As accusations of sexual impropriety have threatened to upend the confirmation of Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, a common theme has emerged connecting the decades-old alleged incidents: heavy drinking.

Christine Blasey Ford described Judge Kavanaugh as “stumbling drunk” when, as a 17-year-old prep school student in suburban Washington, he allegedly tried to force himself on her during a party in 1982. Then, at an alcohol-fueled gathering during his freshman year at Yale, his former classmate Deborah Ramirez says, Judge Kavanaugh exposed himself to her. He has denied both allegations.

In prepared remarks for his expected committee testimony Thursday, Judge Kavanaugh acknowledged having drunk beer with friends in high school, and that “sometimes I had too many.” And in a Fox News interview on Monday, he said things might have happened back then that would make someone “regret or cringe a bit,” but he described them as normal and innocent, and certainly nothing approaching the drunken sexual assault alleged by Dr. Blasey.

“Yes, there were parties,” he said. “The drinking age was 18. And yes, the seniors were legal and had beer there, and yes, people might have had too many beers on occasion.”

In fact, the legal drinking age in Maryland, where Judge Kavanaugh grew up, was raised to 21 from 18 in 1982, when he was a high school senior, and he did not turn 18 until 1983.

A government-sponsored national study by the University of Michigan suggests that excessive alcohol consumption among teenagers was rampant during Judge Kavanaugh’s adolescence, peaking in the early 1980s, when nearly 40 percent of high school seniors reported binge drinking. Still, most teens were not doing it, meaning “the behavior was not unusual but it also was by no means normative,” Dr. Levy said.

Read the full article at The New York Times.