmation to the Supreme Court could threaten abortion rights. CNN Legal Analyst Renato Mariotti tweeted, "Remember the undocumented pregnant minor who was denied access to an abortion? Brett Kavanaugh was in the minority of judges who voted against giving her access to an abortion. He will vote to overturn Roe v. Wade." The tweet (shown below, right) received more than 12,000 retweets and 20,000 likes in three months.
I Don't Know Kavanaugh the Man
On July 10th, 2018, the Washington Post published an article written by Julie O'Brien, a neighbor of Trump's Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. O'Brien's daughter is classmates with one of Kavanaugh's. The article, titled "I don’t know Kavanaugh the judge. But Kavanaugh the carpool dad is one great guy" is meant to be a glowing testament to Kavanaugh's moral character, qualifications as a judge aside.
After the article was posted, many Twitter users mocked it for being irrelevant to the debate surrounding Trump's pick of Kavanaugh to replace retiring justice Anthony Kennedy. Twitter user @Annehelen pointed out it didn't matter how nice a Supreme Court nominee was in a car pool, gaining over 40 retweets and 300 likes (shown below, left). MSNBC pundit Chris Hayes stated "I can't believe this got published," gaining over 1,200 retweets (shown below, right).
On September 4th, 2018, the Senate Judiciary Committee held the first hearing for the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
Zina Bash White Power Sign Controversy
Zina Bash White Power Sign Controversy refers to an online controversy surrounding a conspiracy theory accusing Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's staff member Zina Bash of making a "white power" hand gesture during his confirmation hearing in early September 2018.
On September 4th, 2018, footage of Bash seated behind Kavanaugh at the hearing began circulating on Twitter, with some accusing her of intentionally making a "white power" gesture with her hand (shown below). In particular, tweets by surgeon Eugene Gu and veteran Keith R. Dumas gathered upwards of 13,400 and 17,300 retweets respectively within 24 hours. Additionally, activist Amy Siskind tweeted "Kavanaugh’s assistant Zina Bash giving the white power sign right behind him during the hearing? This alone should be disqualify!" The tweet was subsequently deleted.
Sexual Misconduct Controversy
On July 30th, 2018, Professor Christine Blasey Ford wrote a confidential letter to Senator Diane Feinstein accusing Kavanaugh of sexual assault when Ford and Kavanaugh were high school classmates. The letter wrote:
"Kavanaugh physically pushed me into a bedroom as I was headed for a bathroom up a short stair well from the living room. They locked the door and played loud music precluding any successful attempt to yell for help.
Kavanaugh was on top of me while laughing with REDACTED, who periodically jumped onto Kavanaugh. They both laughed as Kavanaugh tried to disrobe me in their highly inebriated state. With Kavanaugh's hand over my mouth I feared he may inadvertently kill me.
On September 14th, The New Yorker published that the confidential letter had circulated throughout Washington and Senate Democrats had referred the complaint to the FBI. In the story, Kavanaugh denied the allegations. He said, "I categorically and unequivocally deny this allegation. I did not do this back in high school or at any time."
That day, in a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee, more than 65 women defended Kavanaugh. It read, in part, "We are women who have known Brett Kavanaugh for more than 35 years and knew him while he attended high school between 1979 and 1983. For the entire time we have known Brett Kavanaugh, he has behaved honorably and treated women with respect."
On September 16th, Ford came forward as the writer of the letter in an interview with the Washington Post. That day, two republican senators joined democrats in urging the vote be delayed until the woman testified in court.
Following the publication, Twitter user @JuddLegum tweeted, "1. Kavanaugh's accuser is now on the record: Her name is Christine Blasey Ford 2. Ford has offered a detailed account of sexual assault by Kavanaugh 3. Ford's account corroborated by therapists notes from 2012 4. Ford passed a polygraph test by former FBI agent." The tweet (shown below, left) received more than 18,000 retweets and 49,000 likes in 24 hours.
The announcement also slowed down the once-thought quick confirmation of Kavanaugh as republican senators began calling for delays as well. Republican Senator Susan Collins tweeted, "Professor Ford and Judge Kavanaugh should both testify under oath before the Judiciary Committee." The tweet (shown below, right) received more than 6,500 retweets and 27,000 likes in 24 hours.
