Why Lisa Graves is Calling for Brett Kavanaugh’s Impeachment

Judge Brett Kavanaugh, President Trump’s nominee to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court, has been credibly accused of lying under oath to the Senate Judiciary Committee during his confirmation hearings and during previous hearings regarding his prior appointments.

Many of these claims center on Kavanaugh’s having received stolen memos from GOP Senate aide Manuel Miranda that included confidential memos, letters, talking points and research documents. In the years that followed, Miranda was ultimately forced to resign for stealing the documents, and the U.S. Seargant-at-Arms lauched a bipartisan investigation into the incident.

Kavanaugh denied ever receiving stolen materials from Miranda before the Senate in 2004 and again in 2006, but newly released documents to the chamber members show otherwise. The full extent of what Kavanaugh did or did not receive still remains a question, because many of his documents are being withheld from the committee—even now.

Lisa Graves, however, is quite familiar with the documents we now know Kavanaugh received—because she wrote some of them. And now, the former chief counsel for nominations for the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and deputy assistant attorney general in the Department of Justice is speaking out about Kavanaugh’s deception.

In an explosive op-ed published by Slate, Graves doesn’t mince words in calling not just for Kavanaugh to be rejected by the committee for his current nomination, but for him to be impeached from his current seat on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals bench.

Even if Kavanaugh could claim that he didn’t have any hint at the time he received the emails that these documents were of suspect provenance—which I personally find implausible—there is no reasonable way for him to assert honestly that he had no idea what they were after the revelation of the theft. Any reasonable person would have realized they had been stolen, and certainly someone as smart as Kavanaugh would have too.

But he lied.

Under oath.

And he did so repeatedly.

Significantly, he did so even though a few years earlier he had helped spearhead the impeachment of President Bill Clinton for perjury in a private civil case. Back then Kavanaugh took lying under oath so seriously that he was determined to do everything he could to help remove a president from office.

Now we know that he procured his own confirmation to the federal bench by committing the same offense. And he did so not in a private case but in the midst of public hearings for a position of trust, for a lifetime appointment to the federal judiciary.

His actions were dishonorable and dishonest.

This week, as part of his efforts to be elevated to the highest court in the land, he has calmly continued to deceive, falsely claiming that it would have been perfectly normal for him to receive secret Democratic letters, talking points, and other materials. And if this absurd notion were somehow true, it would not even be consistent with what he testified to 12 and 14 years ago. Back then, he didn’t state it would have been normal for him to receive secret Democratic strategy materials.

Instead, he explicitly and repeatedly went out of his way to say he never had access to any such materials. These objectively false statements were offered under oath to convince the committee of something that was untrue. It was clearly intentional, with Kavanaugh going so far as to correct Sen. Kennedy when the senator described the document situation accurately.

That’s why—without even getting into other reasonable objections to his nomination—he should not be confirmed.

In fact, by his own standard, he should clearly be impeached.

Read the full piece at Slate. When you’re done, call 202-224-3121 and request to be connected to your Senators—and urge them to reject Kavanaugh’s nomination.


Carmen Rios is a self-proclaimed feminist superstar and the former digital editor at Ms. Her writing on queerness, gender, race and class has been published in print and online by outlets including BuzzFeed, Bitch, Bust, CityLab, DAME, ElixHER, Feministing, Feminist Formations, GirlBoss, GrokNation, MEL, Mic, the National Women’s History Museum, SIGNS and the Women’s Media Center; and she is a co-founder of Webby-nominated Argot Magazine. @carmenriosss|carmenfuckingrios.com