Thursday, October 4, 2018
The first letter to be delivered to Senate Judiciary leadership signed by multiple law professors was one from professors who teach, write or work on the gender violence. Dated September 26, the letter addressed issues of integrity and temperament of the nominee. But notably the letter addressed the committee's engaging a female prosecutor to query Dr. Ford and the resulting effort to raise the standard of proof to "beyond a reasonable doubt." Use of the criminal standard in civil matters has plagued gender violence survivors for decades. Use of the higher standard inevitably leads to abuse claims not being substantiated by the legal system.
"We are additionally concerned about the selection of a prosecutor to question Dr. Ford. Questioning by a prosecutor fuels misguided ideas that the allegations raised should be proved “beyond a reasonable doubt.” That standard of proof has no place here, since the liberty and equitable issues at stake in criminal cases are not at issue. We would expect the Committee to conduct its own questioning, as it has done with other nominees and throughout this process. "
Then in a letter dated October 4th, over 2,400 US law professors opposed the confirmation of Judge Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. The Guardian, the New York Times , Chris Hayes and other reporters and outlets have reported on the letters. The letter, as printed in the New York Times, brings together male and female professors who may otherwise disagree on Judge Kavanaugh's qualifications, but universally agree that Judge Kavanaugh's hostile and disrespectful behavior at last week's hearings revealed that Judge Kavanaugh does not have the temperament demanded of Supreme Court justices.
A separate letter was signed by over 900 female law professors and emphasized. “Judge Kavanaugh’s lack of respect for our democratic institutions, and for women in positions of power in particular, revealed that he does not have the requisite judicial temperament,” the letter states. The letter particularly notes Kavanaugh's behavior with female senators.
Unknown is the impact the letters will have on the Senate vote. But many of the signatories report experiencing communications from colleagues, former students, community members and others who are grateful that they signed on. These are amazing times and many are looking to lawyers for leadership. Congratulations to all signatories.