The following day, Ford's attorney Debra Katz went on CBS This Morning and announced that she her client would be willing to testify.
Ed Whelan's Kavanaugh Doppelgänger Conspiracy Theory
Following Ford's accusation, various members of the conservative media had asserted that perhaps Ford was mistaken. On September 18th, Kathleen Parker wrote for the Washington Post, "Is there a Kavanaugh doppelgänger?"
On September 20th, 2018, Ed Whelan, the president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center think and a former law clerk to Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, tweeted an unsubstantiated conspiracy theory, asserting that Christine Blasey Ford had been assaulted not by Judge Kavanaugh, but another classmate who he says resembles Kavanaugh. In the post, he shared Google maps that detail the distances between the victim, alleged assailant and the witnesses homes in relation to the house where the crime allegedly took place. He also posted floor plans and photographs of the house and yearbook photographs of Kavanaugh and Whelan's suspect (tweets, shown below).
The posts were widely criticized among people online, democrats and republicans. CNN's Jake Tapper tweeted, "A prominent DC conservative, trying to promote an alternate theory that someone else (and not Kavanaugh) may have sexually assaulted Professor Ford, named that person, showed photographs suggesting Ford confused the two and more. This is stunningly irresponsible." The tweet received more than 9,700 retweets and 41,000 likes in 24 hours (shown below).
The following day, Whelan retracted his statement and deleted his tweets. He wrote, "I made an appalling and inexcusable mistake of judgment in posting the tweet thread in a way that identified Kavanaugh's Georgetown Prep classmate. I take full responsibility for that mistake, and I deeply apologize for it. I realize that does not undo the mistake." The tweet received more than 1,900 retweets, 5,000 likes and 9,000 comments.
Dr. Ford's Testimony
On September 27th, 2018, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee. In her opening statement, she described the alleged assault (video below). She said:
"When I got to the small gathering, people were drinking beer in a small living room on the first floor of the house. I drank one beer that evening. Brett and Mark were visibly drunk. Early in the evening, I went up a narrow set of stairs leading from the living room to a second floor to use the bathroom. When I got to the top of the stairs, I was pushed from behind into a bedroom. I couldn't see who pushed me. Brett and Mark came into the bedroom and locked the door behind them. There was music already playing in the bedroom. It was turned up louder by either Brett or Mark once we were in the room. I was pushed onto the bed and Brett got on top of me. He began running his hands over my body and grinding his hips into me. I yelled, hoping someone downstairs might hear me, and tried to get away from him, but his weight was heavy. Brett groped me and tried to take off my clothes. He had a hard time because he was so drunk, and because I was wearing a one-piece bathing suit under my clothes. I believed he was going to rape me. I tried to yell for help. When I did, Brett put his hand over my mouth to stop me from screaming. This was what terrified me the most, and has had the most lasting impact on my life. It was hard for me to breathe, and I thought that Brett was accidentally going to kill me. Both Brett and Mark were drunkenly laughing during the attack. They both seemed to be having a good time. Mark was urging Brett on, although at times he told Brett to stop. A couple of times I made eye contact with Mark and thought he might try to help me, but he did not."
Many reacted to Ford's testimony with compassion. Washington Post media columnist Margaret Sullivan tweeted, "I can't imagine how many thousands of women, around the world, are in tears as they listen to Christine Blasey Ford's voice cracking." The tweet received more than 1,000 retweets and 5,000 likes in 24 hours (shown below, left).
Others were dismayed by the questioning and descriptions of Dr. Ford, particularly Senator Orin Hatch referring to her as "attractive." Reporter Kate Irby tweeted, "Hatch just called Ford an 'attractive witness.' Asked to elaborate what he meant, he said 'she’s pleasing.'" The tweet received more than 6,000 retweets and 10,000 likes in 24 hours (shown below, center).
