Three former Yale Law School classmates who endorsed Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh called Tuesday for an investigation into allegations by two women that he engaged in sexual misconduct in the 1980s.
Kent Sinclair, Douglas Rutzen and Mark Osler were among roughly two dozen of Kavanaugh’s law school classmates who lauded Kavanaugh’s qualifications in an Aug. 27 letter to leaders of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Their support for an investigation came as Yale Law professor Akhil Amar — who taught Kavanaugh and testified on his behalf before the committee this month — also called for a probe into what he described as “serious accusations” from the women.
Kavanaugh has vehemently denied the charges. On Thursday, he is scheduled to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee along with one accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, who said he assaulted her at a party in high school.
Senate Republicans have rebuffed calls by Democrats for an independent investigation of Ford’s claims.
In their Aug. 27 letter, a bipartisan group of Yale Law School alumni praised Kavanaugh’s judgment and thoughtfulness.
However, in a joint statement to The Washington Post on Tuesday, Sinclair and Rutzen said that new allegations require “a fair and credible investigation.”
“The confirmation process should be conducted in a way that fosters trust in the process and the Supreme Court, and that seriously considers allegations of sexual violence,” stated Sinclair, a political independent who practices law in Beverly, Mass., and Rutzen, a lawyer in Washington and registered Democrat.
Osler, a former federal prosecutor and a professor at the University of St. Thomas School of Law in Minneapolis, said in a phone interview that “corroborating evidence” is necessary to determine what occurred.
“The focus can’t just be on the accusers and trying to bring their veracity into question. The circumstances need to be probed,” said Osler, a Democrat.
A fourth Yale Law classmate, Robert Rivera Jr., said that he “would be seriously shocked” if the allegations were true but suggested that an investigation would helpful.
“This would be 100% contrary to the character of the man I know and a powerful punch in the gut,” Rivera, an attorney in Houston and a political independent, wrote in an email, calling Kavanaugh “honorable” and “respectful.”
“Has he always behaved himself honorably and the allegations against him [are] manufactured or mistaken? I wish there were a way to know for sure. Perhaps a more in-depth investigation can help answer the question and our political leaders can will themselves to conduct one fairly and thoroughly without delay. How can one oppose that in good faith?” he wrote.
The Post sought Tuesday to speak with more than 30 Yale Law School and Yale College graduates who signed letters in support of Kavanaugh last month.
Many said they continued to support him.
“None of the allegations have changed my view of him as a classmate and colleague of his,” said Paul “Whit” Cobb Jr., a lawyer in Virginia and registered Republican.
Helen Rice, who described herself as a liberal Democrat, said Kavanaugh was “never anything but polite and respectful” as a friend, despite their political differences.
“I’ve been appalled at the way he’s been treated in the news media and by the Democrats,” said Rice, a social worker in New York state who said she met Kavanaugh while he was in law school.
“We’re all in danger if allegations are all it takes to prove our guilt. Who is to say an allegation couldn’t be leveled against you or me?” she said.
This week, Amar — who in July called Kavanaugh a “superb nominee” in a New York Times op-ed — called an investigation the “best way forward” for both Kavanaugh and his accusers.
“If the investigation’s facts and findings support him, then he will join the Court in the sunshine and not under a cloud,” Amar wrote Monday in the Yale Daily News in a piece titled “Second thoughts on Kavanaugh.”
Separately, former Kavanaugh classmates Louisa Garry and Dino Ewing on Monday asked the New Yorker magazine to withdraw their names from a statement defending Kavanaugh from claims made by another classmate, Deborah Ramirez, who said Kavanaugh exposed himself during a dorm party. An editor’s note said the two did not “did not wish to dispute Ramirez’s claims.”
Garry, who was featured praising Kavanaugh in a television ad released last week by the Judicial Crisis Network, did not respond to a request for comment Tuesday. Ewing could not be reached for comment.