Paul L. Caron

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Over 2,400 Law Profs (And At Least 44 Tax Profs) Sign Letter Opposing Kavanaugh's Confirmation

New York Times op-ed:  The Senate Should Not Confirm Kavanaugh, Signed, 2,400+ Law Professors (and Counting):

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. ...

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.

At least 44 Tax Profs signed the letter:

  • Nancy Abramowitz (American)
  • Alice Abreau (Temple)
  • Anne Alstott (Yale)
  • Lily Batchelder (NYU)
  • Jennifer Bird-Pollan (Kentucky)
  • Evelyn Brody (Chicago-Kent)
  • Fred Brown (Baltimore)
  • Neil Buchanan (George Washington)
  • Patricia Cain (Santa Clara)
  • Emily Cauble (DePaul)
  • Mark Cochran (St. Mary's)
  • Meredith Conway (Suffolk)
  • Bridget Crawford (Pace)
  • Laura Cunningham (Cardozo)
  • Noel Cunningham (NYU)
  • David Gamage (Indiana)
  • Jacob Goldin (Stanford)
  • Victoria Haneman (Creighton)
  • Mary Heen (Richmond)
  • Hayes Holderness (Richmond)
  • Tony Infanti (Pittsburgh)
  • Linda Jellum (Mercer)
  • Bradley Joondeph (Santa Clara)
  • Lily Kahng (Seattle)
  • Tracy Kaye (Seton Hall)
  • Marjorie Kornhauser (Tulane)
  • Leandra Lederman (Indiana)
  • Francine Lipman (UNLV)
  • Kyle Logue (Michigan)
  • Ray Madoff (Boston College)
  • Omri Marian (UC-Irvine)
  • Leo Martinez (UC-Hastings)
  • Beverly Moran (Vanderbilt)
  • Rebecca Morrow (Wake Forest(
  • Ann Murphy (Gonzaga)
  • Richard Pomp (Connecticut)
  • James Puckett (Penn State)
  • Jim Repetti (Boston College)
  • Toni Robinson (Quinnipiac)
  • Tanina Rostain (Georgetown)
  • Richard Schmalbeck (Duke)
  • Ted Seto (Loyola-L.A.)
  • Kirk Stark (UCLA)
  • Ann Thomas (New York Law School)

Legal Education, Tax | Permalink


What a surprise. The academic establishment opposes the peaceful revolution designed to reform the government and shake up the power structure that subjugates the middle class at the expense of the upper and lower classes.

Posted by: ruralcounsel | Oct 4, 2018 11:45:53 AM

Did the same professors write a similar letter when Ginsburg made her comments not too long ago?

Posted by: Hypocrite | Oct 4, 2018 2:35:41 PM

This list is deceptive. Half the signatories are legal writing instructors, clinicians, or librarians.

Posted by: Mark K | Oct 4, 2018 3:22:09 PM

So how does being accused of being called a rapist in the eyes of an entire nation compare to being called a "fat cow" with only a few witnesses present? Clearly, if having one's judicial opinion shaped by the latter, minor as it is, doesn't disqualify someone to be a judge, then the former certainly does not.

Years ago, I was involved in a copyright dispute in Seattle federal court. During it, a lawyer told me an interesting story about my judge. It seems that she was coming into the courthouse some eight months pregnant when someone saw her and called out that she was a "fat cow." Only a few minutes later, he was shocked to discover that she was his judge. On her part, she made it quite clear that his misbehavior had determined his sentence.

Clearly, if they mean what they are saying, then these 2,400 law professors believe that district judge lacked the proper judicial temperament. She permitted a minor personal slight shape her decision. I think she's an excellent judge, in no small part because she dismissed the lawsuit against me "with prejudice," But if these 2,400 professors really believe what they claim to believe, they must go after her and remove her from office. Like now.

Of course, we all know that won't happened, that all that's happening is that a lynch mob that was once screaming rape against Kavanaugh has, since that charge has been utterly discredited, now launched another vicious attack. It's not Judge Kavanaugh's judicial temperament that is in question. It is theirs—all 2,400 of them.

Keep in mind that Kavanaugh's accuser lied under oath. To give but one example, she claimed to know little about polygraphs and never to have tutored anyone on handling them. An ex-boyfriend has testified that she helped a friend in just that way. Those who pushed her forward though that, with another coaching she make a good liar. That has proved false.

What these law professors should find outrageous is this oft-repeated use of vicious slanders by liberals attempting to discredit conservative Supreme Court nominees. It says much about their character that they're unconcerned about anything that enormously destructive.

Indeed, I cannot think of anything more destructive of our judicial system than subjecting respectable nominees to such slanderous, destructive attacks. I loathe every one of you—every single one of you.

Posted by: Michael W. Perry | Oct 4, 2018 4:48:44 PM

Unfortunately for the professors, none of them are Senators.

