Trump Administration

How Should Universities (Especially Law Schools) Treat The Powerful?

a response to an important and thoughtful argument by Jacob Levy

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Jacob Levy has a two-part series on how we honor powerful people, starting with the issue of confederate monuments and then moving on to how we should treat people who worked for the government to do bad stuff. One of the core arguments is that we generally give powerful people too much credit, honor, and respect, so trends that cut back against that are probably good. I think he has persuaded me that this is correct. (I'm reminded as well of this recent article by Leah Litman, which I've been trying to find the time and words to write about, and may return to in another post.)

I wanted to highlight a couple of paragraphs from Levy's second essay because they are especially relevant to how law schools operate:

The shared media culture of the days of Walter Cronkite is long gone; there are now paid media niches available to match the polarization and fragmentation of American politics. Why slink offstage in disgrace when there's a living to be made continuing to denounce Trump's enemies?

In light of all that, consider the institutions that thrive on prestige and proximity to power: not only think tanks and lobbying firms but also corporate boards, elite media such as the New York Times, elite universities, and the celebrity-intellectual circuit of ideas festivals and televised debates. It's tempting and easy for such institutions to conflate openness to different ideas and ideological perspectives with bestowing prestige, honors, and money on the powerful, regardless of what political agenda they served with their power. 

In the case of the university, this is the difference between maintaining academic freedom for students or faculty members who advance a range of ideological positions and awarding honorary degrees or prestigious platforms, such as commencement addresses or endowed lectures, to persons whose claim to fame just consists of their time in politics and public office. Students and faculty members must be free to argue in favor of (for example) closed borders and the end of rights of asylum and refuge. They should also be free, in their various clubs and departments, to invite speakers to a campus to advocate those ideas. But should the architects of the family separation policy— not only Nielsen but also John Kelly, Chad Wolf, and the ideologists in the background Steve Bannon and Steven Miller— be honored for their careers? Should they receive visiting university fellowships for distinguished public servants or asked to speak to graduating seniors on the noble calling of politics? Nothing in academic freedom or intellectual freedom or freedom of speech calls for such an outcome.

Again, there's no avoiding substantive judgments, however much universities do and should resist simply taking partisan sides. Deciding whom to honor is different from deciding what speech to permit. Without an active commitment to refuse to honor the dishonorable, universities will likely do so, allowing themselves to be seduced by the illusion of merit attached to power and celebrity, and then dressing up the decision as intellectual openness.

As I understand the application of Levy's theory to a law school, it would mean that a student group like the Federalist Society is free to invite any speaker they wish, but the law school might offer an endowed lecture or an honorary degree only to a former Solicitor General in the Obama administration and not in the Trump administration.

This is especially thought-provoking because law schools and the legal profession more generally are so hungrily focused on power and prestige. Students who become lawyers will often need to convince powerful people of their client's positions. Some of those students will go on to become the powerful people themselves. Some of their professors are still angling for those positions of power.

(Indeed, at some (I think many) law schools a student group cannot invite a powerful person on their own, because the administration holds a monopoly on VIP guests, such as Supreme Court Justices, in order to ensure that they receive the VIP treatment.) All of this is bound up with the law schools' joint mission of both scholarly study and professional training.

All of that said, I have three basic reactions.

First, a recentering of intellectual merit over power and celebrity is indeed something to aspire to. Imagine, if you can, an academic center in public law whose mission is committed to ideas over power. Imagine speakers and visitors selected only on the basis of what they have to say, and not their identity or prestige. Imagine prizes or awards given to people you have never heard of, but should, rather than to people who will draw a crowd. It is hard for me to imagine, at least at the law schools I have seen, but I think it would be a wonderful thing.

Second, that said, I have concerns about the norms Levy proposes. Yes, he's right that "It's tempting and easy … to conflate openness to different ideas and ideological perspectives with bestowing prestige, honors, and money on the powerful, regardless of what political agenda they served with their power." But in an institution that does honor power, the selective denial of these awards to one ideological corner of the powerful is a form of non-openness. And it sends an especially chilling message to one wing of the students and faculty, say those who aspire to work in a Trump administration rather than a Biden administration.

Indeed, Levy acknowledges, and welcomes, the possibility that we would add more forms of public dishonor to his list. At all but maybe two law schools I'm familiar with, that list would inevitably look like the usual partisan disputes. It shouldn't, it needn't, but I think it would.

