Law Professor Skipped Teaching Plessy v. Ferguson, Edited Dred Scott to Two Paragraphs

“I wasn’t comfortable giving [Taney's] words to my students because I was afraid it would hurt them and destroy the kind of community I want to foster in class.”

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Professor Matthew Steilen (Buffalo) skipped teaching Plessy v. Ferguson, and edited Dred Scott down to two paragraphs. Jeannie Suk Gersen wrote about his decision in the New Yorker:

Matthew Steilen, a law professor at the University at Buffalo, launched the Twitter thread and advocated for editing the case down to a minimalistic page or so, to omit text that is "so gratuitously insulting and demeaning." He wondered whether assigning that material is asking students "to relive the humiliation of Taney's language as evidence of his doctrine of white supremacy." . . .

Steilen, who wrote the initial tweet about teaching the Dred Scott case, doesn't disagree with these principles and has worked to add more content on slavery and the Civil War in his course. But, he told me, "George Floyd has changed everything. . . . I wasn't sure I could muster the moral authority to stand up there and teach this case." He explained that omitting it entirely would be "a bridge too far," but he thought it best to assign just "two paragraphs and move on." He said, "Taney is making the case that Black people who were enslaved were never part of the people of the United States and could never be citizens. . . . It's just painful. I'm white and I'm going to stand up there and talk with the students, including Black students, about this stuff? I would be dragging them through stuff that was hurtful to them. . . . It just felt indefensible." Steilen feels that Taney's language "gratuitously traumatizes" readers: "I wasn't comfortable giving his words to my students because I was afraid it would hurt them and destroy the kind of community I want to foster in class." This year, Steilen also skipped teaching Plessy v. Ferguson, which held that segregation did not imply Black people's inferiority, and instead only mentioned its ideas in discussing Brown v. Board of Education, which overruled it.

Steilen's decision was inevitable. If law schools start from the en vogue premise that students should be shielded from material that may be "traumatizing" or "hurtful" or "painful," then this pedagogy makes eminent sense. I vigorously disagree with this premise. Educators cannot skip foundational material to avoid imparting pain or trauma.

A study in constitutional law is woefully incomplete without Dred Scott and Plessy. I devote an entire class to each case. I wish I could do more, but there is not enough time. These classes are not pleasant. Often emotions flare. Voices are raised. Students become disillusioned. But the students learn important lessons. Usually by this point in the semester, the character of the class is formed.

I understand that some criminal law professors no longer teach the law of rape. And now, some constitutional law professors will no longer teach about slavery and segregation. Entire chunks of the constitutional canon will be cancelled. Prigg. Dred Scott. The Civil Rights Cases. Plessy. I fear Steilen's decision will not be isolated. Other professors likely reached the same conclusion. Randy and I continue to develop a book project about slavery and the Constitution. If professors simply stop teaching the subject, our work becomes an even more important supplement.

NEXT: The Academic Freedom Podcast

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  1. Makes one wonder what they teach of the Soviet Union, Marx, and so on.

    Wait, no it doesn’t.

    1. These are one of many failrues of the lawyer profession, the most toxic and dangerous occupation in our country. They violated the law. They denied the plain language of the constitution. Their consequences were hideously lethal and catastrophic to the nation. The lawyer profession must be crushed to save our nation.

      1. The trauma of these cases is still small compared to many others.

        1. OK, welcome to Anatomy 101. Not covering the offensive male urogenital area. You can’t do that. These law students will face horrendous murders and sex crimes, massive thefts, disgusting dumping of pollutants. They will be paid to control their emotions and to do the job. I asked why so many sodomy cases at the start of Crim Law? Is that a big problem in the world of crime? The reply was, why dissection of a corpse at the start of med school. May as well dive in at the start.

          1. Wokeness is denial of reality. Nobody is risking life to reach any dark skinned country. There are no successful jurisdictions of any size governed by sark skinned people. A single exception would be welcome. Welcome to Detroit, deniers.

  2. Can’t an imaginative and intelligent professor of law teach these cases based on their principles without reference to the offensive language? I understand that a person may think that some of the language in the decisions are offensive and should not be glorified, but the reality of life is that they exist. Pretending they do not is rediculous. And isn’t a better action to use them as an example of the ignorance, prejudice, hatred, bigotry etc towards African Americans by elite white jurists?

    1. Can’t an imaginative and intelligent professor of law teach these cases based on their principles without reference to the offensive language?

      Um, no? The problem isn’t the use of racial epithets or the like that could be bowdlerized; the problem is the very principles in the opinions.

      (To be clear, I mean “the problem” from his perspective. (And to be clear about my clarification, I don’t mean to suggest that those principles aren’t awful; they are. But I don’t think that should pose a problem for teaching them to adults, as opposed to snowflakes.))

      1. Indeed. Teaching the principles used, and the logic used, and then dissecting that logic and pointing out the errors is critical to a firm legal education.

        It helps in recognizing similar errors in the future, as well as the consequences of such errors.

        1. I don’t think they actually want to prevent similar errors in the future. They want to perpetrate them, just in a different direction. To that end, you don’t want people understanding what was wrong with Taney’s reasoning, because it’s wrong with their reasoning, too.

          You don’t want the students noticing that.

          1. Really, Brett? Liberals want Dred Scott, but against whites?

            That’s fucking insane, even for you.

            1. Brett was telling us just a few threads ago that liberals want people like him put in concentration camps.

              Brett, to be clear, we do not want to put you in concentration camps. We just think you shouldn’t be allowed to wield political power far disproportionate to your actual numbers.

              1. We just think you shouldn’t be allowed to wield political power far disproportionate to your actual numbers.

                I am pretty sure Hitler said something similar about Jews.

                1. Mighty good proving there!

                  Do dog ownership next.

                2. Except that Jews didn’t actually wield political power far disproportionate to their numbers in Weimar Germany.

            2. Getting kind of tired of you pretending you go through life with your eyes shut tight.

              Report: Neo-Segregation at Yale

              It’s not the right demanding segregated dorms, racially discriminatory hiring and admissions, and so forth. It’s the left.

              1. …Do you know what Dred Scott was about, dude?

                1. Yes, I know what Dred Scott was about, how Taney falsified history to claim that blacks had never had rights in America.

                  We’ve had racial gerrymanders mandated under the voting rights act for some time now. Racial quotas and segregation are making a comeback. We’re backsliding on equality under the law.Equity” is replacing equality of rights.

                  I don’t want them hiding the reasoning of historical racist Supreme court rulings, I want that reasoning taught, so that people can recognize it when it comes back in a new guise.

                  1. Taney argued that whites generally and systemically thought of blacks as inferior at the Founding and that the law generally and systemically reflected that, therefore they couldn’t be seen as citizens under the Founding documents. Racial quotas and ‘segregation’ are not being pushed today under such an argument.

                    1. And he was demonstrably wrong, because at the founding slavery was not the exclusively racial matter it later became, so America did have free blacks, treated as citizens, as well as enslaved whites. Blacks were neither uniformly treated as equals, nor as unequal, at the founding, it was a mixed bag.

                      But that wouldn’t have served his purpose in categorically denying that blacks could be the equal of whites.

                    2. There’s a lot of dubious assertions here, but they don’t need to be addressed to refute you: generally and largely blacks were treated as inferior to whites socially and legally at the Founding.

