WASHINGTON — Educational, legal, and religious institutions important to the life of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh have come out with calls to either delay or outright cancel the confirmation process.
The calls from the dean of Yale Law School, the president of the American Bar Association, and the magazine of the Jesuit religious order come as the Senate wrestles with the Kavanaugh nomination in the face of allegations of sexual assault.
The most recent of these calls came from Yale, Kavanaugh’s alma mater for both undergraduate studies and law school. Heather Gerken, dean of the Yale Law School, called Friday for a delay pending additional investigations into allegations against Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct in both high school and college. Proceeding with the confirmation without those investigations would be against ‘‘the best interest of the court or our profession,’’ Gerken wrote.
Gerken’s statement follows the ABA’s call for a delay.
In a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee released Thursday, ABA President Robert Carlson said the vote on Kavanaugh should proceed ‘‘only after an appropriate background check into the allegations . . . is completed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.’’ Carlson argued that a lifetime appointment to the high court ‘‘is simply too important to rush to a vote.’’
Earlier this month, the ABA’s Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary gave its highest rating of ‘‘well-qualified’’ to Kavanaugh. Committee member Paul T. Moxley said in a statement to the Judiciary Committee that Kavanaugh, ‘‘enjoys an excellent reputation for integrity and is a person of outstanding character.’’
Kavanaugh and others had cited the ABA’s high regard of Kavanaugh as proof of his professional and moral bona fides.
Kavanaugh himself testified to his ‘‘unanimous well-qualified rating from the American Bar Association,’’ while Senator Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, said, ‘‘If you lived a good life people will recognize it like the American Bar Association has — the gold standard.’’
On Friday morning, Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley played down the significance of the ABA position. The Iowa Republican described the ABA as an interest group like any other, and said the letter represented the view of an individual, not necessarily the whole organization. ‘‘We’re not going to let them dictate our committee’s business,’’ Grassley said. The committee subsequently voted to send the nomination to the full Senate, though Senate Republicans later agreed to delay the full vote for one week to allow an FBI investigation of the allegations.
The Jesuits took an even stronger stance. Following Thursday’s testimony by Kavanaugh and his accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, the magazine of the Jesuit religious order in the United States publicly withdrew its endorsement of Kavanaugh. An editorial in America Magazine declared that ‘‘this nomination is no longer in the best interests of the country.’’
Kavanaugh was a student at Georgetown Preparatory School, a Jesuit high school, when the alleged assault took place.
The editorial doesn’t attempt to parse whether Kavanaugh’s or Ford’s testimony was more credible. But it concluded that ‘‘in a world that is finally learning to take reports of harassment, assault and abuse seriously,’’ the nomination must be abandoned.
The magazine had given Kavanaugh a full-throated endorsement, stating that his addition to the Supreme Court may furnish the fifth vote needed to overrule Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that legalized abortion nationwide.