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In the days after a California professor accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh ’87 LAW ’90 of sexual assault, Yale administrators and faculty members who praised the nominee this summer have remained silent amid renewed opposition to his candidacy.

Earlier this summer, Christine Blasey Ford, a professor at Palo Alto University, alleged in a letter that, at a high school party more than 30 years ago, Kavanaugh drunkenly pinned her on a bed, groped her and forced his hands over her mouth. The Intercept first reported the allegations anonymously late last week, and on Sunday, Ford described the incident publicly for the first time in an interview with the Washington Post.

The allegation has led to a new push by Democrats to suspend Kavanaugh’s Senate confirmation vote while the FBI investigates Ford’s accusation. But Senate Republicans have pledged to continue the confirmation process as scheduled.

In July, the Yale Law School issued a press release in which several top faculty members praised Kavanaugh for his government and judicial service, as well as his opinions and mentorship.

In a statement to the News on Sunday evening, Yale Law School spokeswoman Janet Conroy wrote that the July press release was not “an endorsement” of Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court.

“As we have said before, Yale Law School is a nonpartisan institution. While individual faculty members may make comments regarding a particular candidate, the law school neither endorses nor opposes candidates for office,” she wrote in her statement to the News. “We routinely have acknowledged high-profile nominations of our alums in this way, including the nomination of Justice Sotomayor.”

Conroy did not comment directly on the new allegations. And she did not respond to an email asking whether the Yale faculty members who praised Kavanaugh stand by their statements or whether the law school would comment on the allegation against its alumnus.

None of the five Yale professors quoted in the release, including Yale Law School Dean Heather Gerken and Sterling Professor Akhil Reed Amar ’80 LAW ’84, responded to requests for comment on Sunday.

Ford told the Post that she was able to escape Kavanaugh when a friend of his jumped on top of them. She said she then fled the house after briefly locking herself in a bathroom.

The sexual misconduct allegations are the first against Kavanaugh. As an undergraduate, he was a member of Delta Kappa Epsilon, the fraternity that came under fire this year over allegations of sexual misconduct. But in Kavanaugh’s time, the fraternity was relatively tame, according to undergraduates who attended the University in the 1980s. He was also a member of Truth and Courage, an all-male club popular among athletes and known to some by the nickname “Tit and Clit.”

The original statement from Yale Law School drew criticism this summer, prompting 909 members of the Yale community to sign an open letter condemning the University for “boasting of its alumnus’s accomplishment.” In a counter petition, 292 other community members defended the Supreme Court nominee, praising the faculty members who spoke highly of Kavanaugh.

On Sunday, Allen Davis GRD ’20, a graduate student in the Astronomy Department, wrote an email to Dean Gerken, urging her to rescind her endorsement of Judge Kavanaugh. In the Yale Law School press release, Gerken wrote that Kavanaugh was “a longtime friend” to many at the law school and that she admired him for his mentorship and teaching.

In the letter, Davis urged Gerken and the law school to speak out publicly against Kavanaugh’s appointment. In 1991, he noted, Anita Hill LAW ’80 testified that then-nominee and current Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas LAW ’74 had sexually harassed her.

“I don’t think we want to be known as the school that produced both the sexual harasser and the sexual assaulter on the Supreme Court,” Davis said. “It cheapens the value of a Yale education to have Yale associated with people who have been credibly accused of these types of actions.”

Davis said he viewed the allegation against Kavanaugh as “disqualifying.” Two Republican Senators, Jeff Flake, R-Ariz, and Bob Corker, R-Tenn, have already said the vote should be delayed until the Senate Judiciary Committee hears from Ford.

During Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings, Yale alumni and professors alike have testified before Congress both for and against the judge. Melissa Murray LAW ’02, a New York University School of Law professor who specializes in constitutional, family and reproductive rights law, called Kavanaugh “a vote against Roe,” referring to the landmark abortion decision Roe v. Wade. In contrast, 10 of his female classmates penned a letter maintaining that Kavanaugh was a respectful and humble friend who treated his classmates as equals.