President Trump's son, Donald Trump, Jr, cast doubt on the testimony, specifically when Ford said that she had a fear of flying. He tweeted, "I’m no psychology professor but it does seem weird to me that someone could have a selective fear of flying. Can’t do it to testify but for vacation, well it’s not a problem at all." The tweet received more than 8,000 retweets and 28,000 likes in 24 hours.
Kavanaugh continued to deny the allegations in his testimony. In his opening testimony, he said, "My family and my name have been totally and permanently destroyed by vicious and false additional accusations" (shown below).
Female Attendee Reaction Images
During Kavanaugh's testimony, people online shared an image of how the women seated behind Kavanaugh were reacting. Many inferred that there facial expressions were grimaces of disgust toward Kavanaugh (examples below).
Women For Kavanaugh
On September 25th, 2018, the Facebook group Young Women for America at Liberty University posted an event entitled "DC Trip to Support Judge Kavanaugh." The group announced their intentions to bring women form the University to Washington, D.C. for the "i Stand With Brett" rally, an pro-Kavanaugh event.
That day, Right Wing Watch reporter Jared Holt tweeted a picture of the bus, which featured a large image on the side that a featured the slogan "Women For Kavanaugh" (shown below).
As the crowds gathered for the hearing, reporters began posting images of women wearing the "Women For Kavanaugh" shirts (shown below, left). However, a photograph of a man wearing the shirt also grew in popularity. Twitter user @MonicaCKlein tweeted the photograph with the caption, "Meet the Women for Kavanaugh." The post received more than 3,000 retweet and 16,000 likes in 24 hours.
Alyssa Milano Conspiracy Theory
During the hearing, some on Twitter noticed the appearance of actor and activist Alyssa Milano in the hearing using a phone, despite phones being barred. Twitter user @Fuctupmind tweeted a video made by Milano and the caption, "Someone explain to me why Alyssa Milano was allowed to record this footage of the Brett Kavanaugh hearing today? This footage was directly from her device and she was told by security to shut it off. Is it a violation to record in a hearing room, even though it's an open one?" The tweet received more than 4,100 retweets and 5,100 likes in 24 hours.
Someone explain to me why Alyssa Milano was allowed to record this footage of the Brett Kavanaugh hearing today?— Mike (@Fuctupmind) September 27, 2018
This footage was directly from her device and she was told by security to shut it off.
Is it a violation to record in a hearing room, even though it's an open one? pic.twitter.com/zkxdtn8d0y
Twitter user @ThomasWictor responded by posting a lengthy conspiracy theory, which alleges that Milano, a guest of Senator Diane Feinstein, was attending the hearing to help assassinate Kavanaugh. He believes that Milano was "showing someone the layout and the distances," and after she created a distraction, "SOMEBODY ELSE would do something." The post received more than 3,300 retweets and 3,900 likes in 24 hours (excerpts below).
Following the hearing, key vote from Senate Judiciary Committee member Jeff Flake became the subject of much interest. On September 28th, Flake announced that he would be voting for Kavanaugh.
That day, CNN tweeted, a video of Flake being confronted by a woman in an elevator. She said, "That’s what you’re telling all women in America, that they don’t matter. They should just keep it to themselves because if they have told the truth you’re just going to help that man to power anyway." The tweet received more than 21,000 retweets, 43,000 likes and 2.3 million views.
Women confront Sen. Jeff Flake after he says he'll vote yes to Kavanuagh: “That’s what you’re telling all women in America, that they don’t matter. They should just keep it to themselves because if they have told the truth you’re just going to help that man to power anyway.” pic.twitter.com/T7fSpyT69E— CNN (@CNN) September 28, 2018
The vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee moved forward along party lines, with Republican Senators voting 11-10, moving the vote to Senate. However, Flake, as well as Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski announced that they would not vote to confirm Kavanaugh in the senate without the FBI background investigation, which was agreed upon.
On October 5th, Senators Susan Collins and Joe Manchin announced that they would vote to confirm Kavanaugh, all but ensuring his confirmation. That day, Collins delivered a speech as to why she would be voting to confirm the judge (video below).
Kavanaugh was voted to confirm Kavanaugh in a 50-48 votes. He was sworn in on October 6th as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court by Chief Justice John Roberts.