                    3. Generally and largely, but Taney’s reasoning required it to be pretty much a rule without exception, because he was asserting that blacks categorically could not be the legal equals of whites.

                      And yet an examination of practice at the time of the founding was mixed, not uniform.

                    4. “an examination of practice at the time of the founding was mixed”

                      If you’d call the MLB in 1947 ‘mixed’ I guess.

                    5. And Justice Benjamin Curtis not only dissented but resigned from SCOTUS in protest. See: https://repository.uchastings.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1628&context=hastings_constitutional_law_quaterly

              2. Brett, handicapped parking is actually discrimination against the able bodied, since I have to walk further to get to the building. But it’s discrimination that’s rooted in a legitimate state interest. And that’s the question: Not whether it’s discriminatory, but is it rationally related to a legitimate state interest.

                Same with discrimination against convicted convicted rapists being allowed to work in a girl’s dormitory. Yes, it’s discrimination, but it’s rational discrimination.

                So, what you decry as racial discrimination may technically be that, but that’s not the point. Unless and until you oppose handicapped parking and excluding convicted rapists from girl’s dormitories, spare us how awful you think discrimination is.

                1. Your argument actually works against you.

                  The Freedman’s act, for instance, discriminated in favor of people who had actually been slaves, or subject to hugely discriminatory law. Not people who looked like people who’d actually been slaves.

                  Handicapped parking discriminates on the basis of the actual incapacity, not belonging to a group that resembles the handicapped.

                  We discriminate against convicted rapists, not men because they disproportionately get convicted of rape.

                  Actual racial discrimination hinges on the cosmetic, not the functional. It doesn’t care if somebody black has just arrived from freedom abroad, and has no ancestors who were slaves going back a dozen generations. It doesn’t care if somebody not black has just escaped illegal slavery in the US.

                  It treats people on the basis of race, not condition. Race starts as a proxy for the condition, then supplants the condition.

                  1. But the cosmetic became the standard by which people were judged.

                    If we were having this discussion on a clean slate, I would agree with you. But it’s not a clean slate. There’s centuries, if not millenia, of negative consequences from slavery and Jim Crow from which people still suffer, and ongoing racism against minorities still hasn’t been stamped out.

                    You’re basically asking that that reality be ignored in favor of theory that has little to do with reality. And candidly, same thing I said to Jimmy the Dane: It’s based on a huge chip you have on your shoulder about the sufferings of white people.

                    1. ” There’s centuries, if not millenia, of negative consequences from slavery and Jim Crow from which people still suffer, and ongoing racism against minorities still hasn’t been stamped out.”

                      Find me somebody who’s centuries old, and I’ll accept that you’ve got a point. No, I think Roberts was right: “The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.” Period.

                    2. “There’s centuries, if not millennia, of negative consequences from slavery and Jim Crow from which people still suffer…”

                      They guys in Liberia seemed to do pretty well, relatively speaking. But you’re still better off here than in Liberia.

                    3. “They guys in Liberia seemed to do pretty well”

                      There’s a lot of potential confounding variables that are going on there, no?

                    4. “Find me somebody who’s centuries old, and I’ll accept that you’ve got a point.”

                      In your world I guess nothing is ever inherited from parents, grandparents, etc.

                      We know that kids whose parents went to college are significantly more likely to go and excel in college than kids who lack that. You don’t have to go many generations back to be where blacks were at a significant disadvantage there. You can do this for several other critical variables as well.

                    5. Brett, *of course* you think the way to end discrimination is to stop discriminating, because it just so happens that if the status quo remains firmly in place, you benefit. And you don’t have to be centuries old to still benefit from bad stuff your ancestors did, or to suffer from bad stuff that was done to your ancestors.

                    6. “There’s a lot of potential confounding variables that are going on there, no?”

                      Like what?

                    7. So white people are not allowed to complain about discrimination, racism, sexism, and the whole other host of int he parade of horribles because of……reasons……?

                    8. (replying to Krycheck_2)

                      As I put it in an old VC thread:

                      re: “need to redress past inequities”
                      Your great-grandfather did something to my great-grandfather. Give me your TV!

                    9. Jimmy, of course you can complain about it; it’s called the First Amendment. Doesn’t mean you should prevail on the policy though.

                      Ed, if your great-grandfather did something bad from which you are still benefitting, then maybe you shouldn’t. Just because the bad behavior happened a long time ago doesn’t mean you should still reap the profits.

                    10. “In your world I guess nothing is ever inherited from parents, grandparents, etc.”

                      Plenty of things, but not guilt. My ancestors were starved out of Ireland by the British, but the British owe me nothing.

                      ” And you don’t have to be centuries old to still benefit from bad stuff your ancestors did, or to suffer from bad stuff that was done to your ancestors.”

                      But there’s no inquiry here as to ones’ ancestors, even were I to concede the notion of inherited moral debts legitimate. The only inquiry is into skin color. Immigrants of the right color benefit, immigrants of the wrong color pay, when neither of their ancestors had anything to do with the historical wrong.

                      Historical wrongs are, then, just an excuse, and it’s really just all about the color of your skin, not even the content of your great grandfather’s character, let alone your own.

                    11. You can’t just think about racism by talking about resources like TVs and money.

                      You need to think about systems and culture as well, and the way they influence the way markets and meritocracies allocate resources and opportunities.

                      That much would seem pretty hard to argue. The conclusions CRT comes to are absolutely worth arguing with! But no one here is capable of doing that, because they prefer moral panic to discussion.

                    12. “Like what?”

                      You need me to tell you some potential confounding variables between outcomes in Liberia and the United States? What’s next, potential confounding variables for why your old elementary school librarian and Drew Barrymore had different outcomes?

                    13. “Plenty of things, but not guilt.”

                      Not guilt, advantage (or ‘privilege’).

            3. That’s not what he said. I suspect (although I’d need to re-read it) that the chain of logic in Dred Scot is reasonably compatible with the logic underlying CRT.

              1. Also be sure to read CRT, because you don’t know what you’re talking about.

                Not much in CRT about white people being property.

                1. There’s a lot about White people and Black people. And that’s the point. CRT is foundationally about group dynamics based on immutable aesthetic characteristics. It builds a whole chain of ideas on the basis of Black and White.

                  Dred Scot is foundationally about reifying Blackness, just like CRT.

                  Glad to see that you had the decency to not capitalize white. So you’re not completely captured by CRT.

                  1. ” CRT is foundationally about group dynamics based on immutable aesthetic characteristics.”

                    OK, so you don’t know wtf you’re talking about.

                    1. It sounds like he does. Are you sure you know what you’re talking about?

                    2. It sounds like he does

                      Dude, there’s plenty to criticize about CRT without making shit up.

                      But you don’t seem capable of engaging with it, preferring strawman offered up to you by whatever nonsense you read.

                    3. “Dude, there’s plenty to criticize about CRT without making shit up.”

                      You’re suggesting that it’s not “foundationally about group dynamics based on immutable aesthetic characteristics?”

                      You’re gaslighting again, Sarcastro.

                    4. Here’s the issue I take:

                      Dred Scot is foundationally about reifying Blackness, just like CRT.

                      Wrong on both counts.

                    5. “It sounds like he does. Are you sure you know what you’re talking about?”

