Harvard Cancels Kavanaugh's Spring Law Class

Posted: Oct 02, 2018 7:00 AM
Harvard Cancels Kavanaugh's Spring Law Class

Harvard Law School on Monday announced that Judge Brett Kavanaugh will not be teaching come January, the Boston Herald reported. He was slated to teach a three week course entitled "The Supreme Court Since 2005.”

“Today, Judge Kavanaugh indicated that he can no longer commit to teaching his course in January Term 2019, so the course will not be offered,” Catherine Claypoole, the law school’s associate dean and dean for academic and faculty affairs, told students via email. 

For days, students have protested, demanding Harvard officials to launch an investigation into Kavanaugh before he was allowed to return to teach. The Undergraduate Council was one of the primary forces behind the call for an investigation.

“The Undergraduate Council stands in solidarity with Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, Deborah Ramirez, Julie Swetnick, and all survivors of sexual violence,” the council wrote in a letter requesting the investigation, the Harvard Crimson reported. “We also stand with members of Harvard Law School who request a full and fair investigation into allegations against Judge Kavanaugh before he is allowed back on campus to teach.”

Harvard Law dean John Manning sent an email to student about the allegations.

“The Supreme Court confirmation fight has brought into sharp focus questions about sexual assault, fair process, fitness and character for high office, the integrity of the political process, and more,” Manning wrote. “I appreciate the many students who have spoken out and expressed views on these critical issues.”

At the same time, Manning refused to comment on Kavanaugh’s status at Harvard.

“I know that many of you are unsatisfied with the answer that we cannot comment on personnel matters in particular cases,” Manning wrote. “Still, I can provide you this assurance: When concerns and allegations arise about individuals in our teaching program, we take those concerns and allegations seriously, conduct necessary inquiries, complete our process, and then act.”

A number of Harvard Alumni were not happy with Manning's response. A SurveyMonkey letter has been spread among alumni. Over 700 people have signed the letter, asking that Kavanaugh be kept from teaching:

September 28, 2018

Dear Dean Manning,

We are alumni of Harvard Law School. We write to ask that the Law School rescind Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh's appointment as the Samuel Williston Lecturer on Law, and that he not be allowed to teach on the January 2019 Winter Term.

Now more than ever, HLS must send a clear message that it takes sexual violence seriously. Too often throughout history, sexual assault and violence against women and girls have been dismissed. Victims have been ignored, personally attacked, and revictimized when they come forward. Perpetrators -- often privileged men in positions of power -- have been protected. This has been true in every corner of both the legal profession and academia. The accusations against Judge Kavanaugh, including those by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, are credible and grave. They seriously call into question his character and morality, and should disqualify him from a lifetime appointment as a Supreme Court Justice. They likewise should disqualify him from any position of esteem, including lectureships at HLS.

In addition to the substance of these allegations, Judge Kavanaugh’s comportment and testimony during the appointment process have cast further doubt on his fitness to serve on the Supreme Court. The American Bar Association has called for a delay in the appointment process until an FBI investigation can be conducted, and has emphasized the rule of law imperatives underscoring the need for such an investigation. The Dean of Yale Law School likewise has asked for further investigation. As of the writing of this letter, it appears that some further investigation now will take place. Yet Judge Kavanaugh -- a longtime D.C. Circuit judge who no doubt has frequently recognized the fact-finding utility of investigations in the numerous criminal appeals over which he has presided -- has not supported or called for an FBI investigation. He has not supported or called for key witnesses to be subpoenaed. Perhaps more troublingly, he has demonstrated partisanship unprecedented by a Supreme Court nominee, an explosive temperament, and a worrisome lack of respect for female Senators on the Senate Judiciary Committee. His characterization of Democratic members of the Committee as “an embarrassment,” his claim that the allegations were “a calculated and orchestrated political hit” by the left, and his belligerent responses to Senators’ respectful questions at Thursday’s hearing demonstrate a disregard for the rule of law, separation of powers, and other key Constitutional principles that HLS has appointed him to teach.

HLS no doubt has numerous other candidates for these prestigious lectureships. We believe that Judge Kavanaugh’s appointment as an HLS lecturer sends a message to law students, and in particular female students, that powerful men are above the law, and that obstructive, inappropriate behavior will be rewarded. Judge Kavanaugh is not leadership material, and he is not lectureship material. HLS would be tarnished to have him on campus in any position of authority. We ask that you rescind his lectureship.  

Thank you for your time and consideration.

According to the Crimson, alumni aren't the only ones writing letters to Manning. 

"Current Law School students have also put pen to paper to voice their displeasure over Kavanaugh’s teaching role. Enrollees in at least six of seven first-year Law student “sections” — class sub-groups comprising roughly 80 students each — organized and sent separate letters to Manning over the weekend," the Crimson reported.