On September 23rd, The New Yorker reported a second allegation of sexual misconduct against Brett Kavanaugh. A classmate of Kavanaugh's at Yale between 1983 and 1984, Deborah Ramirez claims that Kavanaugh exposed his penis to her at a party in college.
The report said:
A third male student then exposed himself to her. “I remember a penis being in front of my face,” she said. “I knew that’s not what I wanted, even in that state of mind.” She recalled remarking, “That’s not a real penis,” and the other students laughing at her confusion and taunting her, one encouraging her to “kiss it.” She said that she pushed the person away, touching it in the process. Ramirez, who was raised a devout Catholic, in Connecticut, said that she was shaken. “I wasn’t going to touch a penis until I was married,” she said. “I was embarrassed and ashamed and humiliated.” She remembers Kavanaugh standing to her right and laughing, pulling up his pants. “Brett was laughing,” she said. “I can still see his face, and his hips coming forward, like when you pull up your pants.” She recalled another male student shouting about the incident. “Somebody yelled down the hall, ‘Brett Kavanaugh just put his penis in Debbie’s face,’ ” she said. “It was his full name. I don’t think it was just ‘Brett.’ And I remember hearing and being mortified that this was out there.”
And yet, after several days of considering the matter carefully, she said, “I’m confident about the pants coming up, and I’m confident about Brett being there.” Ramirez said that what has stayed with her most forcefully is the memory of laughter at her expense from Kavanaugh and the other students. “It was kind of a joke,” she recalled. “And now it’s clear to me it wasn’t a joke.”
In response the allegations, Kavanaugh wrote in a statement:
This alleged event from 35 years ago did not happen. The people who knew me then know that this did not happen, and have said so. This is a smear, plain and simple. I look forward to testifying on Thursday about the truth, and defending my good name--and the reputation for character and integrity I have spent a lifetime building--against these last-minute allegations.
On September 23rd, Kavanaugh said that he would be releasing calendars from the summer of 1982 to the Senate Judiciary Committee. The calendars, he says, do not include the party at which Christine Blasey Ford alleges Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her. The calendar does include basketball games, trips to the movies, exercising and more.
Following the announcement, people online mocked the idea that Kavanaugh had the calendars but did not release them when the allegations were first lodged. Sirius XM political analyst Zerline Maxwell tweeted, "If Kavanaugh had the calendar all along he would’ve told us on day one. Additionally who put parties on their calendar at age 17? This whole thing looks like a charade vs dr. Ford’s methodical steps to corroborate her story." The tweet (shown below, left) received more than 1,500 retweets and 5,900 likes in 24 hours.
Others mocked Kavanaugh's personality for both keeping calendar and the idea tat he would keep a note about the alleged sexual assault (examples below, center and right).
On September 26th, the Senate Judiciary Committee released the calendars to the public. That day, CNN's Jake Tapper tweeted the calendars, which received more than 1,200 retweets and 2,400 likes in 24 hours (shown below).
Following the release of the calendars, people noted and joked about the presence of "Beach Week," an official holiday in the Washington, D.C.-area in which graduating seniors and high school students engaged in behavior that included excessive drinking and sexual activity.
Atlantic writer Natasha Bertrand tweeted, "I distinctly remember being at a Beach Week party with my then-boyfriend when it dawned on us that there was a drunk girl in a room down the hall, and boys were ‘lining up’ to go in…it happened often enough that we had a term. We didn’t call it rape." The tweet received more than 4,000 retweets and 5,900 likes in 24 hours.
Twitter user @grmarting tweeted, "this page from Kavanaugh's calendar looks like the cover to a seven-inch by some Pavement wannabe band called Beach Week." The tweet received more than 950 retweets and 5,500 likes in 24 hours.
Others questioned what the inclusion of "Beach Week" contradicted his character. Twitter user @JoshDorner tweeted, "From the yearbook: 'Beach Week Ralph Club – Biggest Contributor.' But he never drank to excess or illegally? Not sure how this is at all meant to be exculpatory or back up rather than contradict the choir boy claim" (shown below, right).
