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IU professor criticizes FBI investigation of Brett Kavanaugh in op-eds


William E. Scheuerman graduated from Yale University in 1987, the same year as Brett Kavanaugh. They lived in Lawrance Hall together freshman year, he said. Ty Vinson Buy Photos

In editorial columns in the the Indianapolis Star and Huffington Post last week, IU political science professor William E. Scheuerman called the FBI investigation of allegations against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh a “joke” and “partisan game."

“People are going to see the court for what it’s unfortunately becoming — an extremely partisan instrument,” said Scheuerman, who attended Yale University with Brett Kavanaugh.

Kavanaugh was confirmed Oct. 6 to serve as a Supreme Court Justice. However, his confirmation process was clouded by allegations from Christine Blasey Ford and Deborah Ramirez that he committed acts of sexual misconduct in high school and college. 

The point he tried to make, he said, is that Kavanaugh’s confirmation process was bad for everyone – Ramirez,  Ford, the American people and even Kavanaugh. If the investigation had been done properly, Kavanaugh’s name might’ve been cleared, Scheuerman said.

Scheuerman graduated from Yale in 1987, the same year as Kavanaugh, and they lived in Lawrance Hall together freshman year, he said. This residence hall is where Ramirez said Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her.

In his columns, Scheuerman said he and other Yale classmates tried to contact the FBI during the investigation, but the FBI did not respond.

Scheuerman said he wrote the articles because he was disgusted by the way the FBI apparently ignored the information offered by himself and others. He said he was also disturbed by statements Kavanaugh made in the hearings, Fox News interview and Wall Street Journal article. 

Kavanaugh told the Senate Judiciary Committee the first time he’d heard about Ramirez’s allegations was in the New Yorker article, but Scheuerman said Yale classmates have emails from people close to Kavanaugh that refute his claim. At least one person tried to send those emails to both the FBI and Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, but was either unsuccessful or was ignored, Scheuerman said. 

“It didn’t fit in with the story they wanted us to buy,” he said of Republican leaders. 

Scheuerman said he doesn’t think Kavanaugh ever let go of his work as a partisan political operative, and because of that, he won’t be a fair and impartial justice. He said he thinks Kavanaugh acted like a politician campaigning for the Supreme Court in an unprecedented way.

“He ran a political campaign for the Court, and he knew which buttons to hit to make sure his constituents would fall into line,” Scheuerman said.

Fellow Yale classmates discussed feeling conflicted about the hearings and allegations, Scheuerman said, until Kavanaugh’s Fox News interview and Wall Street Journal column.

“A lot of them got very worked up with the Fox News interview because number one, it’s inappropriate to be in this campaign mode and number two, he was saying things people know aren’t true,” Scheuerman said. 

Many readers have e-mailed Scheuerman to respond to his columns, he said. About 60 to 70 percent of the emails have been negative, and he says the overall response has been gendered. The majority of the negative emails are from men, while the majority of the positive are from women. 

“I went to the FBI and many classmates did, and I think the FBI went out of their way to ignore that information," Scheuerman said.

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