On the Senate floor, Amar, who teaches a popular constitutional law course at Yale College, argued that Kavanaugh was the best possible option with a Republican president in office. Louisa Garry ’87, a college friend and one of the 10 who penned the letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee, recalled training for the Boston Marathon with the Supreme Court nominee. She added that Kavanaugh raised “strong, independent girls and women with confident voices.”

Kavanaugh graduated from the elite, all-male Georgetown Preparatory School in 1983.

Hailey Fuchs | hailey.fuchs@yale.edu

  • Thanh Nguyen

    She slap her own face. Review this statement :” … In contrast, 10 of his female classmates penned a letter maintaining that Kavanaugh was a respectful and humble friend who treated his classmates as equals.. “

  • sy

    YLS should comment on the 300 male students per year times four (about 10% per year; about 40% per college class) ruined for high public office nomination by Yale secret tribunal complaints for sexual harassment and assault. The secret tribunals, according to KC Johnson in The Weekly Standard, have never cleared a male student–issuing at least a reprimand or probation when he is unable to disprove the accusation. The conviction cannot be kept secret in a nomination review for federal office. There are not enough frats. The left is destroying its own, as always.

  • Nancy Morris

    The statements regarding Kavanaugh from Yale associates relate entirely to the experiences of the people providing those statements pre-dating these accusations, and nothing in the accusations has been verified.

    So there is no reason any such statement by any such Yale afgiliate should be altered at this point.

    Anyone arguing otherwise is clearly advancing a partisan agenda, and YLS correctly points out that it is not partisan.

  • yokel

    Why should this be a surprise?

  • Dally Saybrook

    O, now I remember that Brett Kavanaugh! I hadn’t said anything to anybody for thirty years, but it’s all come back to me now! Yes, yes, Brett Kavanaugh assumed the form of a black cat or some other devilish creature (I can’t recall exactly which one, but it had shiny eyes) years ago and came visiting in the night in order to torment me with bites and scratches, to rearrange my bedroom furniture, and then to send my baby into paroxysms! He must be stopped! Yale Law School must act!

    Yes, it was Brett Kavanaugh’s apparition—not the actual Brett Kavanaugh, but his spirit, his specter, that most violently pulled down my head behind a chest and tied my hands together with a whale band and almost choked me to death! I also strongly suspect Kavanaugh for the mysterious deaths of several of my cows and for causing a broom to fly up into an apple tree!

    Also, he’s one of those Papists that worship the Virgin Mary!

    • Graeme Murray

      Sarcasm is really hard to do. You should stop trying..

      • Silence Dogood

        Obviously got to you.

    • Silence Dogood

      Funny and telling,

  • willcommentforfood

    Kavanaugh’s pattern of promoting sex assault in his young adult years, & enabling his sex assaulting mentor judge, who recently was forced to resign, is too toxic & unacceptable for the Supreme Court. We don’t need another Clarence Thomas. The threat of a worse RW ideological pick is a dumb reason to wilt and surrender on this one. I don’t care how great a Dad he is to his daughters, since all this while, he gave a wink & a nod, if not a bullying bouncer role, to all the women his mentor abused. He worked for that ex judge, & still loves him , though he repeatedly sexually abused women. It’s unacceptable in 2018, and the Supreme Court needs people of higher character than creepy cruel Kavanaugh.

    • Nancy Morris

      Wow. You might want to spend some time reading up on the law of defamation, and the YDN editor who authorized the appearance of this comment might want to do the same.

      • willcommentforfood

        There’s always a rubbish excuse for when a Republican does it, but lock her up for the other side, your clown side’s idea of fairness & just-us. ZERO credibility. I feel sorry for all the women Supremes’ staff who’ll have to put up with this entitled serial harrasser, & empowerer of only the uber rich…

  • HansC

    “As an undergraduate, he was a member of Delta Kappa Epsilon, the
    fraternity that came under fire this year over allegations of sexual
    misconduct. But in Kavanaugh’s time, the fraternity was relatively tame,
    according to undergraduates who attended the University in the 1980s.”

    I seem to recall that George W. Bush was a member of DKE back in the 1960s, and have never seen any suggestion that it was “relatively tame” back in his day.

    Did it experience some kind of lull after he graduated?

    Perhaps the shining example of Bush and his cohort was just too difficult to emulate?