By Ken Stone
Twenty-eight San Diego law professors are among at least 2,400 nationwide calling on U.S. senators to turn thumbs down on Judge Brett Kavanaugh for the U.S. Supreme Court.
They added their names to a 400-word letter posted Wednesday on The New York Times website.
Hours later, nine other retired or active professors were listed — from all three San Diego law schools:
- Meera Deo, professor of law, Thomas Jefferson School of Law
- Ilene Durst, associate professor, Thomas Jefferson School of Law
- Susan Adler Channick, professor of law emerita, California Western School of Law
- Robert R. Dekoven, legal writing professor, California Western School of Law
- Catherine Hardee, assistant professor of law, California Western School of Law
- Robert F. Seibel, distinguished visiting professor (retired), California Western School of Law
- Glenn C. Smith, professor of law, California Western School of Law
- Tim Duane, professor in residence, University of San Diego School of Law
- And Dov Fox, professor of law and Herzog Endowed Scholar, University of San Diego School of Law.
By 8 a.m. Thursday, 10 more were on the list as the national total grew from 1,000 to 1,700:
- David Austin, legal skills professor, California Western School of Law
- Ruth M. Hargrove, professor emerita, California Western School of Law
- Kenneth S. Klein, professor of law, California Western School of Law
- Joanna Sax, Donald Shapiro professor of law, California Western School of Law
- Marjorie Cohn, professor of law emerita, Thomas Jefferson School of Law
- Maurice R. Dyson, professor of law, Thomas Jefferson
- A. Thomas Golden, professor of law, emeritus, Thomas Jefferson School of Law
- KJ Greene, professor of law, Thomas Jefferson Law School
- Alex Kreit, professor, Thomas Jefferson School of Law
- And Benjamin A. Templin, professor of law, Thomas Jefferson School of Law
And by Thursday afternoon, when the list grew to 2,400, six more San Diegans had signed on:
- Robert C. Fellmeth, Price Professor of Public Interest Law, University of San Diego School of Law
- Lisa Black, legal writing professor, California Western School of Law
- Robert A. Bohrer, professor of law, California Western School of Law
- Timothy Casey, professor in residence, California Western School of Law
- Floralynn Einesman, professor of law, California Western School of Law
- And Richard J. Finkmoore, professor of law, California Western School of Law
“We regret that we feel compelled to write to you, our senators, to provide our views that at the Senate hearings on Sept. 27, Judge Brett Kavanaugh displayed a lack of judicial temperament that would be disqualifying for any court, and certainly for elevation to the highest court of this land,” said the letter.
Kavanaugh exhibited a “lack of commitment to judicious inquiry” and “was repeatedly aggressive with questioners,” it added.
The signatories — 650 at first — hit the Washington federal judge for responding in an “intemperate, inflammatory and partial manner, as he interrupted and, at times, was discourteous to senators.”
The letter cited statutes regarding bias and recusal.
“These statutes are part of a myriad of legal commitments to the impartiality of the judiciary, which is the cornerstone of the courts,” the letter said.
While acknowledging they have differing views about other qualifications of Kavanaugh, “we are united, as professors of law and scholars of judicial institutions, in believing that he did not display the impartiality and judicial temperament requisite to sit on the highest court of our land.”
The letter, which could draw even more signers, was to be delivered to the Senate on Thursday.
A floor vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination was expected Saturday — after a procedural vote Friday and senators having time to review a supplementary FBI investigation on Thursday.
Thyfault on Thursday said she had no comment. Berenson and Brenner didn’t respond to a request for comment.
But Brenner, educated at the University of Iowa, co-wrote an essay in July calling on President Trump to elevate a woman to the highest court, especially one on his publicized “shortlist”
(Brenner also is publishing a book, “Shortlisted: Women, Diversity, and the Court,” about women who were shortlisted but never nominated to the Supreme Court.)
“One way to remove some of the politicization [of the confirmation process] is to nominate candidates who are objectively qualified with life experiences that reflect the public the Supreme Court serves,” Brenner wrote with Renee Knake of the University of Houston Law Center.
“Trump should not select a justice simply because she is female, but because the court’s legitimacy and credibility are enhanced when its membership represents the general population. A woman among the shortlisted six should be his nominee.” (Amy Coney Barrett of the 7th U.S. Court of Appeals was on the list.)
On Sept. 26, the day before Kavanaugh denied accusations by Christine Blasey Ford, Brenner also signed a letter with about 260 other law professors with “significant experience teaching, researching, and writing about issues of gender violence and representing gender violence survivors in family, civil, and criminal courts.”
That letter, sent to three Republican Senate leaders, expressed “our profound concern about the plans for evaluating the allegations of Judge Kavanaugh’s sexual misconduct that have been announced to date, especially in light of recently emerging claims.”
It asked the Senate to seek to review all available evidence, “including witness testimony relating to all of the allegations raised, in order to evaluate both the competing accounts of underlying events and the nominee’s reflection on those accounts.”
Thyfault, a legal writing professor who earned her law degree at California Western School of Law, clerked for two federal judges in the 1980s.
Other California professors weighed in as well, including 42 from UCLA School of Law, 37 from UC Berkeley School of Law, 30 from Loyola Law School of Los Angeles, 26 each from UC Hastings College of Law (in San Francisco) and Stanford Law School, 21 from Santa Clara University School of Law, 17 from UC Irvine School of Law, 13 from USC Gould School of Law, 10 from University of San Francisco School of Law and eight from UC Davis School of Law.
Updated at 2 p.m. Oct. 4, 2018
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