                      Didn’t you concede you haven’t read much ‘critical race theory’ the other day? I mean, ok, but why continue to pontificate? Anyone who has read much of it would rightly laugh at “CRT is foundationally about group dynamics based on immutable aesthetic characteristics. “

                    6. “Anyone who has read much of it would rightly laugh at “CRT is foundationally about group dynamics based on immutable aesthetic characteristics.”

                      Why? Seems like a pretty accurate description to me.

                    7. No, AL, it’s about history and it’s effect on current society. Group dynamics are there with unconscious bias (which I’m skeptical of), but not in the vacuum like that quote implies.

                      I think it’s arguably one of the things CRT is about, but even that is arguable.

                    8. CRT is basically just telling people of certain skin color that they are a hapless victim with no agency based upon solely the color of their skin and there is nothing you can do about it except get mad and yell at other people based upon their skin color.

                    9. But you don’t seem capable of engaging with it, preferring strawman

                      Your hypocrisy knows no bounds.

                    10. ” Seems like a pretty accurate description to me.”

                      Deduced from all the CRT books you have not read?

                    11. TiP, you’re the one in the last thread that said you’d read CRT and you clearly had read some excerpts from PJmedia or Breitbart of something.

                      There are other conservatives on this very comment thread that are arguing against what CRT actually says.

                      And you stubbornly refuse to deal with a CRT that isn’t some absurd character that’s Dred Scott But Against Whites and is against the idea of merit.

                      Like, read a book.

                2. “Not much in CRT about white people being property.”

                  Plenty about whiteness being property. It’d only take a minor tweak…

                  1. Too cute by half.

                    Privilege != property.

                    1. Who said it was? You haven’t come across the “whiteness as property” trope?

                    2. I hadn’t, and looking online it appears to stem from a single 1993 article. Neat stuff.

                      1) Is still light years away from whites as property
                      2) Appears to be basically talking about white privilege, using a spicy analogy.

                    3. A quick search found this:

                      Whiteness As Property


                      Professor Harris examines how whiteness, initially constructed as a form of racial identity, evolved into a form of property, historically and presently acknowledged and protected in American law.

                    4. “a single 1993 article.”

                      Magnifying a small number of instances is the epitome of moral panic.

                    5. “a single 1993 article.”

                      You missed “stems from.”

                    6. It’s a neat article. I see lots of buzz about it.

                      But I also don’t see much that makes your comment anything more than ‘*teehee* it’s like a pun that lets me wrap myself in the victimization of slavery!’

                    7. “It’s a neat article. I see lots of buzz about it.”

                      You’re understating it. According to several sources, e.g. here, “Whiteness as property” is one of the 5 tenents of CRT.

                    8. Interpret Whiteness as Property and recognize Historical and present-day examples of this tenet in order to Interrupt, Confront, Address, and Eliminate Racial Oppression and Inequity

                      LOL

                      But no…that’s not what CRT is about…folks like Sarcastr0 miss the point. It’s not that CRT is necessarily flawed at an abstract level. It’s that is leads to all of these ridiculous race based conclusion and ultimately only seeks to further reify race rather than move past it.

                    9. MP is closer, yeah.

                      CRT absolutely argues against moving past race, in that it rejects that one can without a long time explicitly examining and dealing with race.

                      I don’t think he’s right, but MP is actively meeting CRT where it lives, which is more than most here are doing.

                    10. Well, if a class at *Brandman University* says it, it must be a correct general statement!

                    11. On Having Whiteness

                      “Abstract
                      Whiteness is a condition one first acquires and then one has—a malignant, parasitic-like condition to which “white” people have a particular susceptibility. The condition is foundational, generating characteristic ways of being in one’s body, in one’s mind, and in one’s world. Parasitic Whiteness renders its hosts’ appetites voracious, insatiable, and perverse. These deformed appetites particularly target nonwhite peoples. Once established, these appetites are nearly impossible to eliminate. Effective treatment consists of a combination of psychic and social-historical interventions. Such interventions can reasonably aim only to reshape Whiteness’s infiltrated appetites—to reduce their intensity, redistribute their aims, and occasionally turn those aims toward the work of reparation. When remembered and represented, the ravages wreaked by the chronic condition can function either as warning (“never again”) or as temptation (“great again”). Memorialization alone, therefore, is no guarantee against regression. There is not yet a permanent cure.”

                    12. “Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association”

                      Lol, holy shit.

                      “130th out of 142 journals in the category “Psychiatry (SSCI)”.[1]”

            4. What is Roe, other than Dred Scott against babies that haven’t been born yet?

              Has Yale yet fired that “Professor” who described wanting to fill a revolver with bullets, then go out and kill any white people she met?

              The Left is “Fing insane”. Don’t whine at us for pointing it out

              1. Well, the black plaintiff in Dred Scott had already been born, so there is that.

                But why stop your concern at unborn babies? Shouldn’t we ban all forms of birth control so that unconceived babies have a chance to grow up too?

                1. I mean…they’re “trespassers” after all…right? Or have you finally abandoned that bit of stupidity?

                  1. Wuz is ok with the “What is Roe, other than Dred Scott against babies ” bit of stupidity, I guess.

                2. It must suck to be so stupid / ignorant that you can’t tell the difference between a haploid cell, and a diploid one

                  News flash Krychek_2: Only utter lunatics define “humanity” based on “are you in a womb, or outside of one”

                  But do keep fing that chicken

          2. It’s worse than even that, Brett — they don’t want them even being *able* to reason…

            Instead, they want robotic drones who comply…

      2. Hi, David. Do you have any criticism of your profession? Or, is everything honky dory? Those destroyed $billions in value, killed hundreds of thousands. How about Roe, with its multiple megadeaths?

  3. Ignore the past mistakes of the Constitution, and it makes it easier to have mistakes in the future.

    1. I think that is what the new racists are trying to do. This time around though they are going to get it “right” by discriminating against the “correct” humans based upon skin color.

      1. You could have a really fine barbeque with that chip on your shoulder.

        1. I bet any day now they’ll make saying something like this to a black (sorry, Black) person a hate-crime.
          But don’t worry, K_2, you’ll still be able to say it to white people. Like Brett said upthread: “We’re backsliding on equality under the law. ‘Equity’ is replacing equality of rights.”

        2. So why don’t you just come out and say you think white people are evil and need to be discriminated against for the good of society. I mean that is what the lady at Yale did and at least she was being honest about the whole deal.

          1. Because I don’t believe that white people are evil and need to be discriminated against for the good of society.

            1. Then show us that through your actions and words because you are doing a poor job of communicating that….

              1. Or, you could stop putting words in my mouth.

                1. How could anyone put words in your mouth with your foot blocking the way?

              2. He just said it in words, and how is he to show it on an internet chatboard?

                1. By saying word that match his real rhetoric.

  4. Acting as if about to collapse like an antebellum belle with a case of the vapors at some rogue’s words, rather than being an intelligent actor with agency, gets around the First Amendment to silence critics.

    A handful of politicians benefit; the rest of the nation needs a good copy of The Emperor’s New Clothes.

  5. Both cases are very easy to understand if one has been taught American history—for most of our history white supremacy has been the law of the land. Furthermore, Taney was attempting to prevent a civil war which is actually a positive motivation…he failed. Oh, and the Civil War didn’t end white supremacy.