On September 26th, 2018, Attorney Michael Anvenatti, the lawyer who also represented Stormy Daniels in her various legal disputes with President Trump, tweeted, "Below is my correspondence to Mr. Davis of moments ago, together with a sworn declaration from my client. We demand an immediate FBI investigation into the allegations. Under no circumstances should Brett Kavanaugh be confirmed absent a full and complete investigation." The post received more than 13,000 retweets and 21,000 likes in 24 hours (shown below).
The declaration made by Julie Swetnick, a graduate of Gaithersburg High School, alleges that she attended parties with Brett Kavanaugh and Kavanaugh's friend Mark Judge between 1980 and 1981. During that time, she says that she witnessed Kavanaugh "drink excessively" and "engage in abusive and physically aggressive behavior toward girls, including pressing girls against him without their consent, 'grinding' against girls, and attempting to remove or shift girls' clothing to expose private body parts. She also attests to seeing Kavanaugh's behavior during the unofficial holiday of "Beach Week."
Additionally, she writes, under penalty of perjury, "During the years 1981-92, I became aware of efforts by Mark Judge, Brett Kavanaugh and others to 'spike' the 'punch' at house parties I attended with drugs and/or grain alcohol so as to cause girls to lose their inhibitions and their ability to say 'No.' […] I also witnessed efforts by Mark Judge, Brett Kavanaugh and others to cause girls to become inebriated and disoriented so they could then be 'gang raped' in a side room."
Swetnick continues that, too, had been sexually assaulted at a party but did not name Kavanaugh as the assailant. She wrote:
"13. In approximately 1982, I became the victim of one of these 'gang' or 'train' rapes where Mark Judge and Brett Kavanaugh were present. Shortly after the incident, I shared what had transpired with at least two other people. During the incident, I was incapacitated without my consent and unable to fight off the boys raping me. I believe I was drugged using Quaaludes or something similar placed in what I was drinking."
1985 Bar Fight
On October 1st, 2018, The New York Times reported that in September 1985, Kavanaugh, then a junior at Yale University, and four other men were questioned, but not arrested by, New Haven Police Department in New Haven, Connecticut. The police report from the incident states that Kavanaugh was involved in an altercation at a bar following a concert by the band UB40. According to the report, Kavanaugh was accused of throwing ice at a patron.
In a statement to the Times, Kavanaugh's classmate said:
"[Ludington] said that the altercation happened after a UB40 concert on Sept. 25, when he and a group of people went to Demery’s and were drinking pints. At one point, they were sitting near a man who, they thought, resembled Ali Campbell, the lead singer of UB40.
"'We’re trying to figure out if it’s him,' he said.
"When the man noticed Mr. Ludington, Mr. Kavanaugh and the others looking at him, he objected and told them to stop it, adding an expletive, Mr. Ludington said.
"Mr. Kavanaugh cursed, he said, and then 'threw his beer at the guy.'"
The references to the band UB40 became the subject of numerous jokes involving the band, who is best known for their brand of soft, radio-friendly reggae (examples below).
The New York Times was subsequently criticized for the story, with some citing the inclusion of New York Times Opinion writer Emily Bazelon in the story's byline, particularly in regards to Bazelon's July 9th tweet about Kavanaugh. That tweet reads, "As a @YaleLawSch grad & lecturer, I strongly disassociate myself from tonight’s praise of Brett Kavanaugh. With respect, he’s a 5th vote for a hard-right turn on voting rights and so much more that will harm the democratic process & prevent a more equal society. Those are fundamental values we try to instill in our students. They matter more than collegiality and credentials." The tweet received more than 1,000 retweets and 4,000 likes in three months (shown below).
People stated their dismay toward Bazelon's work on the article. Twitter user @BrentScher tweeted, "The New York Times isn't even pretending anymore. The byline for the latest hit piece on Kavanaugh is a woman who stated her opposition to him on July 9." The tweet received more than 2,600 retweets and 4,900 likes in two days (shown below, left).
Twitter user @HolmesJosh tweeted, "As someone who has worked with press my entire career, and respects the vast majority, this kind of thing destroys my ability to tell conservatives they’re not out to get you. This is outrageous." The tweet received more than 790 retweets and 1,900 likes in two days (shown below, center).
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee-Sanders tweeted, "Democrats desperately attack Judge Kavanaugh for throwing ice during college. What motivated New York Times reporter to write this ridiculous story? Throwing ice 33 years ago, or her opinion of Judge Kavanaugh in July?" The tweet received more than 9,400 retweets and 29,000 likes in two days (shown below, right).
In a statement made on October 2nd, the New York Times released a statement on the controversy. They wrote, "Emily Bazelon is a writer for The New York Times Magazine who occasionally writes op-eds for the opinion section. She is not a newsroom reporter. Her role in this story was to help colleagues in the newsroom gather public documents in New Haven, where Emily is based. In retrospect, editors should have used a newsroom reporter for that assignment."
Mark Judge's GamerGate Article
On October 1st, 2018, Twitter user @LasagnaGarden tweeted an article written by Kavanaugh's friend Mark Judge, a right-wing political commentator and writer, as well as one of the individuals accused by Blasey Ford of being present for the alleged attack by Kavanaugh, had published an article on the GamerGate controversy, an online gaming protest, which supporters claims is about "ethics in gaming journalism," while other criticized the movement for inflaming sexist behavior in the gaming community, leading to excessive trolling, harassment and threats of violence. @LasagnaGarden commented on the article, entitled "Why Gamergate is Really About Political Correctness," "LMFAO HOW." The tweet received more than 885 retweets and 3,100 likes in two days. The articles were archived.
In the article Judge refers to the attacks on Anita Sarkeesian, the blogger and video game critic, who received numerous death and rape threats, as well as doxing, for criticizing the GamerGate movement as well as perceived sexist imagery and themes in video games, as "disgusting, sad, and intolerable."
"Social justice warriors like Sarkeesian usually win by following a pattern: raise an issue, shame critics by appealing to emotion, bully, express a lot of rage and personal hurt, guilt opponents into acquiescence, then move on to the next target. But gamers’ cogent counterarguments have made Anita Sarkeesian and Feminist Frequency irrelevant. Gamers keep gaming, and game makers keep making games. The controversy is ebbing, and soon the name Anita Sarkeesian will be a footnote in pop culture history. As for me, I’m looking forward to playing Dark Souls III."
Trump Mocks Christine Blasey Ford
On October 2nd, at a rally in Mississippi, President Trump commented on the controversy regarding the Supreme Court nomination of Kavanaugh. During the speech, he appeared the mock Christine Blasey Ford, mimicking her testimony. NBC reports:
"I had one beer!" Trump said, characterizing Ford's testimony about her level of intoxication as a teenager when she says she was attacked at a small get-together in Montgomery County, Md., in the early 1980s.
"How did you get home?" the president asked, taking on the role of prosecutor.
"I don't remember," he said in his Ford voice.
"How did you get there?" Trump continued in his reenactment of the Senate hearing.
"I don't remember," he replied in the Ford voice.
Trump then mockingly asked and answered a series of questions with the responses "I don't remember" and "I don't know."
Intern Doxing Arrest
On October 3rd, 2018, U.S. Capitol Police arrested Jackson A. Cosko, an intern for Representative Shelia Jackson Lee, a Texas Democrat, for sharing the personal information of various GOP lawmakers, including the phone numbers and home address of Senators Mike Lee, Lindsey Graham, Orin Hatch, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senator Rand Paul, on their respective Wikipedia pages.
FBI Investigation Conclusion
On October 4th, 2018, the White House said that the FBI had completed the investigation into the sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh. The information, known as "302" forms, would be made available to all 100 senators only. The report will not be made public but instead be held in the classified area of the Capitol Visitor's Center, where senators can read the files. However, copies of the findings will not be made as the report can only be read in the classified area.
Following the conclusion, key Republican votes for Kavanaugh's confirmation signaled their satisfaction with the investigation. Republican Senator Susan Collins said, "It appears to be a very thorough investigation, but I’m going back later to personally read the interviews."
Additionally, Republican Senator Jeff Flake said, "We’ve seen no additional corroborating information."
