In a new statement, Yale Law School professors Amy Chua and Jed Rubenfeld are denying claims that they ever advised female students to dress in an “outgoing” way when interviewing for law clerkships in Brett Kavanaugh’s office.
Last week, news broke that Chua, who has endorsed Kavanaugh’s supreme court nomination, describing him as a “mentor to women,” revealed to a group of law students that it was “not an accident” that all of Kavanaugh’s female law clerks “looked like models.” This observation was reportedly corroborated by husband and fellow Yale Law School professor Rubenfeld, who allegedly told a student that Kavanaugh “hires women with a certain look.” Now, in a letter sent to Yale Law School faculty, staff, and students, Rubenfeld, on behalf of Chua and himself, is denying the comments and their connotations.
The message, which was sent on September 22 and shared with Refinery29 by their spokesperson, reads:
“Everything that is being said about the advice I give to students applying to Brett Kavanaugh — or any judge — is outrageous, 100% false, and the exact opposite of everything I have stood for and said for the last 15 years. I always tell students to prep insanely hard — that substance is the most important thing. I advise them to read every opinion, including dissents, the judge has ever written as well as important recent cases from the circuit and Supreme Court. I tell them to review all the black-letter courses they've taken and to be prepared to answer hard questions about their writing sample. I tell them to be courteous to everyone, including the staff and clerks. I advise students, male and female, to dress professionally – not too casually – and to avoid inappropriate clothing. I remind them that they are interviewing with a member of the judiciary. I always try my best to be frank and transparent, and to hold students to the highest professional standard, and every year for the last decade I have been invited by affinity groups like Yale Law Women, the Black Law Students Association, and Outlaws to host clerkship advice sessions. My record as a clerkship mentor, especially for women and minorities, is among the things I'm most proud of in my life.”
Sources spoke to The Guardian under the condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation that could negatively affect their careers. Both Chua and Rubenfeld have been described as powerful and holding a lot of influence at the law school, often connecting students to jobs and rewarding loyalty. Rubenfeld is currently under internal investigation at Yale for his conduct with female law students. The investigation began before Trump nominated Kavanaugh for Supreme Court. In a statement to The Guardian, Rubenfeld said he was not allowed to know the specifics of the investigation, but that he was advised that “the allegations were not of the kind that would jeopardize my position as a long-tenured member of the faculty.” Yale could not confirm or deny the existence of an internal investigation into Rubenfeld.
Chua has already denied the allegations that women were hired for clerkships under Kavanaugh based on their looks. In a previous statement given to Refinery29 on September 20, Chua said, “Kavanaugh’s first and only litmus test in hiring has been excellence.”