    1. Define White Supremacy? If you believe that all Americans have natural rights and Govt can’t discriminate or pass laws forcing others to discriminate..what else is there? Seriously…name one elected official or for that matter a law on the books today or proposed in Congress or any State House that would deprive any non “white” person (and define “white as well…does that include say southern europeans? North Africans? Middle Easterns? Central Asians? Indians?) of their natural rights?

      1. Titus PUllo, how about making it a matter of structural racism. For instance, take a look at the NFL policy on compensating head injuries to black players.

        Also, pretty much the entire right wing assault on voting— demonstrably, and at indiscreet times avowedly, an attack on blacks.

        The overturn of civil rights law in Shelby County comes to mind.

        As for elected officials, start with Mitch McConnell, and run through pretty much the entire Republican caucus in the Senate. No matter what they say, if anyone proposes a law to facilitate black equality, they oppose it, to a person. As recently as a few years ago, you might have seen a few exceptions. I don’t think there are any now, so the racist trend in the Senate is not in decline, if anything, it is on the increase.

        The panoply of laws and enforcement customs which insulate police from consequences for deadly attacks on black people come to mind too. Of course that one gets complicated, because motivation to let police attack blacks with impunity is so strong that structural racists are pretty much willing to let police kill any low-status person as a cost of keeping the racism going.

        But of course, as we all know, anti-racists are the real racists.

        1. “Also, pretty much the entire right wing assault on voting— demonstrably, and at indiscreet times avowedly, an attack on blacks.”

          So, laws and regulations to ensure voting integrity, like ID requirements, are anti-black? This is a tired prog/Dem narrative. You are dealing in the soft bigotry of low expectations. Your position requires that blacks aren’t smart enough, mobile enough, connected enough, to be able to equip themselves with the identification needed to vote where voter ID is required, aren’t able to access transportation to get to polling places (rather than drop boxes), can’t access the internet, and so on.

          Check Europe. Virtually every country requires ID to vote. I wonder why?

          1. They’re not to insure voting integrity. Restricting the hours that polls can be open, making it illegal to bring water to people standing in line, shutting down polling operations in places where blacks are more likely to vote, have nothing to do with insuring voting integrity.

            1. Mandating uniformity of polling hours and facilities, and continuing to make it illegal to bribe people in line with gifts, (While allowing poll workers to provide water.) have everything to do with insuring voting integrity.

              I can understand why Democrats object, though: A major factor in 2020 was the success of efforts to selectively boost turnout in heavily Democratic areas by violating the principle that voting rules and conditions should be uniform. GOTV drives were run in stealth mode by donating massive sums to local elections officials, rather than candidates and party offices.

              You’d like to pull that off again, and requiring that the rules be uniform across a state would get in the way.

              1. Why not make it uniformly *easier* to vote then, not uniformly more difficult?

                1. It was predicted at the time when Democrats made all sorts of ad hoc changes to election rules using Covid as an excuse, that you’d try to make them permanent. So, no surprise here.

                  Ease of voting is not the end all and be all of existence.

                  1. Ah, here’s where the Madam argues we’ve got plenty enough monogamy as it is.

                  2. It may not be the end all and be all, but your hypocrisy would not be so much on display if you supported measures to uniformly make voting easier.

                    If hours need to be extended at predominantly black polling place, I’m fine with also extending them at predominantly white polling place. Uniformity is great. But let’s make it uniformly more easy, not more difficult. Why do you want to make it harder to vote?

                    1. I think it’s easy enough to vote already, and you start running up against resource limitations if you take it too far.

                      As I pointed out, last year Zuckerberg laundered a huge amount of money through the Center for Technology and Civic Life, (In excess of $300M!) which money was directed selectively to run GOTV drives in heavily Democratic areas. That’s why they could, locally, afford the massive expansion of ballot access: He was footing the bill.

                      Those resources are NOT available to spend state-wide at that kind of level. You lave to achieve uniformity at a level that’s sustainable across an entire state. Not the peak spending levels you can achieve in local areas with a billionaire spending money like it’s burning a hole in his pocket.

                    2. I’m far from convinced it’s a resource problem; that sounds like an excuse. My state of Florida had early voting for weeks before election day and nobody seemed to think cost was an issue until it became apparent that Democrats were the primary beneficiaries.

                    3. “I think it’s easy enough to vote already”

                      This conversation:

                      X: Why are Republicans making it harder to vote?
                      Brett: They aren’t, they just want it uniform.
                      Y: Why not uniformly more easy?
                      Brett: Meh, we don’t want voting to be too easy.

                      The end is the beginning is the end. We knew at the start Brett doesn’t value democratic values, he has expressed disdain for them. So when he started with ‘we’re not crapping on democratic values’ we should have fast forwarded to this inevitable later point.

                    4. X: Why are Republicans making it harder to vote?
                      Brett: They aren’t, they just want it uniform.
                      Y: Why not uniformly more easy?
                      Brett: Meh, we don’t want voting to be too easy.

                      Better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt.

                    5. Why your post then, wanted to eliminate all doubt?

                    6. It’s a misnomer to assume that things like “early voting”, “mail-in voting”, and “not requiring ID” make voting easier rather than harder.

                      These things actually make things harder for several reasons. Mail-in voting, in particular, is egregious for two reasons: first, if I mess up my ballot, I have to figure out how to call someone, and then go through a bureaucratic process to get a new one — whereas if I were voting in person, I’d be able to go to the poll worker, explain my situation, and get a new ballot. Second, once I drop off my ballot in the drop box, or worse, the mailbox, I have to trust that everyone who handles the ballot will handle it with care, and that they won’t unseal it and violate my right to secret ballot.

                      Early voting makes it more difficult to find volunteers to watch over things, and creates chain-of-custody issues with the ballots. Absence of a Voter ID requirement means that someone can take someone else’s identity and vote for them — usually that just happens to dead or imaginary people, but I knew someone in New York State (Albany region) who showed up to vote, and was told that someone had already signed in for him, and the best they could do for him was give him a provisional ballot — there was no way to hunt down the bad vote and cancel it out (which, while a problem, is inevitable when we cast votes in secret).

                      There are very strong reasons that Europe requires IDs to vote, as do many third-world countries. There are furthermore very strong reasons we should only use paper ballots, that these ballots should be cast only one day, in person, if possible (with absentee voting kept to a bare minimum, maybe even 0), that the counting should be done on-site and publicly, and that all ballots (cast, thrown out, not cast) should be accounted for in the counting.

                      Voting is important, and it’s also a vector that many people want to corrupt so they can get into power. If we lose confidence in the vote, we lose confidence in the government that gets into power because of that vote. We need to do everything we could to make sure we can have confidence in that process.

                2. 1: It should be very straightforward for an adult American citizen who’s a resident of the State where (s)he is trying to vote, to vote once on election day.

                  2: It should be very difficult (better: impossible) for someone who is NOT an adult American citizen who’s a resident of the State where (s)he is trying to vote, at all.

                  3: Every single illegal vote allowed is the exact same thing as denying a legal voter the right to vote. Voting is a zero-sum game: you voting for X cancels out my vote for Y.

                  4: If I’m too stupid, clueless, uninterested, and / or lazy to follow the rules to register before an election, and to get a photo ID for my State, then I shouldn’t be voting.

                  5: As a private citizen, I can make sure I put in the effort to vote. So I can make sure that I don’t lose my vote that way.

