Monday, November 22, 2021
"Legal scholar Akhil Amar says Yale Law School is ‘not living up to its highest standards.’
A prominent Indian American Yale Law School professor has blasted the school administration’s treatment of law student Trent Colbert and the Federalist Society, calling it 'dishonest, duplicitous, and downright deplorable.'"
"'I am not and have never been a member of the Federalist Society,' Amar said, adding that he is a life-long liberal Democrat, according to The Washington Free Beacon."
"But 'ideological diversity' is important for challenging 'implicit bias'—not just against members of other races, but those of other political persuasions, he said."
"Amar also spoke of the tension between 'real professors' and 'administrators,' who now outnumber faculty at Yale, and took a tacit shot at the law school’s diversity director Yaseen Eldik, who took the lead in the school’s conversations with Colbert."
"People 'who aren’t themselves educators are playing an increasingly large role in universities,' the Sterling professor of law was quoted as saying, adding that administrative bloat is a 'real problem.'"
"Law school dean Heather Gerken has announced an investigation into the situation but has thus far taken no concrete action, according to the Free Beacon."
Thursday, November 18, 2021
Students suing Yale Law show America’s elites have a low opinion of minorities by Glenn Harlan Reynolds.
"Yale Law School is failing."
"Now things have taken a turn for the worse. Two Yale Law School students have filed a federal lawsuit accusing the law school’s dean, Heather Gerken, associate dean, Ellen Cosgrove, and Diversity and Inclusion Director Yaseen Eldik of far more egregious behavior. The lawsuit claims that the defendants “worked together in an attempt to blackball two students of color from job opportunities as retaliation for refusing to lie to support the University’s investigation into a professor of color.” That professor was Amy Chua.
The two students charge that the law school administration tried to blackmail them into making false accusations against her. There’s much more, but that’s bad enough."
"In addition, the law school administration publicly shamed another student of color, who announced a Native American Law Students Association party in conjunction with the conservative Federalist Society, for, well, basically white supremacy. The student’s e-mail used the term “trap house,” a joking reference to drug culture, which the administration interpreted as a reference to black people (which seems kind of racist in itself). But the administrators were really unhappy about the Federalist Society, which they seem to regard as presumptively bad because, well, it’s not on the left.
The invitation’s author, law student Trent Colbert, was told, 'The e-mail’s association with FedSoc was very triggering for students that already feel like FedSoc belongs to political affiliations that are oppressive to certain communities through policies. . . . That of course obviously includes the LGBTQIA community and black communities and immigrant communities.'"
"Uh-huh. Meanwhile the administration summoned the Federalist Society’s president for a meeting and blamed him for somehow making the Native American student send the allegedly offensive e-mails: “I think you as a cis/het white man decided to have some fun and convinced a man of color with a backyard to send out an e-mail announcing a costume party where it wouldn’t be frowned upon if people came in blackface to eat some fried chicken while dancing to trap music.” (Note: The e-mail said nothing like that.)
In the eyes of the Yale Law School administration, apparently only “cis/het white men” have any agency, and minority men are just putty in their hands."
"But leaving aside this bit of straight-up racism, the administration also threatened the students that a failure to play ball and apologize would put their chance of taking the bar at risk, presumably because of a negative reference from Yale Law School, just as it threatened the future employment of the two students who refused to lie about Professor Chua."
"What can you say about an institution that is willing to break faith with its members and engage in blackmail and the subornation of false statements to wage a political vendetta?"
Question: When is the Yale Law School faculty going to stand up to its senior administration? Deans and diversity officers should not be bullying students.
Monday, November 15, 2021
According to the Yale Daily News, two students have sued Yale Law administrators for alleged retaliation in Amy Chua case. "The students, both unnamed in the suit, argue the administrators kept them from obtaining fellowships and job opportunities after they refused to endorse a formal complaint against Chua."
"Two unnamed Yale Law School students filed a complaint Monday against three Law School administrators and the University for allegedly “blackball[ing]” them from job opportunities after they refused to endorse a statement in the ongoing investigation against Law Professor Amy Chua.
The students, referred to as Jane and John Doe throughout the lawsuit, sued the University and Yale Law School Dean Heather Gerken, Law School Associate Dean Ellen Cosgrove and Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Yaseen Eldik on the grounds of breach of contract, intentional interference with prospective business relationships and defamation, among others."
