NYT Collecting Thousands of Law Professors’ Signatures Urging Senate to Halt Kavanaugh Confirmation

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Posted: Oct 04, 2018 2:30 PM
NYT Collecting Thousands of Law Professors’ Signatures Urging Senate to Halt Kavanaugh Confirmation

The New York Times is collecting thousands of signatures from law professors across America for a letter urging Senators to vote against Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court. Completely ignoring the multitude of increasingly dubious allegations of sexual assault and gang rape against him, the letter instead bases its recommendation on Kavanaugh’s supposed lack of “judicial temperament.”

The New York Times has announced that it intends to deliver this letter to the Senate today:

As of this writing, the Times has already accumulated more than 1,700 signatures for their activist campaign. The signatories include dozens of professors from America’s top law schools, including Harvard (with more than 30 signatories so far), Stanford (more than 20), Columbia (more than 30), Yale (more than 20), and Berkeley (more than 30), just to name a few.

The text of the letter that these law professors signed scrupulously avoids making any direct reference to the fact that Kavanaugh’s emotional defense of his character before the Senate Judiciary Committee last Thursday was in direct response to allegations that he had been one of the ringleaders of an organized gang that systematically drugged and raped young women over a span of years while he was in high school. Instead, in a somewhat Orwellian fashion, the letter only obliquely refers to this horrendous, uncorroborated allegation (along with those levied by Christine Blasey Ford and Deborah Ramirez) as “the question at issue.”

Moreover, the letter also dishonestly frames Kavanaugh’s behavior at the hearing as necessitating the calm, impartial demeanor of a judge making a determination about a legal case, ignoring the stark reality that Kavanaugh was, in fact, the defendant in a vicious public trial by media:

“We are law professors who teach, research and write about the judicial institutions of this country. Many of us appear in state and federal court, and our work means that we will continue to do so, including before the United States Supreme Court. We regret that we feel compelled to write to you, our Senators, to provide our views that at the Senate hearings on Sept. 27, Judge Brett Kavanaugh displayed a lack of judicial temperament that would be disqualifying for any court, and certainly for elevation to the highest court of this land.

The question at issue was of course painful for anyone. 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.

The brief letter concludes by arguing that Judge Kavanaugh’s defense before the Senate indicated that he has a “bias” too extreme to allow him to be put on the Supreme Court and urges Senators to ignore whether Kavanaugh possesses the standard judicial qualifications for the position:

We have differing views about the other qualifications of Judge Kavanaugh. 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.

The New York Times’s latest experiment in political activism can be read in full at this link.