                  6: As a private citizen, I can not stop someone else from voting illegally. Therefore I rely on the State to do so, and protect my vote from being stolen

                  There should be 1 day to vote: Election Day. That way everyone is voting with the same information, under the same rules. And that way it’s harder for people to vote multiple times

                  There should be a way to get an absentee ballot, if, and only if, you have good cause:
                  a: Physically can’t make it to the polling Station
                  b: Will be out of town on Election Day, but posses a State issued ID for this State
                  c: Will be working Election Day the entire time the polls are open

                  That’s it. Absentee ballots allow for vote selling (you can show someone how you voted, get paid, submit your vote), secret ballots do not. it’s why we went to secret ballots.

                  No “Souls to Polls”. To the best of our ability to block them, no “get out the vote” of any sort. If you, personally, don’t think it’s worth the effort for you to get out and vote then you are right, and you shouldn’t vote.

            2. ” Restricting the hours that polls can be open”

              You mean “regulating the time and place of elections”?

              “making it illegal to bring water to people standing in line”

              This is a flat out lie. The GA law prevents people for engaging in electioneering to people in line to vote, which is a pretty standard restriction in every voting area in America.

              You can give out water to people in line who were too stupid to plan ahead. What you can’t do is give out water bottles with political logos, or say “this water came from political group X”, or do any of the other bits of electioneering that the Democrats in GA were doing.

              The fact that you push lies, tells us that the truth is not in your favor

              1. The fact that you push lies, tells us that the truth is not in your favor

                His track record makes it pretty clear that he couldn’t care less about the truth.

                1. “”(a) No person shall solicit votes in any manner or by any means or method, nor shall any

                  person distribute or display any campaign material, nor shall any person give, offer to give,

                  or participate in the giving of any money or gifts, including, but not limited to, food and

                  *drink*, to an elector, ”

                  Whoopsadaisy.

                  1. What is it about the Left and your utter unwillingness to provide links?

                    Is it just that you’re so routinely dishonest, and so routinely misquote things, that you make a habit of never providing links, so people won’t know which is the 1% of the time when you aren’t lying?

                    https://leadstories.com/hoax-alert/2021/03/fact-check-georgias-new-voting-law-does-not-allow-people-to-hand-out-drinks-to-voters-waiting-in-line.html

                    This Code section shall not be construed to prohibit a poll officer from … making available self-service water from an unattended receptacle to an elector waiting in line to vote.

          2. Your position requires that blacks aren’t smart enough, mobile enough, connected enough, to be able to equip themselves with the identification needed to vote where voter ID is required, aren’t able to access transportation to get to polling places (rather than drop boxes), can’t access the internet, and so on.

            Not a bit of that applies. My position is that right wing vote suppression operators understand that many black people, males especially, live disorderly lives, accumulate legal troubles major and minor, and consequently wish to avoid contact with the police. Take a look at the so-called “security,” measures, and you discover that many of them target opportunities to accomplish voting without having to present yourself at a place where police officers will be present, and you will be required to provide official proof of identity—that is why vote suppressors want to shut down absentee voting and drop boxes.

            Not many blacks with child support problems, or even a long string of unpaid parking tickets, think voting is worth more to them than the risk of having a cop check them out on the computer.

            1. many black people, males especially, live disorderly lives, accumulate legal troubles major and minor

              Let’s all just step back for a moment and appreciate that comment and what it tells us about the author.

              1. It tells you I stupidly gave you credit for understanding two things: first, that poor people tend to lead disorderly lives, and, second, that blacks, on average, tend to be poor. Nobody is surprised by that.

                1. Do police officers make it a habit to hang around polling stations to check voters for outstanding warrants, child support, and outstanding traffic tickets?

                  If this is indeed the case, then this is a far greater problem than requiring voting ID at polling stations.

                  I would go so far as to suggest that having police at a polling station is a form of intimidation, unless they were specifically called out to that location to deal with a specific problem. I would even go so far as to suggest that if an officer wants to vote, that officer should do so out of uniform.

            2. Ah, so your claim here is that blacks are criminals, therefore want to avoid the cops, therefore won’t want to have a State issued photo ID that will tell the police where to find them.

              But we should really want these criminals to vote.

              So, you’re both racist, and a psycho. Because no, we do NOT want criminals who are on the run from the law voting

            3. An informed vote is a good vote

              An uniformed vote is a bad vote. It’s not merely worthless, becaues voting is a zero sum game. An uninformed vote is essentially stealing away an informed vote.

              So, what is it that Stephen is upset about? It’s that the GOP is implementing voting measure that will make it so that disorganized, clueless criminals who don’t really value their vote, and therefore have put no effort into becoming informed voters, will be less likely to vote.

              Those bastards! /sarc

              I don’t care what your skin color is. If the only reason why you’re voting is that someone shoved an absentee ballot into your hand, told you to sign it, filled it out for you / told you how to fill it out, then after you voted they way they wanted they sealed it up and sent it in, you are a bad vote, and I hope you are prevented from doing that.

              I don’t care what your skin color is. If the only reason why you’re voting is that someone dragged you off to the polls to vote, and stuck a list of votes into your hands before you went into the voting booth and said “vote this”, then you are a bad vote, and I don’t want you to vote.

              If you DO want those people voting, it’s because you KNOW your policies are garbage that can’t win an honest election.

              Which means YOU are garbage

              1. When someone is angry that the GOP wants to implement the very requirements that the United Nations insist Third World Countries must fulfill to ensure fair elections, one must wonder whether that person wants to install the same kinds of dictators that have been put into power by the very voting irregularities that those UN requirements are intended to prevent.

        2. Wow, that’s special, Stephen

          First you say it’s “systematic racism” to acknowledge the average cognitive differences between black and white in the NFL.

          Then you say it’s “systematic racism” to believe that blacks are competent to get photo IDs

          So, which is it?

      2. “In the eye of the law, there is in this country no superior, dominant, ruling class of citizens. There is no caste here. “Our constitution is colorblind, and neither knows nor tolerates classes among citizens. In respect of civil rights, all citizens are equal before the law. The humblest is the peer of the most powerful. . .The arbitrary separation of citizens on the basis of race, while they are on a public highway, is a badge of servitude wholly inconsistent with the civil freedom and the equality before the law established by the Constitution. It cannot be justified upon any legal grounds.”

        This is from a DISSENT!! Ipso facto—America had a caste system based on white supremacy!!

  6. And this guy is a law prof? OMG..the quality of who teaches in law schools today..I know most have zero understanding of economics or critical thinkiing but Plessy is very important and needs to be taught to show how Jim Crow as driven by Govt not individuals…which then gives a more correct vision of what the 1960’s laws did or didn’t do. One can by studying Plessy start to understand how the Federal Govt with the SC approval decided it just wasn’t the objective to stop Govt from discriminating or passing laws forcing private firms to discriminate but a new idea of making up for past injustices by Govt Fiat that drives most civil rights laws today not ensuring all people are not deprived of their natural rights…but hey its all about the narrative today and facts don’t matter right?

    1. The market is the remedy to discrimination. Plessy introduced men with guns. That is the sole validation of lawyer work. Otherwise all of it is failed garbage. I would love to open a bakery across the street. It would have a banner, Gay Weddings Are Fabulous. Get the business of these rich people. Rules and litigation use guns, and devalidate the idea of equal treatment.

