Supreme Court Nominations

Supreme Court nominee Kavanaugh got mostly glowing evaluations from his law students

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Judge Brett Kavanaugh.

Law students who evaluated Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s classes gave mostly glowing evaluations to the future U.S. Supreme Court nominee.

One student at Georgetown was so impressed that the 2007 evaluation read: “I honestly believe I took a class that was instructed by a future Supreme Court justice." Others rated Kavanaugh as their best professor ever. Students said he was accessible outside of class, evenhanded, fair-minded, well-versed in the materials and smart. One noted his “great hair!”

The New York Times found those comments while reading through about 700 pages of evaluations by about 350 law students who took Kavanaugh’s classes at Harvard, Yale and Georgetown.

Some early evaluations said Kavanaugh was repetitive and not well organized. Many complained about heavy reading assignments, while others disliked the textbook he used. But on the whole, the evaluations were filled with praise, according to the Times.

Kavanaugh mostly taught at Harvard after his hiring by the dean, Elena Kagan (now Justice Elena Kagan). Typically his class lasted 12 weekday mornings in a row during a brief winter term. In the afternoon, he had office hours. Many of his classes were about separation of powers, “but recently, and perhaps propitiously, he turned his attention to the Supreme Court,” the New York Times reported.

The Times notes that scores of former Harvard students supported his nomination in a letter to Senate Judiciary Committee leaders Chuck Grassley and Diane Feinstein. “We may have differing views on political issues surrounding the confirmation process, but we all agree on one thing: Judge Kavanaugh is a rigorous thinker, a devoted teacher and a gracious person,” the letter said.

However, after Yale Law School issued a congratulatory news release after Kavanaugh’s nomination, more than 700 current and former students signed an open letter chastising the school for doing so. “Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination,” the letter said, “presents an emergency—for democratic life, for our safety and freedom, for the future of our country.”

This was followed by another open letter signed by 300 current and former students joining “Yale Law School in its praise of distinguished Yale alumnus Judge Brett Kavanaugh,” the Times reported.

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