Democratic opponents of the confirmation criticized the investigation. In a series of tweets, Senator Tim Kaine wrote, "This so-called “investigation” is a complete sham. This process was wrapped up in just *5 days,* despite the many witnesses pleading to share relevant information who were ignored by the FBI." The tweets received more than 1,500 retweets and 4,000 likes in 24 hours (shown below).
Kavanaugh's Wall Street Journal Op-Ed
On October 4th, 2018, Kavanaugh published an article in the Wall Street Journal newspaper entitled "I Am an Independent, Impartial Judge." In the piece, he seemingly apologizes for his testimony during the hearings with Christine Blasey Ford. He said, "I was very emotional last Thursday, more so than I have ever been. I might have been too emotional at times. I know that my tone was sharp, and I said a few things I should not have said. I hope everyone can understand that I was there as a son, husband and dad. I testified with five people foremost in my mind: my mom, my dad, my wife, and most of all my daughters."
Additionally, he vowed to be an "impartial" Supreme Court justice.
Bar Association Re-Evaluation
On October 5th, 2018, the Bar Association sent an email to Senator Chuck Gassley, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. In the letter, they wrote that they would be re-evaluating Kavanaugh's rating with the bar association regarding Kavanaugh's temperament (shown below).
George Soros Conspiracy Theory
On October 5th, 2018, President Trump tweeted, "The very rude elevator screamers are paid professionals only looking to make Senators look bad. Don’t fall for it! Also, look at all of the professionally made identical signs. Paid for by Soros and others. These are not signs made in the basement from love! #Troublemakers." The post received more than 37,000 retweets, 118,000 likes and 48,000 comments in 24 hours (shown below).
Some criticized the comments and the allusion to the unsubstantiated conspiracy theory that American investor George Soros was paying protester. This conspiracy theory, which Trump has perpetuated before, has been seen by some as anti-semitic.
In an opinion piece on the tweet, The Washington Post's Richard Cohen writes:
"If it was anyone else, this would seem to be base anti-Semitism. Soros is both rich and Jewish, and is officially and incessantly reviled in his native Hungary by the right-wing, authoritarian regime of Prime Minister Viktor Orban. The campaign there against Soros, who survived the Holocaust through guile and luck, could be called vaguely anti-Semitic, but there is nothing vague about it. Soros is the representation of the rich Jew, an anti-Semitic stereotype which, in Hungary at least, endures.
One might think Trump is appealing to a similar mob. But the president is clearly no anti-Semite. Two of his lawyers over the years -- Roy Cohn and Michael Cohen -- were Jewish, as have been many of his other associates. His daughter converted to Judaism and his grandchildren have been raised in that faith.
So what you have is not anti-Semitism by intent, but it is anti-Semitism nonetheless. The president, I guarantee you, knows nothing about Hungary’s history, nor that Adolf Eichmann managed to round up the country’s Jewish population and have about 437,000 of them murdered at Auschwitz. Trump probably knows little about Soros, either, because he knows little about almost everything. He is a genius at ignorance.
Brett Kavanaugh Silently Staring
Brett Kavanaugh Silently Staring refers to a series of jokes about the blank expression on the face of Supreme Court Justice nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh during his confirmation hearing.
PSA: I'm Off Twitter
PSA: I'm Off Twitter refers to parodies of a tweet by Benjamin Wittes, editor of Lawfare Blog after communication between he and Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh came to light. However, Wittes' announcement that he was leaving Twitter also included many reasons why he would continue to use Twitter. The tweet was mocked and parodied on Twitter after it was posted.
Ruth Bader Ginsberg's Kavanaugh Swearing-In Reaction
On October 8th, President Trump held a swearing-in ceremony for Kavanaugh. During the ceremony, many watching the ceremony noted the facial reaction of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, which appeared to show disdain and/or disapproval for the ceremony. Many online related to this expression and shared the image on various social media sites.
That day, Twitter user @MollyJohnFast tweeted the image with the caption, "RBG is every democratic women in America right now." The post received more than 900 retweets and 3,700 likes in 24 hours (shown below, left). Throughout the day, people continued to make similar comments (examples below, center and right).
