Reason Roundup

Judge Kavanaugh's High-School Sex Life Becomes Focus of Fox News Interview: Reason Roundup

Plus: Why is Latin America's murder rate so high?


screenshot/Fox News

"I did not have sexual intercourse…in high school." Much like the infamous 1990s Bill Clinton statement that it calls to mind, Kavanaugh's comment to Fox News last night—even if we take it as 100 percent true—doesn't actually exonerate him of the conduct of which he stands accused.

Christine Blasey Ford claims that a teenage Kavanaugh groped her, pushed her down, and attempted to take clothes off; Deborah Ramirez told The New Yorker that Kavanaugh and other college boys exposed themselves to her and others at a party. Whatever you think of these allegations, Kavanaugh's virginity is possibly true and, technically, irrelevant.

It did lead to some good "incel" jokes, at least?

As Reason editors Katherine Mangu-Ward, Peter Suderman, and Matt Welch wondered in yesterday's podcast, "Will public discourse ever recover from the Kavanaugh hearings?"

One potentially nteresting part of Kavanaugh's Fox News interview relates to a woman named Renate, who went to a girls prep school nearby and whose name appears throughout Kavanaugh's senior yearbook from Georgetown prep. Boys including Kavanaugh mention being a "Renate Alumni," and there's a poem about how if it's late and you need a date, you could call Renate.

Kavanaugh insisted via his lawyer that there was no untoward meaning to these references. Kavanaugh and Renate "attended one high school event together and shared a brief kiss good night following that event," said a statement. "The language from Judge Kavanaugh's high school yearbook refers to the fact that he and Ms. Dolphin attended that one high school event together and nothing else."

To be clear—and this should really go without saying, but these are touchy times—these high school boy brags certainly don't mean Kavanaugh was a rapist, that he did the things of which he is accused by Ford and Ramirez, nor that he's unfit to serve on the Supreme Court.

But come on—the implication is clearly that this girl was "easy" and the boys had hooked up with her sexually. This is Kavanaugh's first personal explanation that rings as clearly and ridiculously untrue. He should've just let that line of criticism go and said nothing or used it as an opportunity for a small bit of reflection on 1980s high school boy culture that could've worked to his advantage.

For her part, a now-grown Renate denied having hooked up with these boys in high school and having kissed Kavanaugh.

Somehow, this has become the state of our national discourse.

A confounding article at Jezebel yesterday argued that we need to start bringing "the nationwide #MeToo movement" to bear on the "gray areas." Yet the news cycle over the past 24 hours has made it abundantly clear we're already there.

Watch the full Kavanaugh interview here.

Per Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Chuck Grassley (R–Iowa), a Thursday hearing is set to feature testimony from Kavanaugh and Ford.


Made in the USA. "Latin America wasn't always the most murderous region in the world." But now, "with just 8% of the world's population, Latin America accounts for roughly a third of global murders," reports The Wall Street Journal. And "nearly one in every four murders around the world takes place in just four countries: Brazil, Venezuela, Mexico and Colombia."

The reasons for its rise as a murder capital are complex, but many center on the growing importance of gangs in these countries since around the middle of last century. And while the Journal article tends to tiptoe around it, the rise of these gangs comes in large part thanks to the U.S. drug war.

"In the 1950s, Singapore and Caracas"—the largest city in Venezuela—"had very similar murder rates, between 6 to 10 per 100,000 residents," notes the Journal. "Nowadays, Singapore's murder rate is 0.4 per 100,000 residents. In Caracas, the government doesn't bother to count. The nongovernmental Venezuelan Violence Observatory estimates the country's murder rate is roughly 110 per 100,000—about 34,000 a year."


It's "a disguised effort to expand the #PatriotAct." The House is scheduled to vote tomorrow on a bill that borrows language from the PATRIOT Act and would increase the feds ability to snoop on consumer bank and financial records. This time, it's not "terrorists" that are the ostensible target but "human traffickers."

But as Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) rightfully noted, this is simply a ploy to pass unpopular surveillance-expanding measures. It's "a disguised effort to expand the #PatriotAct," tweeted Amash on Saturday. "GOP leaders put 'Fight Human Trafficking' in the title to conceal the bill's true purpose: to give the government more power to unconstitutionally spy on law-abiding Americans without a warrant."