Two of Kavanaugh's Yale classmates retract their statements of support

The Yale alums withdrew their support based on Kavanaugh's blatantly partisan statements during the Senate hearing

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published October 3, 2018 10:26AM (EDT)

Brett Kavanaugh (AP/Alex Brandon)
Brett Kavanaugh (AP/Alex Brandon)

Two of Brett Kavanaugh's former Yale classmates, who initially supported his confirmation to the Supreme Court, have written a letter retracting their endorsement due to his blatantly partisan statements at last week's Senate hearing.

The letter, which was directed toward Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley and Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein, opened by mentioning the initial statement of support for Kavanaugh that had been signed by twenty-three of his Yale Law School classmates. It then goes on to argue that two of the signatories for that letter, Michael J. Proctor and Mark Osler, feel compelled to "withdraw our support for that letter and Judge Kavanaugh's confirmation." Their reasons had less to do with the question of whether Kavanaugh or his most prominent accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, is telling the truth and more to do with Kavanaugh's partisan statements during the hearing:

The reason for our withdrawal is not the truth or falsity of Dr. Ford's allegations, which are still being investigated, but rather was the nature of Judge Kavanaugh's testimony. In our view that testimony was partisan, and not judicious, and inconsistent with what we expect from a Justice of the Supreme Court, particularly when dealing with a co-equal branch of government.

The letter goes on to quote one of Kavanaugh's earlier statements about partisanship in the court, in which he said that "the Supreme Court must never be viewed as a partisan institution." Proctor and Osler agree with that statement and cite it as further proof that Kavanaugh should not be confirmed.

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Proctor and Osler are not alone in expressing concern about Kavanaugh's decision to characterize the hearings as a Democratic witch hunt and to vow that "what goes around comes around" against the Democrats pursuing the inquiries. Over 900 law professors have signed a letter raising the same concerns about Kavanaugh.

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 located the hearing as a partisan question, 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 questioners.


By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer at Salon. He received a Master's Degree in History from Rutgers-Newark in 2012 and was awarded a science journalism fellowship from the Metcalf Institute in 2022.

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