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Kavanaugh 'Does Not Have The Support Of Yale Law School,' Student Says

Protesters, including current Yale University law student Jesse Tripathi (second from right), rally against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh in the rotunda of the Russell Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill, Sept. 24, 2018 in Washington, D.C. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Protesters, including current Yale University law student Jesse Tripathi (second from right), rally against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh in the rotunda of the Russell Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill, Sept. 24, 2018 in Washington, D.C. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Students at Yale Law School are back at class Tuesday after dozens of classes were cancelled Monday to allow students to take part in protests in New Haven, Connecticut, and Washington, D.C., against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, a Yale Law graduate.

Here & Now‘s Robin Young speaks with Jesse Tripathi (@jessetripathi), a Yale Law student who was arrested in Washington on Monday at protests against Kavanaugh.

“There’s been a whole lot of anger at Yale Law for a while now largely due to Kavanaugh’s nomination and the response of the administration,” Tripathi says, “and more broadly … how much he has been relying on this idea that he is this person who has a ton of support within the legal community. And so a lot of people have really felt a desire to demonstrate that he does not have the support of Yale Law School.” 

Interview Highlights

On the reaction among Yale students to the sexual assault allegations 

“I think that part of the reason you saw such a strong reaction on behalf of the majority of the students here is that it really has hit home. It’s this coaligning of a broad national discussion about how we think about sexual assault, but also seeing the way it plays out at this institution. And I think seeing, looking around at our fellow classmates, knowing that this is something that will continue to go on, having that idea that my peers could face this type of violence and then the perpetrator could go on to be on the Supreme Court is truly, truly sickening, and something we all felt and feel that has to change.”

On the idea that Kavanaugh is being denied due process

“Look people like to toss around those ideas around due process and things like that, but remember, this is not a court trial. We are not asking, ‘Should we lock him up for years?’ We are talking about whether or not a person should be one of the nine most powerful people in this country for the rest of his life. Right? The burden — what needs to be proved — is not beyond a shadow of a doubt must this person have done it, but it’s what do we deserve? And we deserve someone who we can be positive did not do that.”

On how the allegations against Kavanaugh raise questions about the culture at Yale

“Certainly, it’s a broader discussion about what’s happening here at this law school and in the college and everywhere else. But look, this isn’t even the first time Republicans have nominated someone who’s been accused of some type of sexual crime to the Supreme Court. And you know, [Justice Clarence Thomas] is serving there now. Right? So it is [an] endemic problem.”

On some students’ complaints that protests interrupt their education 

“The issues we are talking about are incredibly important, right? The idea that missing a day of classes is more important than the students who drop out of school because that’s how traumatized they are by sexual violence they have faced is comical. So no, I don’t feel bad for those people.” 

On if he knows someone who is a survivor of sexual assault 

“Yes, and frankly, whether or not people know it, basically everyone does.”

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