Female Yale students were asked by a prominent professor to exude “model-like” feminity if they wanted a job in Brett Kavanaugh’s chambers, according to the Guardian.
Amy Chua, a Yale Law School professor who is also known for writing the bestselling parenting book Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, reportedly advised female students preparing for interviews with Kavanaugh to dress and act in a particular way in order to be treated favorably. In a private meeting last year, Chua said that it was “not an accident” that all of Kavanaugh’s female law clerks “looked like models.” This is the same professor who endorsed Kavanaugh vociferously for the Supreme Court by calling him a “mentor to women.”
The accusations that Chua specifically advised female job seekers in Kavanaugh’s office to appear like models are set to kick up a storm ahead of a controversial confirmation vote for the Supreme Court nominee, who is already mired deep in trouble after being accused of sexual assault by Christine Blasey Ford when they were both in high school.
The Dean of Yale Law School Heather Gerken said she is “enormously concerned” about the accusations against Yale professor Chua, and wrote the allegations of “faculty misconduct” have to be dealt with seriously.
This is so gross: Two professors gave advice to the young woman as she sought a clerkship. She was told to avoid Judge Alex Kozinski, and she was advised to dress "outgoing" for Kavanaugh. https://t.co/wCIsVV3CMr
— Lydia Polgreen (@lpolgreen) September 20, 2018
According to the report, some elements of which were published in The Huffington Post, Chua played an outsized role when it came to vetting would-be female clerks for Kavanaugh’s chambers. Jeb Rubenfield, who is Chua’s husband and also an important Yale professor, told one prospective student that Kavanaugh preferred a particular “look.”
“He told me, ‘You should know that Judge Kavanaugh hires women with a certain look,'” one woman said. “He did not say what the look was and I did not ask.”
Another woman said that she refused to pursue a clerkship in Kavanaugh’s office after Chua told her to look like a model. The student who was asked to “look” a certain way by Rubenfield was also advised to meet with Kavanaugh in an “outgoing” dress. Chua reportedly told the student to send her pictures in different dresses before the interview, so that she could decide what worked best. But the student never sent any pictures.
Neither Chua nor Rubenfield made such demands of students seeking jobs in the offices of other judges. It is not clear if what Chua advised these students were demands made by Kavanaugh himself, but one student believes that the Yale professor might have deduced the judge’s criteria when choosing female employees.
“It is possible that they were making observations but not following edicts from him,” said a student. “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.”
Chua has denied the allegations, saying “Judge Kavanaugh’s first and only litmus test in hiring has been excellence.”