News & Politics

'Tiger Mom' Who Called Kavanaugh a 'Mentor to Women' Told Student He Likes Female Law Clerks to Look 'Outgoing': Report

In private, Kavanaugh supporter Amy Chua's tone on the judge's hiring practices was slightly different.

Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Chua

Before Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh was hit with a sexual assault allegation, his defenders sought to paint him as a champion of women's empowerment.

No one has more enthusiastically led this charge than Amy Chua, an elite Yale Law School professor who is best known for her controversial 2011 book on "Tiger Mom" parenting. In a recent Wall Street Journal editorial titled "Kavanaugh Is a Mentor to Women," she noted the number of women he hires as law clerks, and proudly stated that her own daughter recently accepted a clerkship. "The qualities he exhibits with his clerks may provide important evidence about the kind of justice he would be," she said.

But according to a new report from the Huffington Post, in private, Chua's characterization of Kavanaugh's job offers to women takes on a somewhat less progressive tone.

The report details the experience of an anonymous law student who, after Chua's husband and fellow professor Jed Rubenfeld told her Kavanaugh likes female law clerks to have a "certain look," sought Chua's advice. Chua — who is renowned for helping law students land clerkships — concurred, warning her to dress "outgoing," and offering to review her wardrobe before an interview.

Neither Chua nor Rubenfeld provided a reason for Kavanaugh's fixation on physical appearance, untoward or otherwise, although both stressed they had never seen evidence he had inappropriate motivations.

Even if Kavanaugh's hiring of women to prestigious clerkships is, in fact, driven by positive intentions, it is hardly a giveaway of liberal beliefs — especially weighing the tiny pool of women who could ever be mentored by a federal judge against the millions upon millions of women who would be threatened by Kavanaugh's retrogressive beliefs on reproductive rights.

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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.