We could solve this problem by ceasing to venerate any of the powerful, at least not for their power's own sake. But treating one party's law enforcement officials as generally honorable while another's are generally dishonorable would not be a step forward, I don't think.

Third, I also have a more practical, darker, concern, which is that intellectual openness and institutional hunger for power and prestige might be more related than Levy allows.

On Twitter, Levy adds: "Sacrificing Bill Barr from the law school visiting speaker circuit will not leave law schools unable to find enough conservative speakers for the circuit. The legal academy has many smart and decent conservative scholars, and I'm not criticizing the existence of the circuit!"

But here is what I worry about:

When students call for the cancellation of a speaker because his or her words are seen as harmful or otherwise beyond the pale, an intellectually serious law school needs to be able to say no.

But even at the most serious schools, the administration may struggle. Sometimes they do the right thing only because of pressure from powerful alumni or judges with an affection for the school. Sometimes administrators need to be able to say "you may think these ideas don't deserve to be heard, but we are training you to practice in front of government officials who believe these ideas or at least want to hear them, so these ideas must be able to be voiced in our walls."

It's logically possible for a law school to maintain strong freedom of academic speech while also communicating that these people are dishonorable and would never be given an honored place, only a dishonored place, at the school. But it's very hard, and administrators can only do so many hard things.

Sometimes it is internal faculty pressure that keeps the flow of ideas open, but there too the issues recur. For example, there was a lot less interest among law faculties in hiring originalist scholars (and still too little interest!) when originalism did not seem to be widespread among judges.

I would like to believe that every law school left to its own devices would allow its students to form (say) a Federalist Society, and allow them to invite any outside speaker they liked, without allowing the speaker to be heckled out of the room, without covertly denying them room assignments, without adopting gerrymandered rules about outside funding and outside speakers, without professorial reprisal against the students involved. I would like to believe that every law school would do this even if the institution did not care about proximity to prestigious and powerful conservatives. But I don't yet believe that.

(Cross-posted from Summary, Judgment)

NEXT: Judge Bumatay on Originalism in the Lower Courts: "It is our duty to apply the Constitution—not extend precedent"

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  1. Higher education institutions generally have adopted cancel culture as part of the nonsense beliefs called “woke.” All they accomplish by it is to discredit themselves. It would be tragic if this behavior spread to law schools, because it might no longer be possible for America to maintain its own indispensable principles if they do not.

    1. Yeah. The reason you’re under-represented among higher-education institutions is because they’re all united against you because of nonsense beliefs. It has nothing to do with your open hostility.

      1. So said King George a few centuries ago….

        1. And American Royalists get laughed at still.

  2. “intellectually serious law school ”

    There’s your problem. It’s about feelings and ideology now, not about smarts.

  3. Justice Thomas (to give just one from literally hundreds of good examples) is a conservative and his time on the bench has been consistently advocating for ultra conservative causes. Principled advocacy.

    William Barr is a whore. A person who no moral or ethical center. A whore.

    I can think of a dozen reasons why the most liberal and the most conservative schools would fight to invite Justice Thomas to speak. And why Barr should be shunned by all institutions of higher learning. This has nothing to do with ideology, political leanings, etc.. Merely to do with not inviting worthless sacks of shit. (Same principle would involve Anthony Weiner being invited onto campuses.)

    1. You just hate Barr because he is effective.

      1. No, he hates him because he’s a whore with no moral or ethical center. As he said.

        I was working to reverse things – to make sure I would have as much contempt for a Barr-like character on the left. But for that you need a Trump-like character on the left for nega-Barr to enable and defend. Which makes it a very easy analysis, because I’m sure I’d have no time for a liberal Trump, nor his enablers.

        1. Janet Reno, Eric Holder, et al?

          1. Perfectly ethical and their morals kept them principled and following the law!

            – Baghdad Sarcastro

            1. You should perhaps consider not hitting the Submit button for every single juvenile insult that pops into your head. Just a suggestion.

        2. What’s wrong with Barr exactly? I don’t agree with a lot of his ideas, but mostly it seems like he just makes the left mad for doing the right thing.

          “a Barr-like character on the left”

          Seems like Andrew Weissmann would be somebody on the anti-Trump side who is what people on the left imagine Barr to be.

