Reason Roundup

Christine Ford Slaps Down Evil-Twin Defense of Kavanaugh: Reason Roundup

Plus: 1st Amendment coalition sues over DOJ seizure of Times reporter records and more boomers and seniors cop to pot use.


Ed Whelan/Twitter

Kavanaugh drama takes soap-operatic turn. An influential conservative operative and friend of Judge Brett Kavanaugh's has put forth a novel theory about the sexual assault allegation that threatens to derail Kavanaugh's path to the Supreme Court. In a series of (now-deleted) Thursday night tweets, Ed Whelan suggested that everything happened just as accuser Christine Blasey Ford had said—except she had the wrong guy! In reality, suggested Whelan, it was probably a boy named Chris Garrett who assaulted Ford when she was 15.

Yep, that's right: Whelan just sacrificed some random dude who happened to be a classmate of Kavanaugh's at Georgetown Prep back in the '80s.

Neither Ford nor anyone else had named Garrett as someone who had been around on the night in question. But Garrett's family did live in the vicinity of where Ford said they were hanging out that night, and other (named) attendees allegedly did not. Apparently, that's enough for Whelan to accuse Garrett of sexual assault.

The dumbest part about Whelan's theory is that it turns on Ford having remembered precisely how many people were at the gathering that night 36 years ago but not which one of them attempted to rape her. See, Ford has said she was there with one other girl and three boys (Kavanaugh, Mark Judge, and P.J. Smyth). "If the gathering was at Garrett's house and Garrett was there, then one of the 'four others' wasn't there," Whelan tweeted.

Case closed! Because surely, someone who can't remember details like which Georgetown Prep football player accosted her could never have mistaken how many people were hanging out and drinking there…

For her part, Ford dismissed the mistaken-identity theory as ridiculous. She says that she knew both Kavanaugh and Garrett before the night in question, that she and Garrett had traveled in the same social circles, and that she had even visited Garrett when he had been hospitalized. "There is zero chance that I would confuse them," she said in a statement.

Ford's lawyers continue to insist that she will not testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday but say she can do it later in the week, perhaps Thursday.

This morning, Whelan apologized for identifying Garrett:

After suggesting yesterday that a 15-year-old Ford should have gone to the FBI with her attempted rape allegations (the FBI does not handle such cases), Trump followed up today on Twitter by saying that if the attack had taken place, either Ford or her parents would have filed a report with local police. "I ask that she bring those filings forward so that we can learn date, time, and place!" Trump tweeted.


Group sues government for seizing reporter's records. A group called the First Amendment Coalition is suing the US. Department of Justice for seizing email and phone records from New York Times reporter Ali Watkins. The lawsuit was filed Wednesday in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. The group alleges that "neither Ms. Watkins nor Ms. Watkins' employers appear to have been made aware of the government's use of legal process to collect these records until long after the collection had begun."

"Based on what we know now, it appears the DOJ ignored or somehow bypassed its important procedures for collecting journalists' records," said the group's executive director, David Snyder, in a statement. "We want to know if that's the case and, if so, why."

Read the First Amendment Coalition's full complaint here.


"Talk to your grandparents about marijuana—before somebody else does," quips Christopher Ingraham in The Washington Post. As legal marijuana markets continue to emerge, marijuana use is now as popular among older adults as it is among young adults and teenagers, according to a new national survey.

"As recently as the early 2000s, teens were more than four times more likely to use marijuana than 50- and 60-somethings," notes Ingraham.

But as of 2017, Americans ages 55 to 64 are now slightly more likely to smoke pot on a monthly basis than teens ages 12 to 17. That difference is within the survey's margin of error.

The oldest age group—seniors age 65 and older—has seen steep increases in marijuana use, as well. In the mid-2000s, monthly marijuana use among this group was effectively at zero percent. As of last year, 2.4 percent of seniors used marijuana monthly, and nearly 4 percent were using on at least an annual basis.


Brian Wansink resigns. The high-profile Cornell nutrition researcher whose papers have been getting retracted recently has announced that he will resign at the end of the 2019 academic year. Wansink, notes Ars Technica, "was world-renowned for his massively popular, commonsense-style dieting studies before ultimately going down in flames in a beefy statistics scandal."


  • A new federal court ruling "means that effective immediately, anyone who produces more than $250 in ads that tell voters who to vote for in a federal campaign must identify any donor who gave them more than $200 in a single year."
  • Jordan B. Peterson, free speech warrior, exhibits A and B: