Amy Chua, powerful Yale Law professor and famed “Tiger Mom,” allegedly told female students interested in a clerkship with Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh that he preferred attractive women, according to accounts given to The Guardian. Kavanaugh’s history with women is under scrutiny after allegations were made by Professor Christine Blasey Ford that the judge attempted to sexually assault her when they were both in high school.
Chua’s husband, Jed Rubenfeld, who is also a law professor at Yale, is now similarly embroiled in the controversy. According to The Guaridan, He reportedly once told a student interested in a clerkship with Kavanaugh that the judge preferred a certain “look” in his clerks.
“He told me, ‘You should know that Judge Kavanaugh hires women with a certain look,’” a source told The Guardian. “He did not say what the look was and I did not ask.”
Chua allegedly asked the same student to send her photos of the outfits she was considering for the interview with Kavanaugh, The Guardian says. The woman says she did not comply.
Students questioned why the couple were encouraging students to consider their looks for their interviews with Kavanaugh, but not other judges. “It is possible that they were making observations but not following edicts from him,” one student who spoke to The Guardian guessed. “I have no reason to believe he was saying, ‘Send me the pretty ones’, but rather that he was reporting back and saying, ‘I really like so and so,’ and the way he described them led them to form certain conclusions.”
Kavanaugh also came up when Chua and her students discussed the #MeToo movement at a bar together last year. Chua reportedly told the students she didn’t believe that the movement would impact the federal court. She said was been aware of the behavior of former federal judge Alex Kozinski, who resigned last year after allegations that he sexually harassed his clerks, before the information became public. Kavaunaugh had clerked for Kozinski as well, and considered the judge his mentor. In his confirmation hearings, Kavanaugh said he was unaware of Kozinski’s behavior.
When the conversation turned to Kavanaugh, Chua told the students that it was “no accident” that Kavanaugh’s clerks “looked like models.” One of the students pointed out that Chua’s own daughter was one of Kavanaugh’s clerks, and she responded that her daughter wouldn’t tolerate inappropriate behavior, The Guardian reports.
Chua and Rubenfeld are said to be extremely powerful at Yale, and their favor is important to students who want to advance in their careers. Rubenfeld himself is currently under internal investigation by Yale Law for harassment of students. According to The Guardian, the investigation began before Kavanaugh was nominated to the Supreme Court.
Chua, who wrote for the Wall Street Journal in June that Kavanaugh was a “mentor to women,” has continued to defend the judge and support his nomination.
“For the more than 10 years I’ve known him, Judge Kavanaugh’s first and only litmus test in hiring has been excellence. He hires only the most qualified clerks, and they have been diverse as well as exceptionally talented and capable,” Chua told The Guardian.
“There is good reason so many of them have gone on to supreme court clerkships; he only hires those who are extraordinarily qualified. As I wrote in the Wall Street Journal, he has also been an exceptional mentor to his female clerks and a champion of their careers. Among my proudest moments as a parent was the day I learned our daughter would join those ranks.”