Brett Kavanaugh ’90 Nominated to U.S. Supreme Court

Yale Law School is a nonpartisan institution. While individual faculty members may make comments regarding a particular candidate, the Law School neither endorses nor opposes candidates for office. This notwithstanding, the statement below has been interpreted by some, understandably, as an endorsement of Brett Kavanaugh.  It was not intended as such, and does not constitute an endorsement.  The Law School regrets any confusion over this issue.

President Donald Trump today nominated Brett M. Kavanaugh ’90, a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, for the seat on the U.S. Supreme Court being vacated by retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy.

Kavanaugh has served as a judge on the D.C. Circuit since May 2006. He previously served for five years in the White House under former U.S. president George W. Bush. If confirmed by the U.S Senate, he would be the Court’s fourth current member who is a graduate of Yale Law School.

“I have known Brett Kavanaugh for many years,” said Dean Heather K. Gerken. “I can personally attest that, in addition to his government and judicial service, Judge Kavanaugh has been a longtime friend to many of us in the Yale Law School community. Ever since I joined the faculty, I have admired him for serving as a teacher and mentor to our students and for hiring a diverse set of clerks, in all respects, during his time on the court.”

“He is a terrific judge,” said Kate Stith, Lafayette S. Foster Professor of Law. “In my federal criminal law class, I love teaching his opinions because they are smart, thoughtful, and clear. He’s also been a wonderful mentor and teacher to our students—not just to those who clerk for him, but those who meet with him during one of his many visits to Yale Law School.”

“Judge Kavanaugh commands wide and deep respect among scholars, lawyers, judges, and justices,” said Sterling Professor Akhil Reed Amar ’84.  “Good appellate judges faithfully follow the Supreme Court; great ones influence and help steer the Court. Several of Kavanaugh’s biggest ideas have found their way into Supreme Court opinions. Thanks to decades of high-level experience and close observation, Kavanaugh also understands the intricacies of the executive and legislative branches.”

“Brett Kavanaugh has been one of the most learned judges in America on a variety of issues, ranging from theories of statutory interpretation to separation of powers,” added William N. Eskridge, Jr. ’78, the John A. Garver Professor of Jurisprudence. “We are proud that he is our graduate and eager to continue to learn from his judicial opinions and scholarly publications.”

Judge Kavanaugh graduated from Yale College in 1987, and from Yale Law School in 1990, where he was a Notes Editor of the Yale Law Journal.

If confirmed, Judge Kavanaugh would join three other Yale Law School graduates currently on the Court—Justice Samuel Alito ’75, Justice Sonia Sotomayor ’79, and Justice Clarence Thomas ’74.