Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University has added a second U.S. Supreme Court Justice to its faculty roster.
Brett Kavanaugh will co-teach a two-week course in Runnymede, England, this summer on the creation of the Constitution with professor Jennifer Mascott. Fellow Justice Neil Gorsuch is also co-teaching a two-week course in Padua, Italy, as part of George Mason’s National Security Institute—his second time doing so.
Kavanaugh’s new teaching gig has generated a bigger stir than the Gorsuch announcement last year, however. Kavanaugh pulled out of his scheduled two-week January class on the Supreme Court since 2005 at Harvard Law School in October amid calls by students for his firing during his contentious confirmation, which included accusations of sexual assault when the justice was in high school. (Kavanaugh denied any misconduct, and university officials said only that the justice “could not commit” to teaching the class as planned, as he had done since 2009.)
Scalia Law did not confirm Kavanaugh’s summer course until the student newspaper caught wind of the arrangement and ran an article March 22. But the school—which has a reputation as among the nation’s more politically conservative law campuses—has since confirmed Kavanaugh’s appointment as a distinguished visiting professor of law.
“It is a rare opportunity for students to learn from a U.S. Supreme Court Justice and we believe that contributes to making our law program uniquely valuable for our students,” the law school said in a prepared statement.
It’s not unusual for justices to take on brief teaching stints during breaks in the high court’s calendar, particularly overseas. Recently retired Justice Anthony Kennedy, whose vacant seat Kavanaugh filled, has long taught a summer course in Salzburg, Austria, for the University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law. Ruth Bader Ginsburg has taught short summer courses in Malta, Venice and Spain, in recent years. Clarence Thomas teaches a short course on the Supreme Court at Creighton University School of Law every few years, and Samuel Alito has taught abroad in Italy.
Kavanaugh’s upcoming course for Scalia Law will explore the heritage of the British Constitution and the prevalent political philosophies of the Founding Era, according to the school. Students will then examine the debates and documents surrounding the drafting to the U.S. Constitution, and how the controversies of that time period relate to current events.
The class will be held outside of London in Runnyemede, which is the site of the sealing of the Magna Carta. Students enrolled in the summer course will have the opportunity this spring to attend an oral argument at the Supreme Court and attend a discussion afterward with Kavanaugh and Mascott, the school said.