Since Doctor Christine Blasey Ford went public with her allegations that Brett Kavanaugh attempted to rape her in high school, Senate Republicans have tried to frame the debate as "he said/she said," with only two people to be questioned. Their efforts to stonewall an FBI investigation, as well as their "testify next Monday or don't testify at all" deadline reveal their desire to get this over with quickly, like ripping off a Band-aid, so that no one can accuse them of having acted improperly by the time he's confirmed. In attempting this rush job, Republicans ignore a crucial detail in Dr. Ford's letter that, taken on its own, merits a federal investigation into her charges: that there was a third person in the room where it took place - Mark Judge.
Judge is a conservative author and columnist who has written for The Daily Caller and The American Spectator. He is also a former schoolmate of Kavanaugh's at Georgetown Prep. In his first book, 1997's Wasted: Tales of a Gen X Drunk, he wrote about the hard party culture that existed within Georgetown. By his own account, he began drinking at age 14, experienced blackouts by 16, and would often wake up in strange places that he had no idea how he got there. The book, which disguises the names of the students and teachers at Georgetown, features this interesting passage:
“So how do you like Prep?” Mary asked.
“Do you know Bart O’Kavanaugh?”
“Yeah, he’s around here somewhere.”
“I heard he puked in someone’s car the other night.”
“Yeah. He passed out on his way back from a party.”
So far there is no confirmation as to whether or not this character is Brett Kavanaugh, but given the closeness of the two names, as well as Kavanaugh's recollections of his drinking days, it's possible that they are one and the same.
Judge has held troubling views on women and rape culture since his Georgetown days. As editor of the school yearbook, he showed off his sense of humor by writing captions like "Do these guys beat their wives?" under a photo of a group of boys. The yearbook quote accompanying his senior page came from Noël Coward's play Private Lives, when the main character, Elyot, says to his second wife, "Women should be struck regularly, like gongs."
Judge furthered these depressing and disturbing viewpoints in his columns. Writing for The Daily Caller in 2013, he lampooned Obama as "the first female president," and said that First Lady Michelle Obama was more of a man than he was, lamenting, "Oh for the days when president George W. Bush gave his wife Laura a loving but firm pat on the backside in public." In a 2015 article about the damsel in distress stereotype, he wrote about rape culture in the manner that George Carlin satirized in his famous routine about men's views on the subject:
“It’s a good thing that feminism is teaching young men that no means no and yes means yes. But there’s also that ambiguous middle ground, where the woman seems interested and indicates, whether verbally or not, that the man needs to prove himself to her. And if that man is any kind of man, he’ll allow himself to feel the awesome power, the wonderful beauty, of uncontrollable male passion.”
His social media accounts were also filled with photos of young women, many of them wearing bikinis, either sleeping or passed out. Although his accounts have largely been deleted, thanks to some sleuthing by @RiotWomenn, we can see these images for ourselves.
So what is Judge's role in Dr. Ford's assault? In her letter to Dianne Feinstein, she wrote:
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...
"At one point when REDACTED jumped onto the bed the weight on me was substantial. The pile toppled, and the two scrapped with each other. After a few attempts to get away, I was able to take this opportune moment to get up and run across to a hallway bathroom..."
"I have not knowingly seen Kavanaugh since the assault. I did see REDACTED once at the REDACTED where he was extremely uncomfortable seeing me.
When interviewed for The New Yorker, reporters Jane Mayer and Ronan Farrow told Judge that he was the redacted name who had jumped on Kavanaugh during the assault, quoting him as saying he had "no recollection" of it. In an interview for The Weekly Standard the day The New Yorker's piece hit, he called the charges "absolutely nuts" and said that neither Farrow nor Mayer told him Ford's name or the date and location of the incident. He has since refused to testify in the hearings, saying through his attorney, "I have no more information to offer the Committee and I do not wish to speak publicly."
This puts him in a legal bind. By refusing to speak under oath, Judge looks like he has something to hide. "The Senate needs to delay the hearing until [his] appearance can be obtained," says Alabama law professor Joyce Van White. Harvard's Lawrence Tribe stated that since Maryland, where the assault took place, has no statute of limitations regarding these kinds of crimes, Judge may be criminally liable for his friend's misdeed. California Senator Kamala Harris, herself an accomplished prosecutor, spoke for her party when she tweeted:
But even with all this, the Republicans still do not support a more thorough investigation. When asked about Judge, Lindsey Graham said there was "no reason" to bring him in, adding, "He’s already said what he’s gonna say. I want to hear from her if she wants to speak, and I want to hear from him.” As long as the Republicans don't support a federal investigation, they run the risk of repeating the mistakes they made when questioning Anita Hill 27 years ago. The first step in correcting these errors would be to subpoena Mark Judge for further questioning, as his involvement is too great to go overlooked.