NY Law Professors Explain Why They Tried to Prevent Brett Kavanaugh from Joining the Supreme Court


Professors Ethan Leib and Martin Flaherty were quoted in a New York Law Journal article about Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing.

“If Kavanaugh is confirmed after his petulant and entitled partisan rant in front of the Senate and the people, I don’t think I will be able to teach his opinions to the next generation of students—at least without always mentioning the illegitimacy of the institution he took down with him. It isn’t like we don’t all know there are partisan lines on the Supreme Court. But we try to help our students not to be lazy and to help them see that legal arguments can overcome political ones in a wide range of cases. Having violated norms of comportment (just like the President who nominated him), Kavanaugh—if confirmed—will have stained an important office in our government that will be hard to clean up for generations to come.” —Ethan J. Leib, Fordham Law School

“Kavanaugh’s behavior, as well as the rushed and almost covert confirmation process, represents a perfect storm of reasons to reject his nomination. The professors’ letter rightly emphasized his unprecedented partisanship and lack of judicial temperament. Add to that his clear prevarications during his testimony, his involvement in receiving hacked Democratic emails, his possible involvement in post 9/11 torture, and not least the array of allegations concerning sexual assault and the result would be a justice whose presence would undermine the court’s legitimacy for decades. Were he confirmed, I would propose adding an asterisk to any 5-4 opinion in which he took part to highlight this lack of legitimacy—with apologies to Roger Maris.” —Martin S. Flaherty, Fordham Law School

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