The attorney who represented Christine Blasey Ford during Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court contentious confirmation hearings said in a speech earlier this year that Ford was motivated to come forward in part by a desire to tag Kavanaugh's reputation with an "asterisk" before he could start ruling on abortion-related cases.
The high-powered progressive lawyer, Debra Katz, made the remarks at the University of Baltimore’s 11th Feminist Legal Theory Conference, entitled "Applied Feminism and #MeToo." Her comments were first quoted in the book "Search and Destroy: Inside the Campaign Against Brett Kavanaugh" by Ryan Lovelace, which Fox News has obtained.
The Daily Caller News Foundation on Wednesday posted a video of Katz's comments.
“In the aftermath of these hearings, I believe that Christine’s testimony brought about more good than the harm misogynist Republicans caused by allowing Kavanaugh on the court,” Katz said in the video. “He will always have an asterisk next to his name. When he takes a scalpel to Roe v. Wade, we will know who he is, we know his character, and we know what motivates him, and that is important.
"It is important that we know, and that is part of what motivated Christine.”
Katz's disclosure shocked D.C. observers, some of whom regarded the remark as a possible breach of attorney-client trust.
"Why would a competent lawyer say this?" asked Megan McArdle, a columnist at The Washington Post. "I'm stunned."
Ford, in her testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee last year, said she was coming forward out of a sense of "civic duty." She did not make mention of the landmark abortion case Roe v. Wade or abortion rights.
"I am here not because I wanted to be," Ford said. "I am terrified. I am here because I believe it is my civic duty to tell you what happened to me while Brett Kavanaugh and I were in high school."
Ford's narrative that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her in high school underwent some changes during the confirmation process as several apparent disparities surfaced, even as the California professor insisted she was forcibly attacked and that she had not mistaken Kavanaugh for anyone else. No witnesses corroborated Ford's account -- including Leland Ingham Keyser, Ford's close friend and former classmate, whom Ford said was at the house party in question.
According to Lovelace's book, Katz, speaking to the friendly audience, also wondered whether Republicans in the Senate would have silenced other accusers who lacked Ford's background.
“We must ponder the very real possibility that had Dr. Ford not come from the same background, and the same race, and the same class, and the same country club as Brett Kavanaugh, had she not had an impeccable academic record and stellar professional credentials, if she was not on the faculty of Stanford with 70 publications to her name, if she wasn’t married to a man with two children, would she have been given the opportunity?” Katz asked.
Katz is a longtime Democratic donor and activist known for representing sexual harassment accusers.
Katz has also attended anti-Trump rallies, telling ABC News last year: “We are going to resist. We will not be silenced.”
At the same time, Katz has a history of minimizing or dismissing accusations made by women against Democratic politicians -- including former President Bill Clinton and former Minnesota Sen. Al Franken.
“Paula Jones' suit is very, very, very weak,” Katz said on CNN’s “Talkback Live” in March 1998 in a discussion about Jones’ claims against Clinton, according to a show transcript. “She's alleged one incident that took place in a hotel room that, by her own testimony, lasted 10 to 12 minutes. She suffered no repercussions in the workplace.”
Particularly since the Kavanaugh hearings, Katz has emerged as something of a celebrity in feminist circles. Katz was given Ms. Magazine’s “Wonder Woman Award” for her "work fighting for gender equality, and increasing awareness of injustices faced by girls and women because of their gender."
She was also named one of the 2019 Lawyers of the Year by the Metropolitan Washington Employment Lawyers Association.