The Education of Brett Kavanaugh: An Investigation

The Education of Brett Kavanaugh: An Investigation

by Robin Pogrebin, Kate Kelly


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"A remarkable work of slowed-down journalism...They are doing their jobs as journalists and writing the first draft of history." —Jill Filipovic, The Washington Post

"...Generous but also damning."  —Hanna Rosin, The New York Times

From two New York Times reporters, a deeper look at the formative years of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh and his confirmation.

In September 2018, the F.B.I. was given only a week to investigate allegations of sexual misconduct against Brett Kavanaugh, President Trump's Supreme Court nominee. But even as Kavanaugh was sworn in to his lifetime position, many questions remained unanswered, leaving millions of Americans unsettled.

During the Senate confirmation hearings that preceded the bureau's brief probe, New York Times reporters Robin Pogrebin and Kate Kelly broke critical stories about Kavanaugh's past, including the "Renate Alumni" yearbook story. They were inundated with tips from former classmates, friends, and associates that couldn't be fully investigated before the confirmation process closed. Now, their book fills in the blanks and explores the essential question: Who is Brett Kavanaugh?

The Education of Brett Kavanaugh paints a picture of the prep-school and Ivy-League worlds that formed our newest Supreme Court Justice. By offering commentary from key players from his confirmation process who haven't yet spoken publicly and pursuing lines of inquiry that were left hanging, it will be essential reading for anyone who wants to understand our political system and Kavanaugh's unexpectedly emblematic role in it.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780593084397
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 09/17/2019
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 788,488
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 8.50(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Robin Pogrebin is a reporter on the New York Times's Culture Desk, where she covers the art world and cultural institutions—exploring the internal politics, finances, and governance of museums, auction houses, galleries, and performing arts organizations. She has covered the media for the Business Desk and city news for the Metro Desk. Prior to the Times, she was a reporter at the New York Observer and an associate producer at ABC News for Peter Jennings's documentary unit. She attended Riverdale Country School in New York and graduated from Yale College in 1987.

Kate Kelly is a reporter for the New York Times who covers Wall Street. She is also an experienced television broadcaster and the author of Street Fighters, the bestselling account of the bank failure that touched off the financial crisis. Her reporting focuses on big banks, the worlds of trading and lending, and the crucial players setting financial policy both in business and in politics. Prior to the Times, she worked at the New York Observer, the Wall Street Journal, and CNBC. She attended the National Cathedral School in Washington and graduated from Columbia College in 1997.

Read an Excerpt

Nostos: Homecoming
It was cold for October, with evening temperatures dropping into the forties as alumni poured onto Georgetown Preparatory School’s leafy campus in suburban Maryland for their thirty-fifth-year high school reunion. It had been a tumultuous day for the country. A Florida man had been arrested for sending package bombs to more than a dozen prominent Democrats, including former presi­dent Barack Obama and former secretary of state Hillary Clinton. Despite the serious threat, President Donald Trump was focused on the upcoming midterm congressional elections and wanted his party to do the same. The “‘Bomb’ stuff,” as Trump put it in a tweet, risked slowing Republican momentum at a critical time.
On the Georgetown Prep campus, hundreds of former students were gathering in the George Center, a large brick building adjacent to the football stadium where the school store and snack bar were lo­cated. Nicknamed “Stag Night” because significant others were not invited, the Friday evening cocktail gathering was the traditional start to Reunion Weekend. There would be welcome speeches from school officials; wisecracks about thickening waists and thinning hair; beer and finger food.
The next day, about four hundred people would gather to watch the school’s football team, the Hoyas, play the homecoming game against Episcopal High School, despite the chilly, wet afternoon. During the years when it was still part of Georgetown University, Prep had at some point dubbed its teams the “Hoyas,” which derived from the Latin cheer “Hoya Saxa!” (translation: “What Rocks!”). After this par­ticular homecoming game— during which the Hoyas trounced their Episcopal High rivals, 24–6— classmates, spouses, and friends would toast over cocktails and trade stories at nearby Pinstripes, a bistro/ bowling- and- bocce venue in North Bethesda.
Brett Kavanaugh typically welcomed these rare opportunities to reconnect and reminisce with old friends. But this year, he had seri­ously considered opting out. Three weeks had passed since his confir­mation as the newest associate justice of the United States Supreme Court, about six since the devastating accusation that almost derailed it. So when he arrived on campus for his reunion, Kavanaugh was steeled for awkward interactions.
At the same time, he appeared resolutely upbeat, in keeping with his often articulated philosophy to “live on the sunrise side of the mountain.”
As a justice on America’s highest court, Kavanaugh now had a security detail that followed him to public places, particularly since, during the confirmation process, his wife had been targeted by vicious emails and his family had received death threats. Many of Kavanaugh’s fellow Georgetown Prep alumni had been supportive. Nearly two hun­dred had signed a letter endorsing his Supreme Court candidacy when he was nominated. Some had even gone on TV to praise his character. But given the polarizing nature of the hearings, he knew that not ev­eryone stood behind him.

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