U.S. Circuit Court Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh, who has taught courses at Harvard Law School since 2008, has been nominated by President Trump to fill the Supreme Court seat being vacated by Associate Justice Anthony M. Kennedy ’61.
During his years teaching at HLS, Kavanaugh, who earned his undergraduate and law degrees at Yale, has offered highly regarded courses on both the Separation of Powers (2008 to 2015) and the Supreme Court (2014, 2016 to 2018). He has been the Samuel Williston Lecturer on Law at HLS since 2009.
Said John F. Manning, the Morgan and Helen Chu Dean and Professor of Law at HLS:
“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. 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. 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. Let me take this occasion to thank Judge Kavanaugh for the generosity, dedication, and collegiality he has shown our community.”
Harvard Law School Professor Richard Lazarus ’79, who has argued many cases before the Supreme Court, said: “Judge Kavanaugh has been an outstanding member of our teaching faculty. Our students have benefited enormously from his generous devotion of his time, his skills as a jurist, and his legal acumen.”
HLS Professor Jack Goldsmith observed: “Judge Kavanaugh has been a great presence on campus. His hugely popular separation of powers seminar has a reputation for being both challenging and fun. 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.”
Colleen E. Roh Sinzdak ’10, a senior associate at Hogan Lovells, was a student of Judge Kavanaugh’s at HLS. She recalled: “Taking Judge Kavanaugh’s Separation of Powers class was one of the highlights of my time at HLS. 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.”
In addition to teaching his HLS course on the Supreme Court this year, Judge Kavanaugh came to the Law School last October to participate in a panel discussion of federal judges, as part of Harvard Law School’s Bicentennial celebration.
Judge Kavanaugh’s judicial biography can be found here.