In July 2018, Yale Law students, alumni, and educators, “ashamed of our alma mater,” signed an open letter criticizing the university for publishing a press release that quoted faculty praising Yale alumnus Judge Brett Kavanaugh, who had been nominated to the Supreme Court by President Trump. The open letter referred to Kavanaugh as “an intellectually and morally bankrupt ideologue intent on rolling back our rights and the rights of our clients.”
One of those alumni signing the open letter was Jennifer Sung, a 2004 graduate of Yale Law School, who has been nominated by the Biden administration to be a circuit judge for the United States Court of Appeals. On Tuesday, as the Senate Judiciary Committee questioned Sung, Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) grilled Sung repeatedly, asking her if she still agreed that Kavanaugh was “intellectually and morally bankrupt.” Sung repeatedly dodged the question, as the following exchange shows:
Cruz: “Miss Sung, do you believe Justice Kavanaugh is intellectually and morally bankrupt?
Sung, dodge #1: “Senator, I would have wanted every Supreme Court Justice to know, including Justice Kavanaugh, that I respect their completely their authority as a Supreme Court Justice and I would follow their precedents without reservation.”
Cruz: “You’re an experienced lawyer; you know when someone’s not answering a question. My question was simple and straightforward: Do you believe Justice Kavanaugh is ‘intellectually and morally bankrupt?’”
Sung, dodge #2: “Thank you for the question, Senator. As I stated earlier, I recognize that that statement was overheated rhetoric, and that’s all that it was.”
Cruz: “I’m gonna try one more time, because you signed your name to it, and it wasn’t decades ago, it was very recently. You signed your name to this statement. I’m asking you simply, today, do you believe Justice Kavanaugh is ‘intellectually and morally bankrupt?’ You signed your name to that proposition. Do you still believe it?”
Sung, dodge #3: “Thank you for the question, senator. As I stated, that was rhetorical advocacy only that I signed strictly in my personal capacity as a private citizen addressing my alma mater and throughout my legal career as a litigator, as an adjudicator, I have followed all of the Court’s precedents. I have respected every justice.”
Cruz: “It is disappointing that you refuse to answer that question. It’s a simple yes, no question and three times you’ve refused to answer it.”
Sen. Ted Cruz asks Biden 9th Circuit nominee Jennifer Sung if she believes Justice Brett Kavanaugh is “intellectually and morally bankrupt.”
Sung: It was “rhetorical advocacy.”
Cruz: “It is disappointing that you refuse to answer that question, it’s a simple yes, no question." pic.twitter.com/HYrYDWiLOM
— Steve Guest (@SteveGuest) September 14, 2021
The letter Dean Gerken and the Yale Law School leadership also stated of Kavanaugh, “… people will die if he is confirmed. We hope you agree your sacrifice would be worth it. Please use your authority and platform to expose the stakes of this moment and the threat that Judge Kavanaugh poses.”
The Alliance For Justice wrote of Sung, “In 2017, Governor Kate Brown nominated Ms. Sung to serve as a member of the Oregon Employment Relations Board, which has exclusive jurisdiction in the state to adjudicate disputes over unfair labor practices and employment litigation for approximately 3,000 Oregon employers and 250,000 workers in the public and private sector covered by collective bargaining laws.”
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