HLS Alumni Letter to Dean Manning: Rescind Judge Kavanaugh's Lecturer Appointment

*UPDATE: We submitted this letter to the Dean with 1,026 signatures shortly after noon on 10/3/18. We will continue to keep this form open and will collect and transmit signatures as they come in. Names and class years will be public, but not email addresses.*

September 28, 2018

Dear Dean Manning,

We are alumni of Harvard Law School. We write to ask that the Law School rescind Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh's appointment as the Samuel Williston Lecturer on Law, and that he not be allowed to teach on the January 2019 Winter Term.

Now more than ever, HLS must send a clear message that it takes sexual violence seriously. Too often throughout history, sexual assault and violence against women and girls have been dismissed. Victims have been ignored, personally attacked, and revictimized when they come forward. Perpetrators -- often privileged men in positions of power -- have been protected. This has been true in every corner of both the legal profession and academia. The accusations against Judge Kavanaugh, including those by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, are credible and grave. They seriously call into question his character and morality, and should disqualify him from a lifetime appointment as a Supreme Court Justice. They likewise should disqualify him from any position of esteem, including lectureships at HLS.

In addition to the substance of these allegations, Judge Kavanaugh’s comportment and testimony during the appointment process have cast further doubt on his fitness to serve on the Supreme Court. The American Bar Association has called for a delay in the appointment process until an FBI investigation can be conducted, and has emphasized the rule of law imperatives underscoring the need for such an investigation. The Dean of Yale Law School likewise has asked for further investigation. As of the writing of this letter, it appears that some further investigation now will take place. Yet Judge Kavanaugh -- a longtime D.C. Circuit judge who no doubt has frequently recognized the fact-finding utility of investigations in the numerous criminal appeals over which he has presided -- has not supported or called for an FBI investigation. He has not supported or called for key witnesses to be subpoenaed. Perhaps more troublingly, he has demonstrated partisanship unprecedented by a Supreme Court nominee, an explosive temperament, and a worrisome lack of respect for female Senators on the Senate Judiciary Committee. His characterization of Democratic members of the Committee as “an embarrassment,” his claim that the allegations were “a calculated and orchestrated political hit” by the left, and his belligerent responses to Senators’ respectful questions at Thursday’s hearing demonstrate a disregard for the rule of law, separation of powers, and other key Constitutional principles that HLS has appointed him to teach.

HLS no doubt has numerous other candidates for these prestigious lectureships. We believe that Judge Kavanaugh’s appointment as an HLS lecturer sends a message to law students, and in particular female students, that powerful men are above the law, and that obstructive, inappropriate behavior will be rewarded. Judge Kavanaugh is not leadership material, and he is not lectureship material. HLS would be tarnished to have him on campus in any position of authority. We ask that you rescind his lectureship.  

Thank you for your time and consideration.


Jessica Lynn Corsi (‘10)
Mariel Goetz (‘08)
Jimmy Richardson ('09)
Allison Elgart ('05)
Kim Smaczniak ('09)
Dr. Mary Anne Franks ('07)
Lauren Birchfield Kennedy ('09)
Thomas Becker ('08)
Sheila Warren ('02)

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* 1. HLS alumni: please add your name below to sign on to the above letter to Dean Manning asking HLS to rescind Judge Kavanaugh's visiting lecturer appointment.

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* 2. What was your HLS graduation year? (YYYY format)

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* 3. What is your email address? (will not be published)