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Washington’s Elites Have Some Opinions on Whether to Believe Brett Kavanaugh or Christine Blasey Ford

A guide to the dueling letters of support from prep-school alums
Photograph by Evy Mages.

When a judicial nomination happens, it’s typical that all sorts of interest groups weigh in with letters of support for—or opposition to—the nominee. The surreal proceedings surrounding Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh are different. Sure, they may have opened with the usual missives from unions or advocacy organizations, as well as people who knew Kavanaugh from school, work, or his volunteer efforts.

But in the week since the explosive allegation that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted Christine Blasey Ford in his prep-school days, a much less typical set of groups has weighed in with letters, too: Members of the suburban Washington private school set, whose alums have been transfixed by the controversy and the tales of privilege and impunity that have followed. Old classmates and more recent neighbors have signed on to a variety of letters dealing not with matters of judicial philosophy but with the question of just what to believe about an interaction at a Reagan-era teen party.

Here’s a quick guide to the letters that have drawn signatures from across some of DC’s toniest zip codes:

Letter: Women who knew Kavanaugh in high school

Number of signers: 65

Who they’re supporting: Kavanaugh

Key sentence: “In particular, he has always treated women with decency and respect.”

Letter: Holton-Arms alumnae

Number of signers: More than 1,000, including Julia Louis-Dreyfus

Who they’re supporting: Ford

Key sentence: “Dr. Blasey Ford’s experience is all too consistent with stories we heard and lived while attending Holton.”

Letter: Kavanaugh’s Georgetown Prep classmates

Number of signers: More than 150 (including the person conservative legal star Ed Whelan later named as the possible assailant in a bizarre series of tweets)

Who they’re supporting: Kavanaugh

Key sentence: “He is a devoted son, husband, father and friend and despite his great achievements, he remains the same grounded and approachable person that we met in High School.”

Letter: Holton-Arms Class of 1984

Number of signers: 23

Who they’re supporting: Ford

Key sentence: “We represent all political parties and we support Christine bringing this matter forward. ”

Letter: Parents of Blessed Sacrament basketball players

Number of signers: More than 20

Who they’re supporting: Kavanaugh

Key sentence: “Brett Kavanaugh’s dedication and commitment as a volunteer youth basketball coach is a great illustration of his character.”

Letter: Members of various Washington-area country clubs, schools, and churches

Number of signers: More than 600

Who they’re supporting: Ford

Key sentence: “Each one of us heard your story and not one of us was surprised.”

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Senior editor

Andrew Beaujon joined Washingtonian in late 2014. He was previously with the Poynter Institute, TBD.com, and Washington City Paper. His book A Bigger Field Awaits Us: The Scottish Soccer Team That Fought the Great War was published in 2018. He lives in Del Ray.

Staff Writer

Brittany Shepherd joined Washingtonian as a staff writer in June 2018. She previously covered the White House for Independent Journal Review. On her off time, she obsesses over pop culture and the best place to find authentic New York pizza in the district. She currently lives in Navy Yard.