        3. You just hate Barr because he is effective.

          “because I’m sure I’d have no time for a liberal Trump, nor his enablers.”

          LOL Sure. Sure.

      2. “You just hate Barr because he is effective.”

        He’s effective at what?

        1. Definitely not effective at holding coup plotters accountable.

          1. What have you got against the military?

            Joining in with Mr. Trump?

          2. That’s a tough ask when the coup in question is entirely fictional.

        2. Covering for Trump.

    2. Oh, dear, Justice Thomas must be getting ill or powerless if he’s receiving all this “strange new respect.”

      1. More like new low bar.

        Thomas has dumb and crazy principles, but he has them in spades. And he hates liberals, but manages to be a professional about it.

        1. I thought Justice Thomas was a rapist, a betrayer of the Civil Rights Movement, a right-wing fanatic, a clone of Scalia, an election-rigger, etc., etc.

          He really used to be Goldstein. Now that there’s a new Goldstein, Thomas gets the Strange New Respect.

          1. Oh, and “the Youngest, Cruelest Justice.”

          2. You forgot “Uncle Tom”

            1. I never got the Uncle Tom insult. When I read the book in Jr High, I was struck by the many heroic actions of Tom. A God-loving, deeply religious, selfless, brave, (etc etc) character . . . I could not understand how or why his character became so loathed. I recall not getting a satisfactory answer from my English teacher. (It has been well over 40 years since I’ve read “UT’s Cabin,” so maybe my creaky memory has glossed over parts of the book that would explain this.)

          3. Sure – a Speaker for the Left, I must agree with all things anyone on the left says, even if they happened before I was born.

    3. I disagree, Trump deserves to have people loyal to him and not Bush loyalist backstabbers like Tillerson and McGahn and Comey.

      1. “Trump deserves to have people loyal to him”

        On his own payroll, sure, but not on ours.

        1. No, the president deserves to have people loyal to him. So Trump’s and Carter’s presidency were undermined because they didn’t have enough time to cultivate loyalists to serve them. So Reagan and Jackson were successful outsiders in part because they lost an election in such a way that the establishment believed they could actually win in 4 years so they better get on board the respective train. Carter and Trump were flukes and the establishment dismissed them and then when they won they got stuck with backstabbers like Tillerson and Cyrus Vance.

          1. Interesting point about Jackson & Reagan.

          2. ” the president deserves to have people loyal to him.”

            Absolutely, if he’s paying them, they should be loyal to him. but if the people are paying them, they should be loyal to the Constitution first. Mr. Barr is the Attorney General of the United States, not the Attorney General of the Donald Trump.

            What undermined Carter’s Presidency more than anything else was not being able to retrieve the embassy staff from Tehran. Turns out this was largely due to Carter’s unwillingness to send them spare parts for the American fighter planes the revolutionaries seized from the Shah. Reagan was more willing to negotiate with terrorists, so his negotiations worked out better.

          3. How exactly are you imagining that Trump got “stuck” with Tillerson, or any other cabinet member he selected and then decided was insufficiently loyal? Were these people foisted on him against his will?

            And no president “deserves” to have people loyal to him, unless that president earns that loyalty.

    4. ” Barr should be shunned by all institutions of higher learning.”

      Except, perhaps, Trump University.

      1. Liberty still loves him. And Regent. And Ave Maria. Probably a few other law schools, and plenty of undergraduate schools.

        There are plenty of schools — hundreds — operated by and for conservatives. They tend to be lousy schools with downscale students, shabby reputations and records, unaccomplished alumni, and weak faculty.

        Our strongest schools are operated in the liberal-libertarian mainstream. Why? Reason, progress, science, and modernity are better than backwardness, dogma, insularity, and superstition, particularly in the context of education, research, and knowledge.

        Conservatives hate affirmative action unless it involves right-wing professors, students, speakers, and administrators at strong schools. In that context — and only that context — diversity becomes a rallying point for conservatives, who urge strong schools to emulate weak schools by hiring more conservatives.

        1. A century ago, our strongest schools were WASP enclaves that excluded Jews and Catholics, etc. Many of those no longer exist.

          1. Is that why the Conspirators and their fans pine for the “good old days” and just can’t stand all of this progress, reason, science, inclusiveness, and modernity?