Posted by: Chris P. | Oct 4, 2018 4:57:41 PM

Disgusting. Should we make up false accusations about them and publicize them to their parents, children, and friends? I know some of these people, they’re just Democrats who can’t put themselves in another’s shoes. Plain and simple.

Posted by: Anon | Oct 4, 2018 5:22:52 PM

Step 1: Make up false accusation
Step 2a: If accused angry response, not fit for court
Step 2b: If accused not angry, means very guilty
Step 3: ???
Step 4: Profit

Soulless and evil

Posted by: NyetH0m | Oct 4, 2018 7:51:53 PM

JSYK: The faculty advisor to the Federalist Society at my school is among the signatories.

Posted by: AnotherAnon | Oct 4, 2018 7:56:07 PM

What are there, about 16,000 law professors in the U.S.? 2,400 divided by 16,000 is 15%. That’s some turnout. Maybe the real news is the 85% that *didn’t* sign…

Posted by: Hypocrite | Oct 4, 2018 9:20:00 PM

People surely have a right to their opinions, but 90-95 percent of these professors had made up their minds before the hearings. Unfortunately for them, the Senate represents actual people, not their preconceived notions.

Posted by: Mike Livingston | Oct 4, 2018 10:31:41 PM

I dissent from this letter for the following three reasons:
1. First, the letter states that BK was “aggressive” as well as “intemperate, inflammatory, and … discourteous” during his 9/27 hearing in the U.S. Senate. The irony, however, is that these very same adjectives can be used to describe the behavior of many judges who are already on the bench, especially appellate judges and supreme court justices. Yes, judges are supposed to be impartial umpires, but even umpires get angry from time to time!
2. Secondly, although the letter claims that BK is not open to the search for accuracy, this claim is logically incoherent in a domain like law. Why? Because in most appellate and supreme court cases the laws in issue are open to competing and multiple interpretations, and there is no real way of “testing” which of these interpretations is truly the correct one. In short, judges are not Popperian falsifiers. In any case, BK was not presiding over a courtroom. He was at a hearing, accused of heinous behavior and being treated as a “hostile witness” by a group of sanctimonious senators.
3. Lastly, “judicial temperament” is a vague and ambiguous standard to begin with. Worse yet, the professors who signed the above letter appear to be applying this standard in an unfair and selective manner. By way of example, let’s recall the words of my favorite justice Sonya Sotomayor, who once said, “I would hope that a wise Latina woman, with the richness of her experiences, would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.” Is this statement consistent with the open-ended “judicial temperament” standard referred to in the above letter?

Posted by: Enrique Guerra-Pujol | Oct 5, 2018 4:18:13 AM

Even these law professors vote based on their tribe. I have rarely seen a law professor who identified himself with Consevatives.

Posted by: David Rice | Oct 5, 2018 6:00:28 AM

You haters will notice that Judge Kavanaugh has now apologized for his demeanor and comments at the hearing, saying they were inappropriate. So I guess this was all just a liberal fantasy that the guy is a jerk, huh?

Posted by: Anon | Oct 5, 2018 7:01:27 AM

JSYK: The faculty advisor for the Federalist Society at my school is one of the signatories.

Posted by: anotheranon | Oct 5, 2018 7:07:31 AM

We can be grateful that law professors do not have a vote in this or any other judicial nomination

Posted by: James Mayer | Oct 5, 2018 7:07:48 AM

The best part about this article was that I skipped right to the comments. Imagine that, academics are against a conservative nominee.

Posted by: Eric | Oct 5, 2018 7:29:40 AM

1) I hope these professors will get started on a petition to have RBG impeached for her numerous partisan comments over the years...

2) BK was "intemperate" in the face of vile personal attacks on him and his family, none of which have been corroborated and some of which (gang-rape) are patently absurd. As a judge, he would recuse himself from any matter that had a personal connection to him. So what's the problem?

Posted by: Todd | Oct 5, 2018 8:44:40 AM

The legal profession has hit an all time low along with many of our Congressional representatives. As the mother of a son AND a daughter this farce will do more harm than good to those victims of sexual abuse both male and female. I have little respect for the legal profession and it grows less by the day. To those who hold themselves out as above average intelligence you mean to tell me you can ruin someone’s life and ability to earn a living based on the testimony of a woman who says 36 years ago she was molested by Judge Kavanaugh but she can’t remember where, when, how she got where she was, how she got home – the list goes on. Even more important her story can’t be corroborated by any of the people she claims were there. She threw around psychology terms but did not know the meaning of exculpatory?? Our elected officials didn’t ask pertinent questions of Judge Kavanaugh when they had the opportunity. Instead, they simply used the opportunity to preach to the public how appalled they are and how this woman must be believed because she is a woman! Incredible, this is far worse than the Duke lacrosse team and I’d like to see every one of those Democratic Senators (as well as Dr. Ford) be sued for libel. Just a ridiculous waste of taxpayer time and money and a sad commentary on our society.

Posted by: Donya | Oct 5, 2018 12:40:50 PM