According to Bloomberg News, Harvard Law School is begging its students and alumni to apply for clerkships with four recently confirmed right-wing federal judges appointed by President Donald Trump, after nobody in their network submitted any applications.
“If you could be available for a 2020 clerkship, now is a time you can stand out with just the Harvard brand name, not to mention your other qualifications, as the applicant pool nationwide shrinks,” said Harvard in a message to its network.
The message drew swift criticism, with Michigan Law professor Leah Litman tweeting, “It’s not responsible to tell students that they should apply to any/every judge, or to say that *anyone* with whom the students might disagree is a judge they should be willing to clerk for,” and the progressive student group Harvard Parity Project tweeting, “Harvard thinks we have “wasted opportunities” by not applying to these judges…judges who have been ranked unqualified, opposed by their state’s Senators, rolled back civil rights in the DOJ, and oppose everything from LGBTQ+ rights to Brown v. Board … If not working for these judges is wasting opportunities, we are happy to keep wasting them.”
Of the four judges in question, two of them were rated “Not Qualified” by the American Bar Association. This includes Missouri District Court Judge Sarah Pitlyk, a former law clerk of now-Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh who has no trial experience, has claimed that abortion is racist, and opposes the use of in vitro fertilization; and Ninth Circuit Judge Lawrence VanDyke, a former Nevada solicitor general whose own colleagues describe him as “arrogant,” “lazy,” and an “ideologue” who lacks the temperament to try cases impartially.
Most presidents and senators have previously relied on the American Bar Association’s recommendations to vet judicial nominees, but Trump and the Senate GOP have generally blown off their warnings about unqualified judges, as well as the objections of several judges’ home-state Democratic senators.