          2. What? You’re saying that many of the Jews and Catholics who wanted to attend college a century ago are no longer with us? Thank you for this observation that so many might have missed.

  4. “should the architects of the family separation policy . . . be honored for their careers”

    I personally am not inclined to honor Obama for his career, but not because he separated adults from children that were brought along in the commission of serious crimes and trespass.

    1. not because he separated adults from children that were brought along in the commission of serious crimes and trespass.

      Obama did not have anything resembling Trump’s official, deliberately cruel, separation policy. A few were separated because of suspicions that the adults were not the children’s parents and that something undesirable was going on, or because of a shortage of family facilities, but saying “Obama started it” is a BS Fox/Limbaugh talking point.

      1. Obama made it more difficult for Cuban refugees to get legal status because they voted for Republicans. So every Cuban refugee in detention facilities is there because Obama issued an executive order and sent them there including the 4 Cuban women fleeing domestic violence Booker helped across the border. Btw, what’s up with a the Hispanic men bring violent forcing Hispanic woman and children to seek refuge in America…sounds like Hispanic men are “bad hombres”. 😉

        1. “sounds like Hispanic men are “bad hombres”.”

          Some of them undoubtedly are. And some are good people. Deciding either way before you meet them is stupid, no matter which way you choose to err.

        1. “Well this was Clinton”

          doesn’ look like Clinton.

      2. “Obama did not have anything resembling Trump’s. . . separation policy”

        Sure he did. Both administrations separated children from adults. So it does resemble.

        And in fact going by the rhetoric and reasoning of nearly every person on the left I know personally, the two are indistinguishable, since the rhetoric goes no further than “separating families is bad” and “cages bad.”

        Of course, Americans are separated from their kids when they are arrested for doing illegal things too.

        And of course none of this would have happened but for the Flores rule which created a choice between this and an untenable “catch and release” open borders situation.

        1. No he didn’t. That’s nonsense.

          Trump, and only Trump, had a deliberate separation policy, purposely adopted to punish those subjected to it.

          Here are some actual facts.

          Go back to telling us what a great man Robert E. Lee was.

          1. Both administrations separated adults and children. End of story.

            Of course, the resemblance is so undeniable, that the media went dishonestly hysterical with photos that ended up being dated from the Obama admin.

            But yes, the Trump admin did more of this, as it instituted a zero tolerance policy for illegal border crossers. Good.

            Of course, then the Trump admin tried to end separations by ending the Flores settlement and keeping the families together. And then, an Obama judge blocked this move. Because this is exactly why the Clinton admin made the Flores settlement to begin with — to promote lawless open borders.

            1. Acts with an intended evil result are not the same as acts with an unintended evil result.

              1. Unless you’re the recipient of such acts.

                1. Consequentalism has never been a moral theory we adhere to. Look at our legal system. Criminal charges, torts, contracts, intent matters.

            2. “Both administrations separated adults and children. End of story.”

              Trump’s administration settled on using forced family separation as a tactic to try to get illegals to self-deport. They thought this idea was new with them.

    2. “he separated adults from children that were brought along in the commission of serious crimes and trespass.”

      Trump’s team separated families that were formally requesting refugee status. Didn’t get all the families reunited, either.

      1. Ilhan Omar was a refugee separated from her brother…they later were reunited and then married each other…how beautiful!! That would make such a great movie!!

      2. Nearly every illegal who illegally ran across our borders claims that.

        1. OK, and?

          Lawfully claiming asylum isn’t illegal.

  5. Liberal thinks only liberals and tame [pet] conservatives are ok.

    Its the NYT theory of columnist selection.

    1. No norms, only partisanship for Bob.

      You’re not a moral person Bob, we all know.

      You keep trumpeting your owning the libs justifies the means nihilism and it’s kinda weird.

      1. If Levy pointed out one, just one, liberal or Democrat who did “bad” things, maybe you might have a point.

        Liberals good, conservatives bad is an opinion, not a “norm”.

        1. “If Levy pointed out one, just one, liberal or Democrat who did ‘bad’ things”

          It’s tough to find objective examples of one, just one, liberal or Democrat who did “bad” things.