 New York Times – Brett Kavanaugh Is Trump’s Pick for Supreme Court
 Twitter – @GOP's Tweet
 Twitter – @laureldavilacpa's Tweet
 Twitter – @renato_mariotti's Tweeth2. Your title here…
 Washington Post – I don’t know Kavanaugh the judge. But Kavanaugh the carpool dad is one great guy.
 Washington Post – Kavanaugh hearing: Trump’s Supreme Court nominee defends opinion in immigrant teen abortion case
 CNN – Read the letter Christine Blasey Ford sent accusing Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct
 The New Yorker – A Sexual-Misconduct Allegation Against the Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh Stirs Tension Among Democrats in Congress
 Senate – Letter to Senate Judiciary Committee
 The Washington Post – California professor, writer of confidential Brett Kavanaugh letter, speaks out about her allegation of sexual assault
 Twitter – @JuddLegum's Tweet
 Twitter – @SenatorCollins's Tweet
 Twitter – @taber's Tweet
 Washington Post – Is there a Kavanaugh doppelganger
 Twitter – @jaketapper's Tweet
 Twitter – @EdWhelanEPPC's Tweet
 New Yorker – Senate Democrats Investigate a New Allegation of Sexual Misconduct, from Brett Kavanaugh’s College Years
 New York Times – Kavanaugh to Give Senate Calendars From 1982 to Back Up Denial
 Twitter – @ZerlinaMaxwell's Tweet
 Twitter – @MichaelAvenatti's Tweet
 The New York Times – Kavanaugh Hearing: Christine Blasey Ford’s Testimony Grips Nation as G.O.P. Shrugs It Off
 Twitter – @Sulliview's Tweet
 Twitter – @kateirby's Tweet
 Twitter – @DonaldJTrumpJr's Tweet
 Twitter – @jaketapper's Tweet
 DCist – Explaining Beach Week, The Local Rite Of Passage In Kavanaugh's Calendar
 Twitter – @NatashaBertrand's Tweet
 Twitter – @grmartin's Tweet
 Twitter – @JoshDorner's Tweet
 Facebook – DC Trip to Support Judge Kavanaugh
 Twitter – @jardlholt's Tweet
 Twitter – @ToddRuger's Tweet
 Twitter – @MonicaCKlein's Tweet
 Twitter – @ThomasWictor's Tweet
 The Daily Dot – 33-tweet rant wildly alleges Alyssa Milano was trying to harm Kavanaugh
 Twitter – @toddzwillich's Tweet
 The Washington Post – Kavanaugh vote: Senate Republican leaders agree to new FBI background investigation of Kavanaugh
 New York Times – Kavanaugh Was Questioned by Police After Bar Fight in 1985
 Mashable – Brett Kavanaugh once got into a fight about UB40 and it's spawned some very solid memes
 Twitter – @emilybazelon's Tweet
 Twitter – @BrentScher's Tweet
 Twitter – @HolmesJosh's Tweet
 Twitter – @PressSec's Tweet
 CNN – New York Times says it was a mistake to enlist writer who posted anti-Kavanaugh tweet to report on him
 Twitter – @LasagnaGarden's Tweet
 Archive – Why Gamergate is Really About Political Correctness
 Archive – Mark Judge Bio
 NBC – Trump mocks Kavanaugh accuser Christine Blasey Ford at campaign rally
 NBC News – The FBI confidential Kavanaugh report: Whos allowed to read it and where
 Twitter – @timkaine's Tweet
 Gizmodo – Capitol Police Arrest Intern Over Doxing of U.S. Senators
 WSJ – I Am an Independent, Impartial Judge – WSJ
 Twitter – @bpolitics's Tweet
 Bloomberg – Kavanaugh Wins Collins and Manchin’s Votes, Ensuring Confirmation
 Twitter – @realDonaldTrump's Tweet
 Washington Post – President Trump’s ignorant attack on George Soros
 CNBC – Brett Kavanaugh confirmed by Senate in 50-48 vote
 Twitter – @MollyJongFast's Tweet
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