Two days after hundreds of Yale Law School students and alumni circulated a petition condemning the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh ’87 LAW ’90 to the U.S. Supreme Court, 145 members of the Yale community have signed a letter defending the judge as a qualified and reputable choice for the seat vacated by retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy.
The letter describes Kavanaugh as “one of our nation’s most distinguished jurists” and praises the Law School faculty who spoke highly of him in a Yale press release on Monday. The press release drew scorn from the authors of the first petition, who accused the Law School of prioritizing “power and prestige” and ignoring the “threat that Judge Kavanaugh poses” to abortion rights and other liberal causes. As of Thursday afternoon, 574 law students, alumni and educators had signed the first petition.
Thursday’s counter petition defended the commentary from Yale Law professors featured in Monday’s press release as “respectful, civil, and entirely accurate comments” that represent “a breath of fresh air.”
“Judge Kavanaugh is a distinguished jurist qualified for the highest public service,” the letter continues. “He should be given the fair, principled, and swift consideration he deserves.”
The latest petition is not the first defense of Kavanaugh to be mounted by the Yale community since his nomination. Earlier this week, Yale law professor Akhil Reed Amar penned an op-ed in the New York Times — titled “A Liberal’s Case for Brett Kavanaugh” — in which he described the judge, a former pupil of his, as qualified and studious.
“The nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to be the next Supreme Court justice is President Trump’s finest hour, his classiest move,” Amar wrote.
And in a statement responding to the first petition, Yale spokesman Tom Conroy emphasized that the Law School is “a nonpartisan institution.”
“We routinely acknowledge high-profile nominations of our alumni,” he said. “We did exactly the same thing not so long ago when Justice Sonia Sotomayor ’79 received her nomination to the High Court.”
Prominent signatories of the letter defending Kavanaugh include J.D. Vance LAW ’13, author of “Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis,” and law professor Jonathan Macey.