How 'Tiger Mom' and Her Husband Fell From Grace

Inside Amy Chua and Jed Rubenfeld's downfall in the world of Yale Law
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 20, 2021 6:01 AM CDT
Inside the Downfall of 'Tiger Mom' and Husband
Amy Chua talks about her book "Tiger Mother" at the Jaipur Literature Festival in Jaipur, in the western Indian state of Rajasthan, India, Saturday, Jan. 21, 2012.   (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)

Amy Chua, aka the "tiger mom" from her controversial book, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, used to sit atop the Yale Law School social stratosphere alongside her husband and fellow Yale professor, Jed Rubenfeld. Known as "Chubenfeld," the couple was also famous for being quite connected and powerful, important people for students to curry favor with if they wanted to get a coveted clerkship. But over the past couple years, things have changed. Chua, 58, and Rubenfeld, 62, are now, in the words of New York magazine, "pariahs" at the law school. News broke last year that Rubenfeld had been suspended for two years following allegations of unwanted touching and sexual harassment, but what wasn't publicized until this year are the controversies surrounding Chua. In an extensive piece on the couple, Irin Carmon traces the couple's descent.

Carmon spoke to former students and teaching assistants who worked with Rubenfeld and Chua, and reviewed a plethora of documents, and traces two threads in the article: That of Rubenfeld, who for years had a reputation of edginess in his small group discussions and flirtatiousness with his female students, and Chua, whose scandal started when she reportedly told students that Brett Kavanaugh favored a certain "look" in his clerks (an allegation she later denied). Rubenfeld's situation came to a head when students started reporting him and Yale launched an investigation in 2019, culminating in his suspension. Chua was stripped of her small group and hit with a "substantial financial penalty" after reports of inappropriate socializing with students. Chua, though not Rubenfeld, spoke to Carmon; read the full article. (More Longform stories.)

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