“Two Yale Law School deans, along with Yale Law School’s Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, worked together in an attempt to blackball two students of color from job opportunities as retaliation for refusing to lie to support the University’s investigation into a professor of color,” the complaint reads.
University spokesperson Karen Peart wrote in an email to the News that “the lawsuit is legally and factually baseless, and the University will offer a vigorous defense.”
Saturday, November 6, 2021
The ABA, AALS, LWI, CLEA, and All Law Schools Should Adopt the University of Chicago Principles of Free Expression
Freedom of expression on college campuses has been a hot topic lately, especially in light of MIT disinviting a distinguished geophysicist because he opposed affirmative action. A number of professors at MIT have urged their university to adopt the University of Chicago Principles of Free Expression. (here)
"We, the undersigned MIT faculty members, urge that the Institute improve its written commitment to academic freedom and free expression by officially adopting the Chicago Principles, as articulated in a 2014 University of Chicago report."
"Because MIT is committed to free and open inquiry in all matters, it guarantees all members of the MIT community the broadest possible latitude to speak, write, listen, challenge, and learn. Except insofar as limitations on that freedom are necessary to the functioning of the Institute, MIT fully respects and supports the freedom of all members of the MIT community 'to discuss any problem that presents itself.'"
"In a word, MIT’s fundamental commitment is to the principle that debate or deliberation may not be suppressed because the ideas put forth are thought by some or even by most members of the MIT community to be offensive, unwise, immoral, or wrong-headed. It is for the individual members of the MIT community, not for MIT as an institution, to make those judgments for themselves, and to act on those judgments not by seeking to suppress speech, but by openly and vigorously contesting the ideas that they oppose. Indeed, fostering the ability of members of the MIT community to engage in such debate and deliberation in an effective and responsible manner is an essential part of the Institute’s educational mission.
As a corollary to the Institute’s commitment to protect and promote free expression, members of the MIT community must also act in conformity with the principle of free expression. Although members of the MIT community are free to criticize and contest the views expressed on campus, and to criticize and contest speakers who are invited to express their views on campus, they may not obstruct or otherwise interfere with the freedom of others to express views they reject or even loathe. To this end, the Institute has a solemn responsibility not only to promote a lively and fearless freedom of debate and deliberation, but also to protect that freedom when others attempt to restrict it."
I now urge the ABA, AALS, LWI, CLEA, and all law schools to adopt the Chicago Principles. You can find the Chicago Principles here. These principles have been adopted by Princeton, Johns Hopkins, Columbia, BU, and 78 other universities and colleges.
Monday, November 1, 2021
A discussion group at the 2021 SEALS conference dealt with that question, and Proceedings: Online Journal of Legal Writing Conference Presontations has devoted its latest issue to that discussion. Defining Legal Writing Scholarship.
"This issue explores the possibility of defining “legal writing scholarship” and examines what might be gained or lost in such a definition. The essays memorialize and expand on a discussion group at the 2021 conference of the Southeastern Association of Law Schools (SEALS), “Discipline Building: Scholarship and Status in the Legal Academy.'"
"As moderator of this discussion group (Karen J. Sneddon), I posed the following six questions:
What is “legal writing scholarship”?
Does the discipline need to have (or agree on) a definition of legal writing scholarship?
How might a definition of legal writing scholarship advance the discipline? Might a definition of legal writing scholarship limit growth of the discipline or exclude the work of some?
Should the definition of legal writing scholarship include an interdisciplinary component?
To what extent should legal writing scholarship connect to the bench and bar?
Should the definition of legal writing scholarship include the characteristics of “serious scholarship” and, if so, what does “serious scholarship” refer to? How does a definition of scholarship move beyond issues of placement, length, and number of footnotes?
"Specifically, the essays and article published here consider the need, value, and perils of formulating a shared definition of legal writing scholarship to advance the discipline of legal writing."
Here is a provisional definition of legal writing scholarship from Kirsten K. Davis:
"Legal writing scholarship” is inter- and cross-disciplinary scholarship that is communication-centered and law-connected. It creates knowledge by offering new information or insights about the production of, reception of, and communication environments for texts that communicate about the law."