          Bill Clinton was maneuvered into lying under oath, in a way that harmed approximately nobody. Carter let the Iranian revolutionaries hold American hostages for over a year. Neither is on par with selling weapons to terrorists, or authorizing torture of prisoners. (Reagan and GW Bush), or authorizing the separation of families seeking refugee status (that’s dear old Donnie J).

          1. Exactly, Jones’ lawyers should have had ethics complaints levied on them for putting other interests above their client’s interests.

          2. Holder’s (followed by more Lynch’s) Operation Chokepoint seems to be an objectionably ‘bad’ way to try and circumvent the bill of rights.

              1. Is it on par with ordering the torture of prisoners?

          3. Who gave Obama the legal opinion allowing him to execute US citizens on foreign soil. No charges, no trial. Murder seems skeezier than supposed torture.

            1. ” Murder seems skeezier than supposed torture.”

              would have been.

    2. “Liberal thinks only liberals and tame [pet] conservatives are ok. ”

      And you think they aren’t, and imagine anyone should care.

  6. “Students and faculty members must be free to argue in favor of (for example) closed borders and the end of rights of asylum and refuge. They should also be free, in their various clubs and departments, to invite speakers to a campus to advocate those ideas.”

    By all means, if they can find such speakers. Can you give specific examples of people who hold those views?

    And what’s the difference between the right to asylum and the right of refuge?

    1. Don’t everyone pipe up at once, I’m sure you can think of some examples 🙂

      1. the fact that nobody pays any attention to your ramblings is not in any way proof that they’re correct.

        1. I wasn’t aware that I’d stated any proposition to be corrected.

          At least you paid attention. I’ll always have you.

          1. “I wasn’t aware that I’d stated any proposition to be corrected.”

            So I get to be the person today to point out that you are stupid?

            I guess somebody has to do it, not that there’s any expectation that it will accomplish anything.

            “At least you paid attention. I’ll always have you.”

            Your ego is also stupid. You’ll always have that.

    2. “Can you give specific examples of people who hold those views?”

      Donald J. Trump.

      1. So I get to be the person today to point out that you are stupid?

        1. Seriously, your feelings tell you that President Trump wants “closed borders and the end of rights of asylum and refuge.”

          So it must be true. Because your emotional reaction is so intense.

          Stupid is as stupid does.

  7. treating one party’s law enforcement officials as generally honorable while another’s are generally dishonorable would not be a step forward

    Imagine the worst, Hitler or Lenin or Mao. It would be crazy to treat them as “fair and balanced”. The problem is that partisans today start with the assumption that their opponent is bad enough to deserve similar contempt, therefore they must be morally equivalent. Trump is not literally Hitler. AOC / Bernie / Lizzie are not literally Lenin or Stalin or Mao.

    (I have little doubt that if AOC or Bernie or Lizzie did win the Presidency and a filibuster-proof majority, and did ram through the Green New Deal, the end result, before their two terms were out, would be as bed as Lenin or Stalin or Mao. But I also believe that their fantasies are so profoundly unrealistic that they cannot be rammed through.)

    1. I have little doubt that if AOC or Bernie or Lizzie did win the Presidency and a filibuster-proof majority, and did ram through the Green New Deal, the end result, before their two terms were out, would be as bed as Lenin or Stalin or Mao. But I also believe that their fantasies are so profoundly unrealistic that they cannot be rammed through.

      Oh come on. Gulags, mass forced starvation, the Cultural Revolution with its body count?

      You think that would happen?

      1. I think it could happen, but not from the left but from the right.

      2. Note what I said and you left out: if they could ram through the Green New Deal.

        Selective reading is a pretty useless skill except for politicians.

        1. According to The Washington Post (February 11, 2019), the resolution calls for a “10-year national mobilization” whose primary goals would be:[55]

