Yesterday, The Bayou Brief reported that Adrian Perkins, a 32-year-old Democratic candidate for mayor of Shreveport, was one of only eight former or current members of Harvard Law’s Black Law Student Association (BLSA) listed as a signatory of a letter submitted to both the White House and the Senate Judiciary Committee praising embattled Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
Perkins, who has refused to answer or acknowledge our repeated requests for comment, reacted to the report on social media and in an e-mail sent to The Shreveport Times, alleging that his name and others were used without their permission. He “declined to say whether he supported Kavanaugh,” the paper reports.
If his allegations of fraud are true, the letter, which was entered into the public record on Aug. 29 and mentioned by Sen. Mike Crapo during Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing on Sept. 6, should raise significant questions about the integrity and credibility of the Senate’s rushed effort to approve the nomination.
“This is a letter that exhibits Judge Kavanaugh’s commitment to fostering diversity in the legal profession,” Crapo said.
The Harvard Crimson reported on the letter’s prominent role in the proceedings, and the Harvard BLSA issued a separate statement distancing itself from the endorsement.
“I started — on my own — going to the Yale Black Law Students Association every year starting in 2012. I think I’m the only judge who has done something like that or certainly one of the few,” Kavanaugh told the committee later that day, responding to a question from Sen. Cory Booker. “And I just cold called them, cold emailed them and said I’d like to come speak about minority law clerk hiring because I’m told there’s a problem.”
Perkins asserts that he has never met Kavanaugh and did not attend the Harvard BLSA event with the judge that is referenced in the letter.
“Several of the other past presidents who are listed in that letter have also confirmed their names were listed without their consent,” he stated to The Shreveport Times.
However, of the eight individuals listed on the letter, Perkins is the only one who ever served as a student government president of Harvard Law, and thus far, he is the only person to publicly allege the letter was fraudulent. (He is not the only person with a connection to Louisiana; another signatory, Abraham Williamson, once worked as an intern for former Sen. Mary Landrieu).
According to The Boston Globe, one of Perkins’ classmates helped to organize the effort in support of Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination.
On his campaign’s Facebook page, Perkins shared a screen capture of an email exchange on Sept. 6 with Merve Ciplak, a student reporter with The Harvard Law Record and a copy of a letter he claims to have emailed to Sens. Chuck Grassley and Dianne Feinstein on Sept. 10.
In his reply to Ciplak, who said she was “currently looking into… a question of support of some of the signers,” Perkins claims he was too busy to respond to a request for an interview and that he “did not authorize the use of my name on that document.” A portion of the exchange provided by Perkins appears to be partially redacted.
“In response, I emailed the Senate Judiciary and requested that my name be removed from the letter,” Perkins wrote on his campaign’s Facebook page, attaching the document above as evidence.
“Please note that the dates on the emails predate the article written by (The Bayou Brief),” Perkins contended.
Although Perkins produced a time-stamped email to The Harvard Law Record, he has yet to provide any documentation that his email to Sens. Grassley and Feinstein was actually sent.
Neither the Senate Judiciary Committee or the White House have redacted Perkins’ name, as he requested, and thus far, the email does not appear anywhere in the public record.
“It was a big surprise to me to hear about this because all of my attention has been on Shreveport and the future of Shreveport so to be wrapped up in kind of this national thing has been kind of a surprise,” Perkins told KTBS earlier today.