Kavanaugh Garners Support Among Several Black Harvard Law School Graduates

Brett Kavanaugh
Brett Kavanaugh / Getty Images
August 29, 2018

Several members of the Harvard Law School chapter of the Black Law Students Association sent a letter Wednesday to the Senate Judiciary Committee extolling the mentorship they received from Supreme Court justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh and expressing support for his confirmation.

Seven Harvard Law School graduates and a law student sent a letter to Sens. Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa) and Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.), the committee's chairman and ranking member, to inform them of the positive impact Kavanaugh has had on their BLSA chapter.

"Judge Kavanaugh reached out to the Harvard Law School chapter of the Black Law Students Association (BLSA) in 2017 to express interest in planning a clerkship event for our members," the letter reads. "On March 27, the Judge participated in a panel—jointly with Judge Paul Watford of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals—to provide information to BLSA students about the clerkship hiring process. While the event was marketed for first year students, all three class years were represented."

The graduates and law student went on to talk about how Kavanaugh told them one of his major priorities was encouraging more students of color to apply for judicial clerkships in response to multiple recent reports about minority law students being "underrepresented in clerkship positions in the Federal Judiciary."

"The Judge provided his insights and advice on how students should navigate the entire process, including: developing a list of judges, handling interviews, and succeeding as a law clerk. But most critically, he continually reiterated the value and importance of clerkships," they wrote.

"The Judge not only graciously offered his time for that panel, but also has continued to mentor numerous Harvard students whom he has taught or worked with in a number of capacities," they added.

The Harvard BLSA members concluded their letter by emphasizing it was not a statement from "BLSA as an organization," but said they were signing it to "express appreciation for the Judge’s enthusiasm on this issue and hope that his efforts will be taken into consideration."

The letter to Grassley and Feinstein comes on the heels of a joint letter from Kavanaugh's former colleagues at the Kirkland & Ellis law firm, who also urged the Senate to confirm the nominee. More than half of the country's attorneys general also signed a letter to Senate leaders last month expressing their support for the nominee and 31 state governors wrote Senate leaders to support his expeditious confirmation.

Kavanaugh was nominated by President Donald Trump in early July to fill the seat being vacated by Justice Anthony Kennedy, who announced his retirement in June. The nominee became a D.C. Circuit Court judge in 2006 and previously served as staff secretary during the George W. Bush administration.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) vowed a vote will happen on Kavanaugh's confirmation this fall, before midterm elections. With the passing of Sen. John McCain (R., Ariz.), Republicans control the Senate 50-49, and the vote may depend on Republicans and vulnerable Democrats in red states. McCain's seat will likely be filled by another Republican appointed by Arizona Gov. Doug Ducy (R.), and the appointee would fill the seat until the 2020 election. The governor's office said it will not name a replacement until after McCain's burial, scheduled for Sunday.