          “Guaranteeing a job with a family-sustaining wage, adequate family and medical leave, paid vacations, and retirement security to all people of the United States.”
          “Providing all people of the United States with – (i) high-quality health care; (ii) affordable, safe, and adequate housing; (iii) economic security; and (iv) access to clean water, clean air, healthy and affordable food, and nature.”
          “Providing resources, training, and high-quality education, including higher education, to all people of the United States.”
          “Meeting 100 percent of the power demand in the United States through clean, renewable, and zero-emission energy sources.”
          “Repairing and upgrading the infrastructure in the United States, including . . . by eliminating pollution and greenhouse gas emissions as much as technologically feasible.”
          “Building or upgrading to energy-efficient, distributed, and ‘smart’ power grids, and working to ensure affordable access to electricity.”
          “Upgrading all existing buildings in the United States and building new buildings to achieve maximal energy efficiency, water efficiency, safety, affordability, comfort, and durability, including through electrification.”
          “Overhauling transportation systems in the United States to eliminate pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector as much as is technologically feasible, including through investment in – (i) zero-emission vehicle infrastructure and manufacturing; (ii) clean, affordable, and accessible public transportation; and (iii) high-speed rail.”
          “Spurring massive growth in clean manufacturing in the United States and removing pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from manufacturing and industry as much as is technologically feasible.”
          “Working collaboratively with farmers and ranchers in the United States to eliminate pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from the agricultural sector as much as is technologically feasible.”

          Pretty ambitious – some might say unrealistic and impractical, or even just unwise as a government initiative. But no mention of gulags or re-education camps.

          1. Neither Stalin or Mao advertised theirs….

          2. Are you really so naive that you think there is truth in political advertising?

            Or just so naive that we will think so just because you said so?

            1. So basically, you and Ed think the Green New Dealers have secret plots to send people to gulags and re-education camps, and whatnot, despite their being no evidence of this.

              Therefore you assert that nothing its supporters say can be believed, which, in your mind, is further proof of your ridiculous claim. You argue that since neither Stalin nor Mao advertised their evil intentions, the Green New Dealers, by not advertising evil intentions, must be in the same category.

              So anyone who doesn’t announce that they want to forcibly starve millions to death must want to.

              I knew Ed was stupid enough to say shit like that. I didn’t think you were.

              1. This is how conspiracy theory works. The fact that there’s no evidence counter to the conspiracy theory is proof that the conspiracy is working.

              2. “Green New Dealers have secret plots to send people to gulags and re-education camps”

                Every far left wing group that has taken power has had these, no reason to think this collection of fanatics will do differently.

                1. Yeah. All 0 of the far leftwing groups that have taken power in the USA have had secret plans for gulags and re-education camps. Every single one of the 0 of them.

          3. I think it is weird that Green New Deal advocates ignore the AOC document that went into great detail about what these broad statements would actually mean in concrete policies and specific goals. Sure they deleted it when people reacted poorly to its insane proposals but there is no reason to think that was anything but a PR response instead of a change in plans. We’re also expected to ignore the cost/materials estimates and even the environmental impact of retrofitting all buildings, ending air travel, etc.

  8. “but the law school might offer an endowed lecture or an honorary degree only to a former Solicitor General in the Obama administration and not in the Trump administration.”

    That alone shows the problem — and the half of the country that considers the Obama administration a horde of criminals develops open contempt for the law school. All they have to do is cut off the largess of federal funding and the law school will be no more.

    And there is the “tyranny of the majority” — a conservative state’s legislature could require Federalist Society approval of law schools to take that state’s bar exam.

    1. Assuming that such a requirement would be upheld by the state’s supreme court, which actually has the power to regulate bar membership.

      1. Not necessarily — not if you can amend a state constitution — which is where the state’s supreme court gets its authority.

        On the Federal level, we could repeal Article III in its entirety — it would create one hell of a mess, but constitutional amendments are inherently Constitutional.

        1. “constitutional amendments are inherently Constitutional.”

          Fine. Then the Consititution is amended to say you have to shut the fuck up.

    2. and the half of the country that considers the Obama administration a horde of criminals

      What are they guilty of?

      How many Obama advisers and officials have been indicted? How many for Trump?

      1. Fast and Furious ring a bell?

        Oh, indicted you said. Gosh, Trump staffers indicted by Obama hangons and stooges, well that’s all ok then.

      2. We’re waiting for John Durham….

        1. Who has people resigning because his investigation has become partisan.

          You’ll love his October surprise. We’ll see if the country listens.

          1. I’ll tell you what: if that woman is punching a cash register at WallMart a year from now, I’ll concede she resigned on principle — IF you’re willing to concede that if she’s in a choice legal job, this was nothing more than political and for her personal advancement.

            And one other thing: while a sitting president can’t be indicted, what happens if a candidate is under indictment?

            1. “And one other thing: while a sitting president can’t be indicted, what happens if a candidate is under indictment?”

