About half of Yale Law School’s students attended protests against Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court on Monday.
Dozens of professors canceled or rescheduled classes as more than 100 students went to D.C. to voice their opposition to Kavanaugh and join with other progressive groups at the capitol. The demonstrating students met with senators and stood outside the Supreme Court holding signs protesting the nomination proceedings and demanding an investigation into the sexual assault allegations made against the judge.
About 200 students also stayed on campus to hold a sit-in at the law school, reportedly filling the main hallway of the building. Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal, a Yale Law School alumnus, reportedly spoke to the students and echoed their demands for a full investigation. The protestors have reportedly been wearing black.
Yale University has come up repeatedly during this Supreme Court fight. Kavanaugh attended both Yale College and Yale Law School in the 1980s. In recent weeks he has been accused by two women of sexual misconduct. One of his accusers, Deborah Ramirez, was his classmate at Yale College and alleged that he thrust his exposed genitals in her face at a dorm party when the two were freshmen. (He has denied the accusation.) Former law school students also told the Guardian and the Huffington Post last week that Yale professor Amy Chua advised female students seeking clerkships with Kavanaugh to have a “certain look” during interviews. Chua has denied these accounts.
An ad hoc group of students called Yale Law Students Demanding Better have been planning the demonstrations since Thursday night. They aimed to show their support for Ramirez and Christine Blasey Ford, who accused Kavanaugh of pinning her down and attempting to remove her clothes during a party in high school. Both Ford and Kavanaugh, who has denied her allegation, are scheduled to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday.
The Yale students protesting Monday also intended to push for an investigation into the allegations by a neutral third party, express solidarity with victims of sexual violence and harassment, and bring attention to Kavanaugh’s potential impact as a Supreme Court justice on issues like reproductive rights. The students are also calling on the Senate to avoid treating Kavanaugh’s accusers the same way it did Anita Hill, a Yale Law School alumnus, during the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings in 1991.
Samantha Peltz, a student and organizer for the group, told Slate, “[Yale Law Students Demanding Better] is really people who have come together from across the Yale Law School community to organize, to plan this protest … and to follow up with next steps for accountability and transparency at Yale.”
The law school will have a town hall on Tuesday for students to ask faculty about internal issues that this nomination process has brought to light. A majority of faculty members signed an open letter last week calling on the Senate Judiciary Committee to conduct a fair confirmation process and marshal a neutral fact-finder to investigate the allegations.