Politics

Washington Post Raised No Concerns About Justice Breyer’s Fitness After Reporting He Was Arrested For Underage Drinking

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Joe Simonson Media Reporter
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The Washington Post paid little attention to the fact that Supreme Court Justice Stephen G. Breyer was arrested as a student at Stanford University for underage drinking in a profile of him in 1994.

Malcolm Gladwell wrote a brief biography of the judge’s youth shortly after Breyer’s nomination by President Bill Clinton. A staunch member of the progressive wing of the Supreme Court — as well at the time the the 1st US Circuit Court of Appeals — Breyer is seen by many legal scholars as the opposite of more originalist jurists like Justice Samuel Alito.

In his piece, Gladwell describes the future justice’s career, which followed a “quintessential legal trajectory” and included his membership of Phi Beta Kappa at Stanford, a masters from Oxford University, a law degree obtained through Harvard University and eventually a clerkship at the Supreme Court.

Yet Gladwell’s fawning also includes a bit of an embarrassing tidbit about Breyer’s past, which includes “getting arrested at one point for underage drinking” as a denizen at Stanford. (RELATED: Justice Breyer Draws Laughs With ‘Drain The Swamp’ References In Endangered Frog Case)

Gladwell devotes a total of one sentence to the incident, before quickly explaining how Breyer “received just one B” as an undergrad before winning a Marshall scholarship to Oxford.

Breyer’s treatment by a then-Post correspondent contrasts with the paper’s coverage of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, despite extremely similar educational and social backgrounds.

Since facing several allegations of sexual assault, reporters at The Post have honed-in on his drinking in both high school and college.

Starting in September, The Post published an article entitled “Kavanaugh’s ‘choir boy’ image on Fox interview rankles former Yale classmates,” which featured interviews from various students who told the paper that he had a history of heavy drinking as student at Yale University.

Kavanaugh told the Senate that he could recall periods where he had too much to drink.

The Post also published an article by a professor of psychology at Arizona State University on Sept. 28 that claimed children from affluent backgrounds like Kavanaugh “are more likely to abuse alcohol,” despite there being no evidence that he has ever struggled with addiction.

On Tuesday, one of the paper’s fact checkers, Glenn Kessler, questioned whether Kavanaugh had “a problem with alcohol as a young man.” Kavanaugh has denied any suggestion.

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