Why Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s Background Check Is Raising Eyebrows

Former President Donald Trump might have only been in office for four years, but he had the extraordinary opportunity to replace three Supreme Court Justices including Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett. Of these, the most contentious involved Brett Kavanaugh, who during his hearing, was subject to numerous claims of sexual assault from women he had gone to Yale with. The most telling among those who came forward to speak against Kavanaugh were Deborah Ramirez and Christine Blasey Ford (via The New York Times). 

And while Kavanaugh was finally sworn in as an Associate Justice after a close confirmation vote in 2018, (50 to 48 with one abstention, per Ballotpedia), it seems he’s still not out of the woods. Democratic Senator, Sheldon Whitehouse, now wants newly minted Attorney General Merrick Garland to look into how thoroughly the FBI might have investigated Kavanaugh as his confirmation hearing was taking place (via The Guardian). 

The FBI has been accused of covering up its investigation of Kavanaugh before

One of the points listed in Whitehouse’s call to have the FBI’s conduct examined, is that the agency did not appear to be interested in taking testimony from those who had wanted to talk about Kavanaugh’s conduct. According to The Guardian, Whitehouse called the FBI’s behavior “unique”, because he said it was his experience that the FBI was usually open to the idea of listening. “…but in this matter the shutters were closed, the drawbridge drawn up, and there was no point of entry by which members of the public or Congress could provide information to the FBI,” he said.

This would not be the first time that the FBI has been accused of a coverup where Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation is concerned. In an op-ed for CNN penned in 2018 during the confirmation hearings, journalist Frida Ghitis pointed out that the FBI had been given a week to investigate the accusations against the then Supreme Court nominee, and the report was handed in just five days later. Ghitis also pointed out that during the investigation, no interviews had taken place, and that attorneys for both Ramirez and Ford had already called out the FBI for failing to interview any witnesses. 

Neither the FBI nor the Department of Justice and its new Attorney General, have commented on Whitehouse’s letter yet- and it is not clear if they will do so. Only time will tell if this petition is something both agencies intend to act upon.

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