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Indiana law professors sign letters opposing Kavanaugh confirmation

October 3, 2018

Law professors from all four of Indiana’s law schools have signed letters asking the United States Senate to oppose the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court. One letter argues Kavanaugh lacks the temperament to be seated on the nation’s highest court, while the other asserts he was not fully vetted and that his judgments would erode civil and individual rights.

Professors from Indiana University Maurer and Robert H. McKinney schools of law, Notre Dame Law School and Valparaiso University Law School have signed on to at least one of the letters.

As of Wednesday afternoon, the letter questioning Kavanaugh’s temperament had garnered signatures from more than 900 law professors from about 150 law schools. The letter remains open for additional signatures, and its sponsors said it will be delivered to the Senate on Thursday. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has pledged a full Senate vote on the embattled nominee this week.

During his appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee last week to respond to accusations of sexual assault by Christine Blasey Ford while both were in high school, “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,” one letter says.

The letter says that while the question at issue was painful, Kavanaugh “exhibited a lack of commitment to judicious inquiry. Instead of being open to the necessary search for accuracy, Judge Kavanaugh was aggressive with questioners. … 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.”

As of the last posted update late Tuesday, these Indiana law professors had signed the letter: Cynthia Adams, Shawn Marie Boyne, James Dmitri, Max Huffman, Xuan-Thao Nguyen and Florence Wagman Roisman, IU McKinney; Pamela Foohey, IU Maurer; and Laura Dooley, Valparaiso.

“We have differing views about the other qualifications of Judge Kavanaugh,” the letter says. “But we are united, as professors of law and scholars of judicial institutions, in believing that Judge Kavanaugh did not display the impartiality and judicial temperament requisite to sit on the highest court of our land.”

Meanwhile, another letter bearing signatures from faculty at all four Indiana law schools urges the Senate to vote against Kavanaugh because of his prior rulings and the available record, which professors said “is only partial and incomplete due to (Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley’s) decision not to requisition all relevant material from the National Archives.” That includes records from Kavanaugh’s tenure in the George W. Bush administration.

More than 500 professors signed this letter, including these from Indiana: Kevin Brown, H. Timothy Lovelace, Jr., Alex Tanford and Deborah Widiss, IU Maurer; Adams, Jennifer Drobac, Frank Emmert, Aila Hoss, Richard Humphrey, Norman Leftstein, Eleanor D. Kinney, Fran Quigley and Wagman Roisman, IU McKinney; Joseph Bauer and Jimmy Gurule, Notre Dame Law School; and Rosalie Berger Levinson from Valparaiso.

The professors said Kavanaugh’s judicial philosophy and history suggest he would shield the president from the rule of law, undermine affordable health care, overturn or gut Roe v. Wade and put corporate interests ahead of the rights of people, among other things.

“The key question facing the Senate and American people with this nomination is whether to allow the Court to continue on its present course of eroding key constitutional rights and legal protections for decades, or insist on a nominee sensitive to equal rights, social justice, and to the needs of contemporary society,” the letter says. “The stakes in this nomination debate could not be higher.”

 

 

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