Of the many articles I have read about the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court of the United States, among the most dismaying are those that document the willingness of Yale Law School students opposed to the nomination to ignore bedrock principles of American jurisprudence, specifically due process and the presumption of innocence.
Even worse, the students have been abetted in their cavalier dismissal of these principles by spineless faculty canceling classes so these students can participate in manifestly non-academic, political demonstrations, where, if what one sees in television and reads in newspapers is accurate, the malevolent notion that Judge Kavanaugh should be presumed guilty until proven innocent is proclaimed to be the guiding principle by which disputes involving the most heinous allegations are resolved.
In graduate school at Yale many years ago, I learned from my teachers in the history department, most notably the late Henry A. Turner Jr., that to be considered seriously, arguments that are testable empirically must be corroborated by empirical evidence.
In the case of the Kavanaugh nomination, all of the evidence that exists not only fails to substantiate the allegation of rape made publicly on national television by Christine Ford; it contradicts it. But the Yale Law School students ostentatiously proclaiming their moral piety, have obviously ignored this undeniable fact, which only underscores their intellectual arrogance.
The most charitable explanation I can come up with is that they missed the classes in their courses in which these principles were taught. A less charitable interpretation is that their professors do not consider these principles applicable when Republicans and conservatives are the objects of unsubstantiated accusations.
That Senator Richard Blumenthal, himself a Yale Law School alumnus, managed to appear at a meeting of such students is especially repugnant in light of the senator’s serial lies about his non-existent military service in Vietnam.
One has no choice, really, but to draw from this lamentable series of events the conclusion that these students have learned little or nothing since enrolling in Yale Law School. Should I ever need legal representation, I will make certain not to choose any of them.
Jay Bergman is Professor of History at Central Connecticut State University and a member of the Board of Directors of the National Association of Scholar. He received his M. A. in 1972, M. Phil. in 1973, and Ph.D. in 1977, all from Yale.