Two Former Yale Classmates Withdraw Support for Kavanaugh – But Not for the Reason You’d Think

Monica Sanchez | October 2, 2018
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Two former Yale Law School classmates of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh have withdrawn their support for the judge due to the “nature” of his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee last week.

Michael Proctor and Mark Osler, who formerly endorsed Kavanaugh among 27 of his classmates in August, wrote in a letter to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) that after watching the hearing, they felt compelled to withdraw their support for both the letter and Kavanaugh's confirmation. 

Proctor and Osler explain that their decision has nothing to do the sexual assault allegations against him or the testimony by his accuser Christine Blasey Ford, but rather “the nature of Judge Kavanaugh’s testimony.”

The letter reads,

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.

This is not a judgment on Brett Kavanaugh as a human being. It is rather a conclusion rooted in what is institutionally required from a Supreme Court Justice… Judge Kavanaugh, earlier in the confirmation process, observed that ‘the Supreme Court must never be viewed as a partisan institution.’ He was right.

They conclude, “Under the current circumstances we fear that partisanship has injected itself into Judge Kavanaugh’s candidacy. That, and the lack of judicial temperament displayed on September 27 hearing cause us to withdraw our support.”

In the letter in August, Proctor and Osler in a group of 27 of Kavanaugh's former classmates at Yale, said that they "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."

They added that in law school "his contributions to class discussions ... were perceptive, fair-minded, rational and calm."

Kavanaugh was criticized for being “too angry” during his testimony last week, where he vehemently denied the sexual assault allegations against him.

He was also criticized for accusing Democrats of carrying out "a calculated and orchestrated political hit" job on his nomination to exact revenge "on behalf of the Clintons." 

Many have since raised concerns regarding his temperament and ability to be nonpartisan as a potential Justice on the Supreme Court.

Republican Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake on Tuesday said that Kavanaugh’s testimony was “sharp and partisan and that concerns" him.

He added that, “We can’t have this on the court. We simply can’t.”

It is unclear whether he intends to vote “no,” even if the FBI clears Kavanaugh after its investigation.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday said that the Senate plans to vote on Kavanaugh’s confirmation this week, amid an ongoing FBI investigation focusing on the allegations against the judge.

McConnell also said that the Senate will be receiving the FBI report “soon.”

H/T The Hill