The conservative writer Mark Judge found himself in the spotlight this month when Christine Blasey Ford alleged that he’d helped Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh try to sexually assault her while they were all in high school in the 1980s.
But Judge has been keeping a low profile. “How’d you find me?” he asked a Washington Post reporter who found him holed up at a house in a Delaware beach town.
It’s no wonder he left town. In the last couple of weeks, an ex-girlfriend has branded him a liar, a pitbull lawyer has hinted at more sexual misconduct, and his history of sexist and questionable writings has been picked apart.
Judge, who has denied being part of any sexual assault, has declined to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee about the Kavanaugh allegations—and the Republicans on the committee aren’t eager to have him appear either.
So who is the man that Democrats would love to grill but the GOP is happy to keep away from the hearings? In a series of memoirs and articles, Judge has passed himself off as a kind of modern-day Augustine: a Catholic who found faith later in life and is regretful—but not too much—of a youth spent in drunken sexual debauchery.
Some of those writings and some people from his past have now come back to haunt him.
Judge has written two memoirs that touch on his experience as a teenage alcoholic at Georgetown Prep, Wasted: Tales of a GenX Drunk and God and Man at Georgetown Prep. The picture Judge paints of his youth in the privileged environs of northwest Washington DC is booze-soaked, sex-filled and consequence-free.
He writes about hiring a stripper for a party and embarking on a quest to make it through 100 kegs before he finished high school. In Wasted, Judge references a character named “Bart O’Kavanaugh” having a blackout and vomiting at a high school party.
Judge recalls his escapades as mostly harmless mischief. But now he’s the target of darker allegations.
Elizabeth Rasor, a college girlfriend of Judge, told the The New Yorker that he had confessed to embarrassment at having group sex with an inebriated woman alongside a number of other boys. “I can’t stand by and watch him lie,” Rasor told the magazine.
Judge, through an attorney, said he “categorically denies” the allegation.
The pages of his high school yearbook contain a snippet that advertised views on women that would resurface in later writings—a quote from Noel Coward that read, "Certain women should be struck regularly, like gongs."
Although Judge eventually got sober, he didn’t lose his adolescent humor.
In 2014, he posted a Craigslist ad seeking a "bikini model reading conservative pamphlets in a hotel room." The project, purportedly on behalf of The Daily Caller, was designed to satirize "Fox News babes" and "the feminist discomfort with a woman with God-given sex appeal and curves (nature is not politically correct)." The Daily Caller denied any involvement and Judge, a sometime Caller contributor, later outed himself as the author.
As a writer and pundit, Judge focused on the nexus of popular culture, politics, and sex with frequent riffs against feminism and liberal politics and in favor of Catholic traditionalism.
Judge railed against what he called a “lavender mafia” of gay priests who supposedly undermined Catholic orthodoxy on sex, and laid the blame for the church’s child sexual abuse scandals at their feet. He praised Pope John Paul II’s more conservative 1979 “Theology of the Body” as a healthier ideology of human sexuality for the church.
Sexual consent, and the absence of it, would also crop up as a theme in his writing.
In a 2013 piece for Acculturated.com, Judge wrote about the ambiguities of women’s sexual consent in a piece that has raised eyebrows in light of the allegations against him. “There’s never any excuse to rape, a crime that I think is almost akin to murder because the rapist kills a part of the human soul. And yet what women wear and their body language also send signals about their sexuality, he wrote. While women who dress modestly are clearly not interested in male attention, “women who dress like prostitutes are also sending out signals,” Judge claimed, adding that “the signal is not that they should be raped.”
In a 2015 ode to pulp detective fiction for Splice Today, he writes about the existence of an “ambiguous middle ground” between receiving explicit sexual consent from a woman and hearing “no” from her. In those circumstances, he writes, “if that man is any kind of man, he’ll allow himself to feel the awesome power, the wonderful beauty, of uncontrollable male passion.”
In a 1996 piece for the City Paper, “Bitch Hunt,” Judge was quoted as criticizing the Washington dating scene while jokingly bragging of having gone on 800 dates that year. "Women's self-esteem is so low that they need to build themselves up by knocking others down,” he said of metro-area single women. “You can see this at any bar in the city. It's like, pay attention to me. OK, now I hate you."
Judge’s name first surfaced during Kavanaugh’s nomination when Ford alleged that he had been a participant in the attempted rape she described in a confidential letter to Sen. Dianne Feinstein.
The letter, now published by the Senate Judiciary Committee, alleges Kavanaugh had “the assistance of his close friend, Mark G. Judge" who "periodically jumped onto Kavanaugh” during the incident and yelled "go for it" and "stop" as Kavanaugh allegedly held Ford down and tried to pull off her bathing suit.
Judge claims it’s a fiction.
"It's just absolutely nuts. I never saw Brett act that way," he told The Weekly Standard when the allegations first surfaced.
Both Senate Democrats and Ford’s attorneys have asked that the Judiciary Committee subpoena him to testify about alleged incident. But Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) has said there’s “no reason to” subpoena Judge and that “he’s already said what he’s going to say”—a reference to a terse letter from Judge’s attorney saying his client “no memory of this alleged incident.”
The Washington Post reported Monday night that Judge’s attorney, Barbara Van Gelder, told him to leave Washington once the Kavanaugh hearing date was set and he was not on the witness list.
She said he is having trouble coping with all the attention.
“He is being hounded. He is a recovering alcoholic and is under unbelievable stress,” she said. “He needed for his own health to get out of this toxic environment and take care of himself.”