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Protest at Yale Law on Supreme Court Nominee

July 12, 2018

Many students and alumni of Yale University's law school are circulating a petition denouncing the way the law school issued a press release on President Trump's nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court. "The law school published a press release boasting of its alumnus’s accomplishment," the petition says. "The school’s post included quotes from Yale Law School professors about Judge Kavanaugh’s intellect, influence and mentorship of their students. Yet the press release's focus on the nominee's professionalism, pedigree, and service to Yale Law School obscures the true stakes of his nomination and raises a disturbing question: Is there nothing more important to Yale Law School than its proximity to power and prestige?"

The petition notes the anticipated votes Kavanaugh would provide on the Supreme Court for (the petition's authors believe) limits on civil liberties, abortion rights, gay rights and more. "Now is the time for moral courage -- which for Yale Law School comes at so little cost. Perhaps you, as an institution and as individuals, will benefit less from Judge Kavanaugh’s ascendent power if you withhold your support. Perhaps Judge Kavanaugh will be less likely to hire your favorite students. But people will die if he is confirmed. We hope you agree your sacrifice would be worth it. Please use your authority and platform to expose the stakes of this moment and the threat that Judge Kavanaugh poses."

The Yale law press release in question may be found here. A spokeswoman for the law school said that the press release did not endorse Kavanaugh, "We are a nonpartisan institution. We routinely acknowledge high-profile nominations of our alumni," she said, adding that "we did exactly the same thing not so long ago when Justice Sonia Sotomayor" was nominated. That press release may be read here.

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Scott Jaschik

Scott Jaschik, Editor, is one of the three founders of Inside Higher Ed. With Doug Lederman, he leads the editorial operations of Inside Higher Ed, overseeing news content, opinion pieces, career advice, blogs and other features. Scott is a leading voice on higher education issues, quoted regularly in publications nationwide, and publishing articles on colleges in publications such as The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, Salon, and elsewhere. He has been a judge or screener for the National Magazine Awards, the Online Journalism Awards, the Folio Editorial Excellence Awards, and the Education Writers Association Awards. Scott served as a mentor in the community college fellowship program of the Hechinger Institute on Education and the Media, of Teachers College, Columbia University. He is a member of the board of the Education Writers Association. From 1999-2003, Scott was editor of The Chronicle of Higher Education. Scott grew up in Rochester, N.Y., and graduated from Cornell University in 1985. He lives in Washington.

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