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Former Yale Law School Dean: Kavanaugh’s Confirmation Is An ‘American Tragedy’

Robert Post, the former dean of Yale Law School, minced no words in excoriating Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court in an op-ed published in Politico on Saturday.

Kavanaugh, who graduated from the law school in 1990, had “stoked the fires of partisan rage and male entitlement,” Post wrote of the judge’s behavior following multiple allegations of sexual misconduct. Kavanaugh will “undermine the [Supreme Court’s] claim to legitimacy,” Post said, calling the judge’s confirmation “an American tragedy.”

Kavanaugh was confirmed by the Senate on Saturday afternoon and quickly sworn in as a justice on the nation’s highest court.

“He had apparently concluded that the only way he could rally Republican support was by painting himself as the victim of a political hit job,” Post said of Kavanaugh and the way the judge had attempted to defend himself from the accusations of sexual assault and harassment. “He therefore offered a witches’ brew of vicious unfounded charges, alleging that Democratic members of the Senate Judicial Committee were pursuing a vendetta on behalf of the Clintons. If we expect judges to reach conclusions based solely on reliable evidence, Kavanaugh’s savage and bitter attack demonstrated exactly the opposite sensibility.” 

Post, who described Kavanaugh as a “casual acquaintance” whom he’d known for a decade, said he’d been “shell-shocked” by the judge’s behavior. “This was not the Brett Kavanaugh I thought I knew,” he wrote. “Having come so close to confirmation, Kavanaugh apparently cared more about his promotion than about preserving the dignity of the Supreme Court to which he aspired to join.”

Post, a Sterling Professor of Law at Yale Law School who specializes in constitutional law, went on to lambast the senators who voted for Kavanaugh as caring “more about controlling” the court than the institution’s legitimacy.

“There will be hell to pay,” he warned.

Referring to a Wall Street Journal editorial penned last week by Kavanaugh in which the judge admitted to having been, perhaps, “too emotional at times” during his hearing before the Senate Judicial Committee and in which he vowed to be “an independent and impartial” judge, Post stressed that Kavanaugh “cannot have it both ways.”

“He cannot gain confirmation by unleashing partisan fury while simultaneously claiming that he possesses a judicial and impartial temperament,” said Post.

Kavanaugh, Post continued, will therefore “join the court as the black-robed embodiment of raw partisan power inconsistent with any ideal of an impartial judiciary.”

“His very presence will undermine the court’s claim to legitimacy; it will damage the nation’s commitment to the rule of law. It will be an American tragedy,” Post concluded.

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