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Yale Law School Alum Nominated to Supreme Court
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Brett Kavanaugh

Summary: Brett Kavanaugh, a Yale Law School alumni and former clerk for Anthony Kennedy, has been nominated as the next member of the court but some are not happy about that.

With United States Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy retiring at the end of the month, finding a replacement has been powering through. President Donald Trump has narrowed down his picks to Yale Law School alum Brett Kavanaugh, 53. Despite what is a big accomplishment for the law school, a small group of students, staff and alumni are not impressed, according to the Huffington Post.


On Tuesday night, in response to a press release from the law school praising Kavanaugh’s accomplishments, over 200 students, staff and alumni signed an open letter calling on the law school to rescind its support of Kavanaugh, class of 1990, due to his conservative ideals. They called his nomination to the Supreme Court an “emergency.”

Yale Law School deputy director of communications Debra Kroszner said Wednesday, “Yale Law School is a nonpartisan institution. We routinely acknowledge high-profile nominations of our alumni. We did exactly the same thing not so long ago when Justice Sonia Sotomayor ’79 received her nomination to the High Court.”

The letter addressed to Dean Heather Gerken and the school’s leadership stated, “The press release’s focus on the nominee’s professionalism, pedigree, and service to Yale Law School obscures the true stakes of his nomination and raises a disturbing question. It there nothing more important to Yale Law School than its proximity to power and prestige?”

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The letter further claims that Kavanaugh would be a “rubber stamp for President Trump’s fraud and abuse.” It added, “At a time when the President and his associates are under investigation for various serious crimes, including colluding with the Russian government and obstructing justice, Judge Kavanaugh’s extreme deference to the Executive poses a direct threat to our democracy.”

The group object to Kavanaugh’s conservative viewpoints on things like abortion, noting his dissent on a case involving an underage illegal immigrant seeking an abortion while in custody in Texas. Kavanaugh also dissented in a case involving the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive mandate requirement, stating the mandate violated the rights of religious organizations.

Kavanaugh also worked with independent counsel Ken Starr to prosecute then-President Bill Clinton, drafting the Starr Report urging the impeachment of the president. He also led the investigation into the suicide of Vince Foster, Clinton’s aide. Kavanaugh also worked with the legal team for George W. Bush during the 2000 election recount, later joining the administration as White House Staff Secretary.

The letter ended, “Perhaps you, as an institution and as individuals, will benefit less from Judge Kavanaugh’s ascendant power if you withhold your support but people will die if he is confirmed. We hope you agree your sacrifice would be worth it.”

Kavanaugh is currently a United States Circuit Judge for the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. After law school, he clerked for Judge Walter King Stapleton of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit and Just Alex Kozinski of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. He then was able to earn a one-year fellowship with the Solicitor General of the United States, Ken Starr, before going on to clerk for Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy.

Do you think the school should rescind support just because of an alums political party? When would be an appropriate time to not support their alumni? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

To learn more about Yale Law School, read these articles:




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