      1. The market is the remedy to discrimination.

        Yes.
        I agree with Sen. Rand Paul’s criticism of the Civil Rights Act to the extent it affects private parties.

  7. You want to talk about traumatizing? Imagine being a young woman kidnapped off the streets and taken into the desert and raped…not knowing if you were going to survive the experience. Then there’s a question about the rapist’s confession and he has to be tried (and convicted) a second time.

    Best not to teach about Miranda v. Arizona.

    1. One of the funny things about court cases is that they arise because one person allegedly harmed another. Sometimes that harm is very great. And sometimes the Courts rule in favor of the bad guy, under the moral claim that “it’s better to let 10 guilty people go free than convict one innocent person”.

      If you aren’t going to acknowledge these fundamental facts, then perhaps a career in law isn’t right for you.

  8. And in the next stage of wokeness, people will be indignant to discover that white professors are covering up or minimizing the existence of white-supremacist court decisions.

  9. Reality is now beyond satire.

  10. I don’t see how students can be taught any kind of civil rights law at all without traumatizing them. Best to skip it entirely. Avoids making them unconfortable. Preserves your moral authority.

    1. Exactly.

      Bad things actually exist and many fine people believe in bad things.

      I’m still not certain how refraining from discussion of bad things makes bad things disappear; in fact, I’m observing that refraining from discussion of bad things makes bad things more prevalent.

    2. I imagine that BROWN V. TOPEKA BD. OF EDUCATION may need to be cancelled because the facts in the case my traumatize BIPOC students. The same with ROE V. WADE; it may traumatize women to know that there was a time when abortions were not legal.

  11. Is there a concept of pedagogical malpractice, wherein a professor withholds important content from a student’s education?

    1. Actually, people have tried to create such a tort. Way too lazy to look for it now, but there was a somewhat famous case within the last two years where students sued the school district for violating their right to education. They won somehow.

      1. If you enroll in a class under the expectation that if you study hard, you will learn material that will be important for your future career, and the professor fails to teach you that material — and that it’s standard practice for professors teaching that class to cover that material — I think it’s perfectly fine for that professor to be sued for the lack of education.

        I personally wouldn’t sue under a “right to education” — no such right exists, beyond the right to educate yourself using material protected by the 1st Amendment — but I would insist that the professor (or in some cases, even entire school districts) are engaging in fraud, when they promise to teach — heck, even insist that they did teach, by giving you a diploma — but did and do not.

  12. Let’s not forget that no one is *actually* traumatized or hurt by reading something written a century and a half ago. It’s a pose.

    1. Anyone who has raised children has seen them act this way when they’re little: something minor happens to them — say, they fall down, or get hit with a soccer ball, or whatever — and they shrug it off if they think they’re alone, but if they know a parent is watching with concern, they’ll run crying to the parent for comfort.

      It’s the same thing: it’s performative. People who claim to be traumatized just want attention.

      1. I don’t know, I’ve raised kids and while I have certainly seen what you’re talking about I have also known some honest to goodness traumatized kids, and it’s not always about things we would all immediately recognize as horrible on its face.

        1. They were traumatized for an hour until you made a big deal. You nade their trauma a long term industry. There are millions of traumas a year
          Most people with mental trouble from them have other diagnoses. For example that trans kid on TV, Chas, was on Zoloft. He could not control his crying. How about getting his mood normal before going under the knife? What if mood gets normal, and he decides he made a big mistake?

        2. When I was a kid, we used to say, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”

          It wasn’t literally true in an emotional sense, it was more in the nature of advise.

          You see, sticks and stones inflict objective, mechanical harm. They don’t require your cooperation to lacerate you, your attitude has nothing to do with it.

          Words are very different in that regard. They actually do require some cooperation on your part to inflict harm. One is not offended, one “takes offense”. You can see this in the same person enjoying words in music, and then being horribly offended by somebody saying them conversationally.

          We chose whether to be offended, hurt by words. That’s the blunt truth of the matter.

          We used to encourage people to be tough, shrug it off, move on. Today, we give them every incentive to walk around a bundle of bare nerves, with a hair trigger on their offense.

          It’s not good for society, but it empowers certain social movements, so it’s encouraged and excused.

          1. “We used to encourage people to be tough, shrug it off, move on. Today, we give them every incentive to walk around a bundle of bare nerves, with a hair trigger on their offense.”

            No, today we encourage people to face issues – not ‘shrug it off’ or ‘move on.’

            “See something – say something” is good advice.

            1. ““See something – say something” is good advice.”

              Thought every police state ever.

              1. Yeah, I forgot your side’s policy.

                See something – just shoot it and ask questions later.

                1. And just how is it better to call in men with guns to do the shooting for you?

                  In many cases, “See something — say something” is bad advice. In many cases, it’s better to just shrug, and leave well enough alone.

                  Of course, it’s also something that needs to be done on a case-by-case basis. There’s nothing wrong — heck, in this day and age, it’s a good idea — to report a backpack left alone in an airport.

            2. No, today we encourage people to face issues – not ‘shrug it off’ or ‘move on.’

              I can’t even imagine being stupid to interpret the avoidance of “offensive” words as a brave exercise in “facing issues”.

              1. “I can’t even imagine being stupid to interpret ”

                Lol

          2. Matter of fact, isn’t “see something – say something” the VERY POINT of Prof. Blackman’s article?!?

            He sees something he disagrees with and is addressing it.

            Or would you say he’s simply, “walk(ing) around a bundle of bare nerves, with a hair trigger on their offense?”

          3. You’re one of the most easily offended, outraged persons I encounter….

            “We used to encourage people to be tough, shrug it off, move on. ”

            And many people suffered mightily from that.

            1. And many people suffered mightily from that.

              “Many” compared to what? These days we have constant wailing tournaments to see who’s suffering most mightily.

              1. “Before all the talk about the problem of domestic violence hardly any women were complaining about it!’

                1. “Before all the talk about the problem of domestic violence hardly any women were complaining about it!’

                  So you’re saying that adults should be able to talk about…and listen to others talk about…difficult issues without being offended/traumatized?

                  1. Analogies, how do they work?

                    1. This article is about skipping topics because they are traumatic.

                      If we stop talking about domestic violence because it’s traumatic to domestic violence victims, then this will mean there will be more domestic violence victims who are convinced they are alone, and what they are facing is normal.

                      On the other hand, there are a lot of people who are offended by “micro-aggressions”, that ought to be shrugged off, in no small part because so-called “micro-aggressions” may very well be a habit developed from abuse, rather than a sign of racism — but these are nonetheless a major source of “wailing tournaments to see who’s suffering most mightily”.

                2. “Before all the talk about the problem of domestic violence hardly any women were complaining about it!’

                  I’m sure there’s a perfectly logical path in your brain from “words that offend me” to “domestic violence” — probably more of that “lived logic” claptrap.

                  1. More adventures in analogies, how do they work?

                    1. Vague rhetorical-sounding questions that I’m sure seem very clever to you, how do they work?

              2. Annnnnnnd now we’re back to Brett’s position.

                Just shut up and suck it up.

                1. Brett’s position is, somebody actually doing something to you, complain.

                  Somebody saying something you dislike? Yeah, suck it up, buttercup.

                  1. Again, your side is one of the most easily outraged merely by people ‘saying’ something (heck, they don’t even have to say anything, quietly kneeling will trigger them).

