Just days in advance of Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation as the newest Supreme Court justice, several University of Illinois College of Law professors joined 2,400+ of their colleagues across the country in signing a letter opposing his appointment.
The letter, which was published by the New York Times, said, "We have differing views about Kavanaugh's other qualifications for the position. But 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 News-Gazette spoke with several Illinois Law faculty about their decisions to sign and not to sign.
Professor Lesley Wexler signed the letter, and said she had no objections to Kavanaugh's appointment before the sexual assault allegations arose.
"The Supreme Court relies on legitimacy. I think the nakedly partisan comments that Kavanaugh made will erode that legitimacy if he's confirmed," she said. "I think his lack of full candor in answering questions relating to the allegations displayed a disinterest in reaching the truth and fell substantially below the bar for judicial temperament."
Professor Bob Lawless also signed the letter, citing similar reasons.
"I signed the letter because I'm afraid it is something that's going to have lasting damage on the court, much to the detriment of our country," Lawless said. "People need to have faith in the judicial system, have faith that they are doing their best to decide cases based on the merits of the case alone. And I think this process — let me be clear, it's not just Judge Kavanaugh, it's the whole process — has likely undermined people's confidence."
Professor Andy Leipold, who worked with Kavanaugh on the Clinton-era Starr Report, did not sign the letter and said his support of Kavanaugh would not change.
"I understand that people are concerned that Judge Kavanaugh's comments about partisan attacks made him look partisan, but I don't think it reveals a disqualifying lack of judicial temperament. The best measure of his judicial temperament is how he has acted as a judge, and I have never heard any complaints about that," said Leipold.
Read the full story at news-gazette.com. Professor Lesley Wexler also spoke to Illinois Public Media (WILL) last week about her decision to sign the letter.