About two dozen Yale Law classmates of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh say the judge is a fair-minded jurist whose allegiance is not to politics, but to the Constitution.
Their estimation, expressed in a Monday letter to Chuck Grassley and Dianne Feinstein, is a sharp split from that expressed in an open letter from Yale law students, alumni, and educators last month, which said that “people will die” if Kavanaugh is confirmed.
“Although we doubt we will agree with every decision Judge Kavanaugh may make as a justice,” wrote Kavanaugh’s classmates, “we firmly believe that Judge Kavanaugh would make decisions thoughtfully, honestly and impartially, and after careful, thorough and respectful consideration of precedent, the case records and the arguments of the litigants.”
The bipartisan group said that at law school Kavanaugh did not mark himself as “ideological” or “a person with an agenda.” Kavanaugh was and is well-liked and respected, they said, “a thoughtful classmate and loyal friend.”
“Based on our years of knowing Judge Kavanaugh, we are firmly convinced that his allegiance as a Supreme Court justice would be only to the Constitution and laws of the United States and not to any partisan interests,” they wrote. Kavanaugh graduated from Yale Law School in 1990.
Hundreds of Yale Law students and alumni condemned Kavanaugh in a disapproving letter last month. They described the 12-year D.C. Circuit Court judge as an “intellectually and morally bankrupt ideologue” and “a threat to the most vulnerable.”
“Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination presents an emergency—for democratic life, for our safety and freedom, for the future of our country,” they wrote. “He is a threat to many of us, despite the privilege bestowed by our education, simply because of who we are.”
They suggested that Kavanaugh would help overturn Roe v. Wade. “[President Donald] Trump has repeatedly promised to appoint justices who would overturn Roe v. Wade,” they said. “Trump’s nomination of Judge Kavanaugh is a reliable way to fulfill his oath.”
Maine senator Susan Collins, who met with Kavanaugh last week, said the judge sees the decision as “settled law.” Minority leader Chuck Schumer, on the other hand, said Kavanaugh “would not say ‘yes’” when asked if Roe was “correctly decided.”
The open letter followed a laudatory press release from the law school, in which a number of current Yale law professors, as well as its dean, praised Kavanaugh.
Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings are slated for the first week of September. Democrats called to pause the hearings after Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to an array of charges. They have also demanded documents from Kavanaugh’s time as staff secretary in the Bush White House.