Yale law students and alumni, mostly millennials and gen-X with a few baby boomers, have signed an ill-tempered open letter attacking the school for embracing the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court of the United States by president Donald Trump. The letter remains open to additions and at the time of writing has 326 signatories, with 293 from the ‘class of 2000’ onwards.
Accusations of endorsement
The letter criticizes the jurist’s record. The law school was delighted to see another its products making their way to the Supreme Court, issuing a press release in which Dean Heather Gerken described judge Kavanaugh as a friend and Professor William Eskridge described him as ‘one of the most learned judges in America.’ Many current students, tutors and some alumni viewed the statements as an endorsement. The letter states ‘We write today as Yale Law students, alumni, and educators ashamed of our alma mater. Within an hour of Donald Trump’s announcement that he would nominate Brett Kavanaugh, YLS ‘90, to the Supreme Court, the law school published a press release boasting of its alumnus’s accomplishment. The signatories accuse the law school of placing its proximity to power and prestige first, and assert ‘Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination presents an emergency — for democratic life, for our safety and freedom, for the future of our country.’
'People will die'
His nomination, the letter argues, is a political choice that threatens the most vulnerable. The letter states ‘Trump has repeatedly promised to appoint justices who would overturn Roe v. Wade’ and ‘his nomination of Judge Kavanaugh is a reliable way to fulfill his oath.’ His record is attacked in a form of litany: contraception and religious organizations, other forms of medical care, transgender patients, family privacy, sexual liberty and LGBT discrimination. Moreover ‘Judge Kavanaugh would also act as a rubber stamp for President Trump’s fraud and abuse,’ and another litany of his views on issues was listed as an assault on the administrative state: the environment, predatory lenders, for-profit colleges, net neutrality, the first amendment, vulnerable individuals, disabilities, remedial education, undocumented workers, right to picket, separation of church and state, and ‘The list goes on.’ The letter concludes judge Kavanaugh is ‘an intellectually and morally bankrupt ideologue intent on rolling back our rights and the rights of our clients.’ It then concludes, ‘Now is the time for moral courage’ and ‘people will die if he is confirmed.’