Colleagues and a former student of Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh, the newly minted Supreme Court nominee who’s taught courses at Harvard Law School since 2008, are praising his legal acumen and dedication to his students.
“I congratulate Judge Kavanaugh on his nomination to the Supreme Court and thank him for his superb teaching at Harvard Law School over the past decade,” said John F. Manning, a Harvard Law professor and dean, in a statement posted to the school’s website. “As the Williston Lecturer on Law, he has brought rigor and openness to his ever-popular courses on Separation of Powers and the Supreme Court.”
Manning described Kavanaugh, 53, as an “inspiring teacher and mentor, Judge Kavanaugh has somehow always found extra time for his students, whether to dig deeper into important legal questions or to offer valuable career advice.” He thanked Kavanugh for his “generosity, dedication, and collegiality he has shown our community.”
Manning’s words were echoed by Colleen E. Roh Sinzdak, a former student of Kavanaugh’s at Harvard Law who now works as a senior associate at the powerhouse firm of Hogan Lovells.
“Taking Judge Kavanaugh’s Separation of Powers class was one of the highlights of my time at HLS,” Sinzdak said in the release. “Judge Kavanaugh was a wonderful professor. He was clearly enthusiastic about the subject matter, and he encouraged us to explore the issues from all angles. He also went well above and beyond the norm in terms of making himself available to students. He had an open door policy while he was at HLS and encouraged us to drop in to talk about the class, our other academic work, or anything else that was on our minds.”
During his time at Harvard, Kavanaugh taught “highly regarded” courses on the Separation of Powers and the Supreme Court, the statement said. He’s served as Harvard’s Samuel Williston Lecturer on Law since 2009.
Richard Lazarus, a Harvard Law professor who has argued cases before the high court, also lauded Kavanaugh in the school’s release.
“Judge Kavanaugh has been an outstanding member of our teaching faculty,” Lazarus said. “Our students have benefited enormously from his generous devotion of his time, his skills as a jurist, and his legal acumen.”
Another Harvard Law professor, Jack Goldsmith, said in the release that Kavanaugh has been a “great presence” on campus.
“His hugely popular separation of powers seminar has a reputation for being both challenging and fun,” Goldsmith said. “And he is always very generous with his time for students, other faculty, and law school events. He’s shown an unusual commitment to teaching in all its dimensions for someone whose judicial duties are so time-consuming and consequential.”
Messages to Harvard Law faculty members and spokespersons seeking further comment on Kavanaugh weren’t immediately returned.