              Like just about any legal question, the correct answer is “It depends”.

            2. Ah, You think she was paid off by the Deep State.

              Can’t argue with made up lunacy.

        2. “We’re waiting for John Durham….”

          Not Bill Barr. He insists that some red meat be served before Election Day.

          Sounds like he wants a “Clingers’ Last Supper.”

      3. Classified info on unsecured devices
        Lying to the FISA court…4 times
        Falsifying documents submitted to the FISA court
        85% of 702 searches were illegal. found by two different investigations, by 2 different FISA judges
        Using human assets to spy on a political campaign.
        Running guns to Mexican drug cartels,causing the death of one boarder agent
        Laundering green energy money to campaign donors through Solydra, and others
        unmasking of US citizens caught up in FISA spying
        That’s just top of the head stuff, the corrupt DoJ/FBI were involved in, or refused to investigate/prosecute.

        1. Wasn’t there a second LEO killed by the F&F guns?

          1. Their names: Jaime Zapata (ICE Special Agent) & Brian Terry (US Border Patrol)

      4. “What are they guilty of?”

        Not being Republicans, which is literally treason.

  9. “(Indeed, at some (I think many) law schools a student group cannot invite a powerful person on their own, because the administration holds a monopoly on VIP guests, such as Supreme Court Justices, in order to ensure that they receive the VIP treatment.)”

    Plus, of course, it’s their property. It’s one thing to invite people to come over to your house, and quite another when you want to invite people to come over to someone else’s.

    1. How do renters figure into your absolutes?

      Do you consider students to be renters?

      IANAL so feel free to quibble.

      1. Interesting question is whose property it is. Legally, the trustees.
        Faculty think they own it — and technically don’t.

        Reality is that the students do because if they go away, the place goes under. It’s like WalMart — Bentonville owns the store but if no customers show up, it’s a vacant shell of little value.

      2. “Do you consider students to be renters?”

        No. Just like shoppers at Wal-Mart aren’t renters.

        1. But WalMart has had to abandon stores that lacked shoppers.

          1. Which is relevant to something, somewhere, but not this.

          2. Didn’t Obama re-purpose those Walmarts as re-education camps?
            In addition to confiscating their guns?
            Prior to my temporarily leaving town I was told it was imminent. Upon my return (and suprise) mad_kalak informed me that Obama had indeed tried to accomplish this but was thwarted by “the courts […]”.
            Thank God that all got sorted out!

  10. If higher ed institutions are seen as partisan, people will rightly start to demand that they not be funded.

    They are partisan, and they should be defended.

    1. s/defended/defunded/ ???

      1. Thank you.

    2. Quit whining.

      We let your weak, nonsense-teaching schools receive undeserved accredited. We conduct affirmative action for conservative professors on faculties at our strong schools. You’re lucky to get that.

  11. I can’t find online any indication whether this, from the William & Mary website on January 19, 2018, actually happened or not:

    Former FBI Director James B. Comey ’82 will teach a three-credit course on ethical leadership for William & Mary starting this fall.

    I was curious at the time it was announced, because I was giving serious thought to ordering a mascot-type custom-tailored weasel costume, in order to picket his classes.

    1. You will probably get to meet Hillary Clinton in the picket line. Comey and McCabe should teach a class about how to throw an election to an assclown like Trump.

      1. It’s been a long time since someone was held in such contempt by both sides of the aisle. The left, for violating norms and announcing a BS Hillary investigation just before the election, and, for deliberately hiding from the American voters the fact that there was a far-more-serious investigation of Trump going on. And the right, for refusing to pledge loyalty to Trump and then keeping notes on Trump’s attempt to pressure him into dropping the Flynn investigation.

        Does Comey have any fans or supporters left? I genuinely can’t think of one.

        1. Except Comey suppressed the investigation into Clinton’s wifes, crimes, and there was never anything to launch a spying operation on a political campaign. (good news, Trump has a template to spy in the inept Biden operation. His China connections are massive)

          1. “Except Comey suppressed the investigation into Clinton’s wifes”

            Comey knows Clinton’s a polygamist?

            ” there was never anything to launch a spying operation on a political campaign.”

            Which matches the never spying on a political campaign, so that checks out.

            “good news, Trump has a template to spy in the inept Biden operation.”
            If Trump were capable, Biden might have something to worry about.

