Open Letter to Senate Judiciary Committee from Yale Law Librarians and Library Staff

Reading Room of the Lillian Goldman Law Library
September 21, 2018

As the Senate Judiciary Committee debates Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination, we write as librarians of Yale Law School, from which Judge Kavanaugh graduated, to urge that the Senate conduct a fair and deliberate confirmation process. With so much at stake for the Supreme Court and the nation, we are concerned about a rush to judgment that threatens both the integrity of the process and the public’s confidence in the Court.

Where, as here, a sexual assault has been alleged against an individual nominated for a lifetime appointment in a position of public trust, a partisan hearing alone cannot be the forum to determine the truth of the matter. Allegations of sexual assault require a neutral factfinder and an investigation that can ascertain facts fairly. Those at the FBI or others tasked with such an investigation must have adequate time to investigate facts. Fair process requires evidence from all parties with direct knowledge and consultation of experts when evaluating such evidence. In subsequent hearings, all of those who testify, and particularly women testifying about sexual assault, must be treated with respect.

The confirmation process must always be conducted, and appointments made, in a manner that gives Americans reason to trust the Supreme Court. Some questions are so fundamental to judicial integrity that the Senate cannot rush past them without undermining the public’s confidence in the Court. This is particularly so for an appointment that will yield a deciding vote on women’s rights and myriad other questions of immense consequence in American lives.  

Teresa Miguel-Stearns
Lisa Goodman
Michael VanderHeijden
Jordan Jefferson
Yuksel Serindag
Julie Krishnaswami
Julian Aiken
John B. Nann
Fred Shapiro
Benjamin Bernard
Shana Jackson
Michael Widener
Daniel Wade
Diana Quinones
Lucie Olejnikova
Evelyn Ma
Eric Sonnenberg
Joanne McCarthy
Caitlyn Lam
Michelle Hudson
Lora Johns
Dawn Smith


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