        3. I don’t know, I’ve raised kids

          Hopefully they’ll find it within themselves to rise above that disadvantage.

          1. Well, I think I did well given I had no help from the mother, your mom.

    2. I don’t know, a lot of white people seem very upset about the suspicion they have that teachers are saying historical white people were bad….

      1. Historical bad white people were obeying the bad law profession.

        1. This is like saying ‘historical bad anyone used weapons to do bad things therefore weapons are bad and the problem.’ Stick to crackers cockatoo.

          1. You mean like gun control?

      2. “I don’t know, a lot of white people seem very upset about the suspicion they have that teachers are saying historical white people were bad….”

        Well, they should be fair about it. Maybe we should teach that historical Asians were worse, for example.

        1. In a US history class (which is what is being talked about usually)?

          1. So in a US history class we teach that historical white people were bad, but in a world history class we teach that historical Asians were bad?

            1. Sure (I think in any history class you don’t ignore the ‘bad’ things particularly when they are kind of critical).

      3. A lot of white people are very upset about being called bad because they are white. Many — perhaps even most of these white people — have no problem discussing particular examples of where whites were bad, and even racist, and discussing why that particular act was bad, and what could be done to prevent it in the future.

        (I add “and even racist” because there’s a lot of things that whites have done, that were bad, but nonetheless had no racial component.)

  13. Plenty of stuff offends religious students. Are we going to now not teach any of that content? I mean this whole “it offends me” game can be played in just about any direction. Maybe we don’t teach about gay marriage and constitutional law because it violates Christian doctrine. I mean we can’t expect Christian students to have to read a decision that sullies their beliefs and the tradition of marriage as it was known in Western Society up until c. 2014.

    1. There might be a difference between ‘I need to tell you about these things people like you don’t approve of that go on’ and ‘I need to tell you about these things that have and continue to target people like you, and I need to tell you the professed logic behind those things.’

      In fact, I’d submit that the struggle many white men on this board have in understanding where this prof is coming from is precisely because there’s not much in that second category impacting them…

      1. Oh, fuck right off, you condescending racist asshole.

        -jcr

        1. So triggered this one.

          1. So triggered this one.

            Behold the present-day wokester rendition of “gettin’ pretty mad, there, aren’t ya, boy?”

            1. Snowflake.

      2. Here in the real world explain context behind something is usually considered to be an integral part of education and understanding, not some “racist” add-on….

      3. Even if you understand where he is coming from, he’s wrong, period. Pretending that bad things in the past didn’t happen doesn’t make them less likely to happen in the present or future. In fact, the opposite is true.
        By actively refusing to teach his students reality, he is making it harder for them to properly perform their jobs later in life. This makes him a bad teacher, egalitarian motivations notwithstanding. Good intentions don’t justify bad actions.
        Dread Scott and Plessy should be emphasized, precisely to explain the flaws in their reasoning and how they hurt an entire group of people for centuries.

        1. There are places to teach civics lessons like this.

          Con Law class is not for that, though.

          1. Con Law class is not for that, though.

            Yes, Con Law is certainly not the place to be teaching about the flaws in the reasoning behind landmark SCOTUS decisions!

  14. what did we fight a Cold War for? This is the kind of stuff one would expect to have occurred behind the Iron Curtain. We have raised a generation of fragile young adults who are ill-prepared to cope with the realities of life.

    1. Don’t forget that a lot of whites-behaving-badly history was ignored in schools.

      Even in high school, I noticed how much shameful history was entirely skipped. I realize history books only have so much time and a lot of history has to be left out or shortened, but no matter whose ox-goring is left out, someone will complain.

      1. Most Americans find it extremely hard to notice the stuff that was skipped. I am one of them. The noticing started when they told me in 4th grade that John Brown was a criminal fanatic, which seemed kind of plausible, coming from a teacher, but it also seemed a bit . . . off, in a pointed sort of way. Turned out not to be the whole story. It was just a year or too ago that I discovered Frederick Douglass was in on the Harpers Ferry raid right along with Brown. Douglass had to flee to Canada afterward. How many people get taught that even today?

        1. Douglass knew about it in advance; that doesn’t mean he was “in on” it. But I’m not sure why that specific fact is supposed to be telling, anyway; I don’t know why that would come up in a survey course. (Which is effectively what primary/secondary school social studies is.) I doubt many people are taught much of anything about Douglass.

          1. Nieporent, John Brown visited Douglass at his home in Rochester, NY. They planned the raid there together. Then, Douglass was actually at Harpers Ferry at the time of the raid, but on the Maryland side. His presence there, or involvement in the action, if any, remain a mystery.

            After the raid a friendly telegraph operator (in Philadelphia, if I remember correctly) got word to Douglass that his involvement was known, and that he was to be arrested. He raced to Rochester to arrive before law enforcement officials got there, and destroyed incriminating documents left over from the planning session. Then Douglass fled over the border to Canada.

            I was astounded that story had escaped me until a few years ago. Maybe you are too.

        2. Douglas was scared rightly so of being accused of sedition which is kind of correct…he fled to Canada until the war started and then this little issue fell between the cracks. To be fair it was a hellva situation for him to be in and most people in his place would probably have done the same thing..

      2. This is a law school, and a Constitutional law class. Dred Scott and Plessy v. Ferguson are two of the most important SCOTUS cases in the history of racial law in the United States. Skipping them is like skipping the Civil War in U.S. history. It’s moronic.

        1. Indeed. Importantly Dred Scott was a wide-ranging court decision that may have helped to prompt the US Civil war. A court with more restraint and respect for Congress may have helped avert the Civil war.

        2. Bored, you went to law school, you should know better. It’s not a history of policy school.
          How much did they go into the history of overturned precedents in your school?

          Knowing the important cases is the arena of history. Briefing bad law from a prior era will not make you a better advocate.

          Closest I can think of is Katzenbach and Lochner, both of which are part current legal debate. Neither Plessy nor Scott is.

          1. <em<Bored, you went to law school, you should know better. It’s not a history of policy school. How much did they go into the history of overturned precedents in your school?

            You are beclowning yourself. The answer to your question is, quite a lot. And this was an Ivy League law school, considered one of the top five in the country.

            You cannot understand where the law is unless you understand its history, and the reasoning behind the prior precedents, even the overturned ones. True, you can probably be a hack lawyer even without that, but you will have a shallow understanding of the law. Particularly Constitutional law, which is closely interwoven with history more than, say, ERISA or patent law.*

            Can you point to me any syllabus from a U.S. law school course in Constitutional law that does not include Dred Scott and Plessy (that is not from the last 5 years)? I very much doubt it. Certainly not from top tier or even mid-level schools.

            _______________
            *Although the invention of the cotton gin, which was patented, probably had a profound effect on U.S. history. Had that not happened, it is quite possible that slavery would have simply slowly withered out.

            1. It sounds more like you’re describing an education to become a law professor – an LLM or a JDS – than a simple JD.

              A JD is a professional degree for a profession. You don’t need the brief of Dredd Scott to know how to brief an appellate decision based on the CRA or EPC.

              I’d be interested in how many law schools taught such things.

              I don’t have my Con Law syllabus, but my law school included neither case in 2004-5.

