News & Politics

'Intemperate, Inflammatory And Partial': A Stunning 650+ Law Professors Urge Senate Not to Confirm Kavanaugh

Hundreds of legal scholars are warning the Senate that Brett Kavanaugh is unfit to sit on the Supreme Court.

Photo Credit: Yahoo News / Screengrab

As the groundswell of opposition to Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh continues to grow, many of the vocal critics of his nomination are law professors.

In fact, in an open letter published in The New York Times and set to be delivered to the Senate on Thursday, over 650 law professors — and counting — are urging the Senate to reject his confirmation, on the grounds that, regardless of his guilt or innocence in multiple allegations of sexual assault, his response to the Senate inquiry was so inappropriate and unbecoming a judge as to be disqualifying.

"The question at issue was of course painful for anyone," reads the letter. "But Judge Kavanaugh exhibited a lack of commitment to judicious inquiry. Instead of being open to the necessary search for accuracy, Judge Kavanaugh was repeatedly aggressive with questioners. Even in his prepared remarks, Judge Kavanaugh described the hearing as partisan, referring to it as 'a calculated and orchestrated political hit,' rather than acknowledging the need for the Senate, faced with new information, to try to understand what had transpired. Instead of trying to sort out with reason and care the allegations that were raised, Judge Kavanaugh responded in an intemperate, inflammatory and partial manner, as he interrupted and, at times, was discourteous to senators."

"As you know," the letter notes, "under two statutes governing bias and recusal, judges must step aside if they are at risk of being perceived as or of being unfair. As Congress has previously put it, a judge or justice 'shall disqualify himself in any proceeding in which his impartiality might reasonably be questioned.' These statutes are part of a myriad of legal commitments to the impartiality of the judiciary, which is the cornerstone of the courts."

"We have differing views about the other qualifications of Judge Kavanaugh," the professors conclude. "But we are united, as professors of law and scholars of judicial institutions, in believing that he did not display the impartiality and judicial temperament requisite to sit on the highest court of our land."

Among the signatories of the letter include professors at Yale Law School, Kavanaugh's own alma mater, and the site of one of the assault allegations; Harvard Law School, where Kavanaugh has taught classes and where student protest has resulted in his course being withdrawn; and from state universities in Maine and Arizona, states that are home to Republican senators who are reportedly still making up their minds.

These professors are not alone. As Kavanaugh's nomination has grown more toxic, some of his former law clerks have told the Judiciary Committee they support a full investigation of the claims against him, and even a woman used in dark-money television ads supporting Kavanaugh, Louisa Garry, asked to be removed from a letter supporting him.

The latest Reuters/Ipsos poll shows U.S. adults oppose confirming Kavanaugh by a margin of 41 to 33.

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Matthew Chapman is a video game designer, science fiction author, and political reporter from Austin, TX. Follow him on Twitter @fawfulfan.