Yale Law School professor Amy Chua denied allegations that she coached female students to dress in an “outgoing” fashion when interviewing for clerkship positions with Judge Brett Kavanaugh, now a nominee for the Supreme Court.
“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 fifteen years,” said Ms. Chua, who gained fame beyond the legal world for her 2011 parenting memoir “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother.”
Reports were published earlier this week in Huffington Post and the Guardian alleging that Ms. Chua had told female students to dress “outgoing,” and had offered to review their sartorial selections before interviews. She also allegedly commented that it wasn’t an accident Mr. Kavanaugh’s female clerks looked like models. A Huffington Post spokeswoman said, “We stand by our reporting, without question.” The Guardian didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment Saturday night.
Ms. Chua’s response was sent in an email to the Yale community Saturday by her husband, fellow Yale Law professor Jed Rubenfeld.
Ms. Chua was hospitalized late last month for unknown medical issues. In a note last weekend to the school, he said she suffered a “massive, freakish internal infection” and underwent major surgery, and the cause of her illness was still unknown. He said in Saturday’s message that she “remains extremely ill.”
Ms. Chua is on medical leave from Yale Law for the remainder of the semester.
According to the note, Ms. Chua said she tries to be “frank and transparent” in preparing students for their clerkship interviews, telling students to read every opinion the judge has written and be well-versed on recent court cases and to dress professionally, meaning not too casually and avoiding inappropriate clothing.
“My record as a clerkship mentor, especially for women and minorities, is among the things I’m most proud of in my life,” she said, noting that she is called on annually to provide guidance on the clerkship process to a variety of student affinity groups.
She called Mr. Kavanaugh a “mentor to women” in a Wall Street Journal op-ed this summer. Her daughter, a recent Yale Law graduate, had accepted an appellate clerkship with Mr. Kavanaugh before he was nominated to the high court.
Mr. Rubenfeld is also not teaching this semester.
He said in a statement that he was notified in June that the school would conduct an “informal review” of certain allegations, but he didn’t know the specifics. He said he was advised the allegations “were not of the kind that would jeopardize my position as a long-tenured member of the faculty.”
An investigator has conducted multiple interviews about alleged misconduct, according to students who were contacted by the investigator. They and other students say the allegations are related at least in part to comments made to one or more female students in a fall 2017 constitutional-law class.
A Yale Law spokeswoman said the school cannot confirm or deny the existence of any investigation.
“While we cannot comment on individual complaints or investigations, the Law School and the University thoroughly investigate all complaints regarding violations of University rules and take no options off the table,” Dean Heather Gerken wrote in a letter to the school community on Thursday.
Write to Melissa Korn at [email protected]