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Dean of Yale Law School: Stop the Kavanaugh Confirmation Process Immediately


Dr. Christine Blasey Ford Hearing

The dean at Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh‘s alma mater, Yale Law School, has joined the American Bar Association (ABA), Yale faculty and Yale students in calling for a halt to the confirmation process in lieu of further investigation into claims of sexual assault and sexual misconduct.

Dean Heather Gerken said the following in a statement on Friday:

I join the American Bar Association in calling for additional investigation into allegations made against Judge Kavanaugh. Proceeding with the confirmation process without further investigation is not in the best interest of the Court or our profession.

Indeed, the American Bar Association has also released a statement echoing this.

ABA president Robert M. Carlson said in a letter to Committee Chairman Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) and ranking member Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California) that Senators should only make a decision on Kavanaugh “after an appropriate background check into the allegations made by Professor Ford and others is completed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.”

Carlson said that a rushed vote on a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court of the United States would erode trust in the American justice system.

“Each appointment to our nation’s Highest Court (as with all others) is simply too important to rush to a vote,” he said. “Deciding to proceed without conducting additional investigation would not only have a lasting impact on the Senate’s reputation, but it will also negatively affect the great trust necessary for the American people to have in the Supreme Court. It must remain an institution that will reliably follow the law and not politics.”

Earlier in the week, Yale Law School faculty and Yale Law School students began to mobilize against Kavanaugh.

Students dressed in black filled the halls at Yale Law School, as part of a sit-in. It happened after Yale alumna Deborah Ramirez in a New Yorker story that Kavanaugh committed sexual misconduct by exposing himself when she was drunk during a dorm room party.

Thirty-one classes were cancelled as a result of the protest.

A number of faculty members (dozens) at Yale Law School, as well, demanded that the Senate Judiciary Committee wait on confirming Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

They asked the committee to delay the vote on Kavanaugh until Ford is given more than a “partisan hearing.”

“With so much at stake for the Supreme Court and the nation, we are concerned about a rush to judgment that threatens both the integrity of the process and the public’s confidence in the Court,” they wrote. “Where, as here, a sexual assault has been alleged against an individual nominated for a lifetime appointment in a position of public trust, a partisan hearing alone cannot be the forum to determine the truth of the matter.”

“Allegations of sexual assault require a neutral factfinder and an investigation that can ascertain facts fairly. Those at the FBI or others tasked with such an investigation must have adequate time to investigate facts,” they continued. “Fair process requires evidence from all parties with direct knowledge and consultation of experts when evaluating such evidence. In subsequent hearings, all of those who testify, and particularly women testifying about sexual assault, must be treated with respect.”

At the end of the open letter, the faculty members said that this is a particularly issue because Kavanaugh’s appointment “will yield a deciding vote on women’s rights and myriad other questions of immense consequence in American lives.”

If the Senate Judiciary Committee vote on Friday is 11-10 as anticipated, the vote on Kavanaugh’s confirmation will then go to the floor of the U.S. Senate.

Ronn Blitzer contributed to this report.

[Image via Andrew Harnik/AFP/Getty Images]

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Matt Naham is the Senior A.M. Editor of Law&Crime.