Law Schools

Yale Law's Chua, Rubenfeld deny advising Kavanaugh clerk candidates to dress a certain way

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Amy Chua via Wikimedia Commons

Following recent articles from the Huffington Post and the Guardian reporting that Yale law professors Amy Chua and Jed Rubenfeld told women seeking clerkships with U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh that he preferred a certain look, the law school’s dean responded with a memo to students and faculty, stating the allegations “are of enormous concern to me and the school.”

Kavanaugh, a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, is accused of sexually assaulting two females—one in high school and one while attending Yale in the 1980s. He has denied the allegations.

Inside Higher Ed reports that the law school is investigating whether Chua and Rubenfeld, who are married to each other, engaged in misconduct. A spokesperson for the law school told the ABA Journal that the existence of an investigation could neither be confirmed nor denied.

In the memo, Dean Heather Gerken wrote, “The allegations being reported are of enormous concern to me and to the school. While we cannot comment on individual complaints or investigations, the law school and the university thoroughly investigate all complaints regarding violations of university rules and take no options off the table. Neither the law school nor the university prejudges the outcomes of investigations. Any statements to the contrary are inaccurate,”

“The law school has a responsibility to provide a safe environment in which all of our students can live and learn in a community of mutual respect, free of harassment of any kind. I take this responsibility extraordinarily seriously,” the memo concluded.

The Guardian reports that a Yale investigation regarding Rubenfeld’s alleged conduct was initiated before President Donald Trump announced Kavanaugh’s nomination. In a statement to the newspaper, Rubenfeld wrote that he was informed of the investigation in June, that it’s an “informal review” and he was not given specifics of the allegations.

“I was further advised that the allegations were not of the kind that would jeopardize my position as a long-tenured member of the faculty,” his statement read.

On Saturday, the Volokh Conspiracy and Above the Law published a statement from Chua, who denies the students’ allegations regarding her advice for getting Kavanaugh clerkships. Above the Law reports that Chua is recovering from surgery and a three-week hospital stay, and won’t be teaching this semester.

“I advise students, male and female, to dress professionally—not too casually—and to avoid inappropriate clothing. I remind them that they are interviewing with a member of the judiciary,” Chua wrote. The author of the best selling 2011 parenting handbook Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, Chua wrote that she was extremely proud of her record as a clerkship mentor.

In July, Chua wrote a Wall Street Journal opinion piece titled “Kavanaugh is a Mentor to Women.” The Huffington Post reports that Chua and Rubenfeld’s daughter recently accepted a clerkship with Kavanaugh.

Following a July 13 Above the Law article suggesting that Chua’s motivation for writing the op-ed could have been her daughter’s future U.S. Supreme Court clerkship opportunities, Sophia Chua Rubenfeld, tweeted to editor Elie Mystal that she was joining active duty JAG Corps after her circuit clerkship, and wouldn’t be applying for clerkships on the high court anytime soon.

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