The Slatest

Kavanaugh, Who Said He Had “No Connections” to Yale, Was a Legacy Student

Kavanaugh, wearing a suit and seating at a table in front of an audience for the hearing, looks unhappy.
Brett Kavanaugh testifies to the Senate Judiciary Committee during his Supreme Court confirmation hearing on Sept. 27, 2018. Win McNamee/Getty Images

After hours of testimony Thursday during which Brett Kavanaugh answered—and dodged—questions from the Senate Judiciary Committee, observers noted that the Supreme Court nominee had, on multiple occasions, lied under oath.

The lies ranged from outright falsehoods to misleading assertions (he claimed he the matter had been investigated, when in reality alleged witnesses just issued short statements; and he claimed the alleged witnesses said the party didn’t happen, when in reality they said they couldn’t remember it) and dubious statements (he claimed he never had gaps in his memory, while others attested to his heavy drinking).

Some of the more blatantly false statements were far less important, but false nonetheless. He claimed, for example, that the drinking age at Maryland at the time was 18, when in reality by the time he was 18, the drinking age was 21. On Saturday, the Intercept identified yet another minor, but still clear-cut, falsehood.

At one point in the testimony, when Kavanaugh was making the point that he had worked hard and earned his success, Kavanaugh told the committee that he had no connections to Yale before attending. “I have no connections there,” he said. “I got there by busting my tail.”

In reality, Kavanaugh was a legacy student. His grandfather, Everett Edward Kavanaugh, attended Yale as an undergraduate. The Intercept published a photo of a 1928 yearbook as evidence:

The legacy status does not necessarily mean that Kavanaugh would not have been accepted otherwise or that he was allowed in unfairly. But it does mean that in explicitly saying he had “no connections,” he was not telling the truth.

These kinds of small falsehoods will likely not matter to the Senate, as the newly launched and highly limited FBI background investigation into allegations against Kavanaugh will not investigate his drinking or any possible perjury related to the way he described it in his testimony.