  12. “Why slink offstage in disgrace when there’s a living to be made continuing to denounce Trump’s enemies?”

    And the stage is reserved for those who denounce Trump.

    1. Mr. Trump could have built a stage, but chose to focus his political legacy on complaining instead. I hope this lesson is learned by those people now working in politics whose sole tool in the toolbox is attack.

  13. “[A] recentering of intellectual merit over power and celebrity is indeed something to aspire to. . . . . Imagine speakers and visitors selected only on the basis of what they have to say, and not their identity or prestige.”

    That seems intellectually, even metaphysically, incoherent. Once someone had been invited to Harvard and Yale a few times “on the basis of what they have to say,” they would have a well-known identity and considerable prestige.

    1. Note the order of events, FIRST, they have something useful to say, THEN they get fame and prestige. If the only way to get fame and prestige is to have something useful to say, you spend less time wasted listening to famous or prestigious people who have nothing useful to say.

  14. Here is an example of the quality that our “woke” universities put not only on staff, but place to teach our children.

    https://mynorthwest.com/1574694/professor-antifa-violence/?

    I actually don’t disagree with this guy’s premise though. He supports a right to self-defense. OK there we agree. He even suggests that right is individual AND collective. OK no disagreement with there in general (maybe some specifics, but nothing big.)

    Then he applies the “it is OK because my cause is just” political test to get to his conclusion. If that is what he believes then I actually think that is largely OK too. The problem is he isn’t going to like the other side, who views socialism and attempts to implement it here in the United States, pretty much as he views “fascism.”

    But really if that is how the Left is going to cast the culture wars as of today, then I am all for this viewpoint. Puts everything on the table in a nice open manner. We can then sort it all out which I don’t think is a bad thing for everyone concerned in the long run.

    1. Here is an example of the quality that our “woke” universities put not only on staff, but place to teach our children. […] I actually don’t disagree with this guy’s premise though. He supports a right to self-defense. OK there we agree. He even suggests that right is individual AND collective. OK no disagreement with there in general (maybe some specifics, but nothing big.)

      so, you have no objection to who the “woke” schools are staffing with.

    2. Jimmy, I’ve dealt with schmucks like this — you’re giving him too much credit.

      1. You AM “schmuck like this”.

  15. > When students call for the cancellation of a speaker because his or her words are seen as harmful or otherwise beyond the pale,

    How about when their actions are harmful and beyond the pale? And I think actions has to include illocutionary speech, such as orders.

  16. George W. Bush sought, but was not offered, admission to Texas Law School. He had to settle for his second choice, Harvard Business School. And despite being the son of the senior U.S. senator from Tennessee, Al Gore was admitted to, but flunked out of, Vanderbilt Divinity.

    The answer to the title of this post is, simply: “Exactly like everyone else.” Period.

    1. “The answer to the title of this post is, simply: ‘Exactly like everyone else.’ Period.”

      Nah. No nepotism is appropriate, but if some school (law or otherwise) wants to honor someone who has actually accomplished something, they should be able to do so. So if Yale Law School wants to honor JJ Abrams for Outstanding Achievement in Lens Flare, or Mark Hamill for Best Non-Fatal portrayal of the Joker, that should be their call. People who didn’t like Mr. Abrams’ or Mr. Hamill’s work are free to proclaim their disdain for these awards.

      1. @ Mr. Pollack: You have in mind something like this, I assume? Matthew McConaughey, Professor of Practice, Moody College of Communication, University of Texas at Austin. This link is worth a click just to see the photograph, I promise.

        This kind of thing is what the hat says.

        Unfortunately, there are recent scandals, about which I’m still very angry (as an alumnus of both), of preferential admissions at both UT-Austin and Texas Law School. Those are not what the hat says.

        1. Mr. Balder, indeed.

          The organizations are free to choose whom to honor and alumni (and others) are free to hold such honors to ridicule.
          Admissions is a different question. Although not totally different. Since I am not an alumni of any Texas schools, I don’t have to care about their scandals, and so I don’t. Based on my (admittedly limited) experience, Texas is a miserable place and I don’t know why anyone would choose to live there (on purpose). I went to Basic Training in San Antonio in July and August of 1985. From there I went to tech school in Denver, Colorado through January 1986. Denver was better, if a touch icier.

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