Yale Law professor Amy Chua has denied reports that she advised students seeking a judicial clerkship for Judge Brett Kavanaugh about their physical appearance, calling them “outrageous” and “100 percent false.”
According to multiple reports (see here, here, and here), Chua allegedly said it was “not an accident” that his female clerks “looked like models.” Her husband, Jed Rubenfeld, also a top professor at Yale Law, reportedly made similar comments to students, allegedly telling one that "Judge Kavanaugh hires women with a certain look.”
Yale Law School dean Heather Gerken said the reports were of “enormous concern."
But in a statement posted on Twitter, Chua strongly denied the allegations.
“Everything that is being said about the advice I give to students applying to Brett Kavanaugh — or any judge — is outrageous, 100% false, and the exact opposite of everything I have stood for and said for the last fifteen years,” she said. “I advise students, male and female, to dress professionally — not too casually — and to avoid inappropriate clothing,” she added. “I always try my best to be frank and transparent, and to hold students to the highest professional standard.”
Above all, the professor said she emphasizes substance.
"I always tell students to prep insanely hard — that substance is the most important thing," she said. "I advise them to read every opinion, including dissents, the judge has ever written as well as important recent cases from the circuit and Supreme Court."
Chua has been outspoken in her support of Kavanaugh, writing in July about how the Supreme Court nominee “is a mentor to women.”
In the past decade, I have helped place 10 Yale Law School students with Judge Kavanaugh, eight of them women. I recently emailed them to ask about their clerkship experiences. They all responded almost instantaneously. They cited his legendary work ethic (“He expected us to work really hard, but there was always one person working harder than us—the Judge”), his commitment to excellence (“he wants every opinion that comes out of his chambers to be perfect; it is not uncommon to go through 30-50 drafts”), his humility (“He can take a great joke just as easily as he can land one”), and his decency (“I’ve never seen him be rude to anyone in the building”).
To a person, they described his extraordinary mentorship. “When I accepted his offer to clerk,” one woman wrote, “I had no idea I was signing up for a lifelong mentor who feels an enduring sense of responsibility for each of his clerks.” Another said: “I can’t imagine making a career decision without his advice.” And another: “He’s been an incredible mentor to me despite the fact that I’m a left-of-center woman. He always takes into account my goals rather than giving generic advice.”
These days the press is full of stories about powerful men exploiting or abusing female employees. That makes it even more striking to hear Judge Kavanaugh’s female clerks speak of his decency and his role as a fierce champion of their careers.
She even explained that her daughter was scheduled to begin a clerkship with Kavanaugh, writing that “there is no judge I would trust more than Brett Kavanaugh" to be a mentor to her.