          2. Dred Scott, like the Slaughterhouse cases, was not so much overturned, as mooted. Dred Scott by changes to the Constitution, the Slaughterhouse cases by the invention of “substantive due process”.

            We’d actually be in a much better position today if both cases had been overturned.

            1. And do you think any of that belongs in a legal brief?

              1. My con law prof called Dred Scott an anti-cannon. Something you always want to site (whenever possibly relevant) and show how your opponent’s position aligns with it.
                Westlaw says it’s been cited 33 times in the last 3 years. Not bad, though for comparison Marbury v. Madison has been cited slightly over 900 times in the last three years.

                1. I’m aware of the anti-cannon. It’s an academic concept, not one big with most areas of practice.

                  As I said, in a jurisprudence class, maybe if you have an advanced Constitutional practice seminar.

                  The anti-cannon does not belong in a Con Law survey course, any more than the pre-APA administrative state belongs in an admin class.

  15. White person doing a grave disservice to his Black students. Speak the truth or get out.

    1. Somehow hiding people of color from the truth isn’t white people acting like a racist pandering gatekeepers judging people because of the color of their skin unable to be confronted with certain types of information. I feel like 20-30 years ago if a white professor said this he would be lambasted for being an outright racist.

      1. Yeah, give it too much attention and it’s traumatizing, gloss over it and it’s racist whitewashing of history.

        Professor, you’re going to risk offense either way, so why not take the route of more information, not less? Unless you really don’t think it’s relevant to the course.

  16. Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

    So this professor is enslaving his black students.

  17. It seems odd that it is the woke who are erasing history. Within a decade all evidence of slavery, the confederacy, and racism will have been expunged. My status as White will be restored because nothing negative about white history will ever again be spoken.

  18. I’m sorry, but I can’t be your lawyer. I have been traumatized hearing about your problem. And, oh yes, you need to apologize to me for having upset me.

    1. Please pay the cashier on your way out – – – – – –

  19. So, not the bigotry of low expectations, more the bigotry of hurt feelings? Let’s just call this miseducation. These are /adult/ students. Not children.

  20. I’m glad Prof. Blackman disagrees with Prof. Sterling

  21. The real question is: With Court packing a part of the ruling party’s agenda, is teaching the Constitution even acceptable nowadays?

  22. “…I understand that some criminal law professors no longer teach the law of rape. And now, some constitutional law professors will no longer teach about slavery and segregation….”

    When I took Crim Law (so, either 1988 or 89) at UCLA, we did not study rape at all. It was my impression that other professors there also did not teach it, although that’s anecdotal. I have no firm opinion re if that’s a smart or dumb teaching decision. (The subject never shows up on the Cal. Bar Exam, so failure to teach it certainly does not affect the likelihood of passing the Bar.) But if Josh is suggesting that the decision to not teach rape-related law is anything new, he’s wildly off-base. (An old girlfriend did law at UVA in the early 90s, and she also was not taught the subject of rape in her Crim Law class.)

    1. antamonica811, do you suppose that was a pointed omission, or just an innocent failure to notice rape as a category of crime?

      1. Stephen,
        Oh, I’m 100% confident that it was intentional. I doubt there’s a Crim Law professor at any Top 50 school who said, “Wait, what?!? Rape and Embezzlement are crimes???” I suspect that professors for this class think of subjects that can be on the Bar, are also interesting to themselves and to students, and maybe bonus points if there’s some new or evolving wrinkle. I law school semester is, what, about 16 weeks of teaching, yes? We had 6 or 7 full weeks of nothing but homicides. And 3 weeks of thefts (burglary, robbery, et al). Plus, our first week, where we spent all 3 days talking about when it’s okay to eat another human being.

        Now, if I had been allowed to design and teach Crim Law, I doubt I’d have spent 2/3 of the time on only two main areas of the subject. But, IMO, Crim Law (along with, perhaps, Evidence) was the one most taught in preparation for the Bar Exam. I mean, statistically-speaking, almost none of the students will do anything remotely connected with criminal law in their professional career. I wonder if that was/is a factor for people who teach this subject? (Back in the late 80s, there was not much of a thing called “Computer crimes.” I suspect that it’s a part of many teachers’ syllabus now. And I’m rather confident that the teachers who have chosen to NOT teach it are making that decision not to curry favor with the tech industry nor the hackers community…it’s just that they think it more worthwhile to spend scarce classroom hours on other things.

        1. As I recall this was the era of Dworkin and McKinnon saying that women are “raped” by offensive words. Look up the J. Donald Silva case for an example. Or the play “Oleanna”. Consequently law professors didn’t touch sexual violence law with a ten-foot pole. Nat Hentoff did a series of columns on this in the Village Voice.

    2. Yes, but when you took those courses in 1988 or 89, was the reason you didn’t study rape because it would have “traumatized” your fellow students?

      The error we’re dissecting here isn’t about which courses aren’t being taught, it’s about why.

      1. Dave, you’re asking me (and others) to read the minds of professors. Since we can’t do that, we’re of course always speculating about motivation. But, if at UCLA, rape has not been taught by most or all professors for literally 30 years, it seems really unfair to end up with the conclusion, “Well, 30 years ago, your decision might have been based on entirely innocuous factors. And 25 years ago, [etc]. But, recently, even though your behavior is 100% consistent over time, it’s fair to suddenly ascribe nefarious motives and motivations to you.”

        My own opinion is that doing the above is really unfair. The default should always be: ‘If it was innocuous in the past, it’s still innocuous. I need to see recent evidence before I’ll ascribe bad intent to any ongoing, otherwise-benign, behavior.”

  23. One cannot help but notice that these kinds of acts are generally performed (I used that term deliberately) by white professors and intellectuals.

    Has anyone every actually asked black law students whether they think it is a good idea to study cases like Dred Scott or Plessy? How offended they are?

  24. Dunno about the rest of you, but I didn’t have Dred Scott assigned at all in law school, and we had maybe a 2 paragraph extract on Plessy as background for Brown.

    It was pretty rare to study cases from the pre-modern era that aren’t foundational. And these two aren’t.

    These are good civics lessons, not part of a legal education though.

    1. Perhaps because you weren’t educated in Dred Scott is why you are so adamant for large changes from the court system. You failed to learn the errors inherent in the logic in Dred Scott

      1. Law school is a professional school; this has nothing to do with the profession.

        And *of course* I read Dred Scott in law school, I just had to go on Westlaw and brief it myself.

        And I’m pretty sure you haven’t read it either, because your attempt to use it as a partisan cudgel fails hard. It has little to say about our modern judicial system, since it takes place with a very different separation of powers than what we have today.

        1. There are always lessons to be drawn about the misuse or abuse of power, and the results thereof.

          1. Lessons unique to Dred Scott – the decision?

            Maybe. I’d be interested if you have any in mind.

            1. “Maybe. I’d be interested if you have any in mind.”

              The court exceeded the scope of the issues before it in an attempt to resolve a contentious political issue (slavery in the territories) and started a war.

              1. I was thinking the take would be that it was correctly decided under most theories of jurisprudence, even if monstrously immoral. That one must amend the constitution rather than look to the courts to address morality.

                But yours is good too.

                A fine case for a jurisprudence class.

    2. Yeah, when I took European History in college we read a few excerpts from Mein Kampf re: the ‘Jewish Problem’ but we didn’t bear down into all of the Nazi’s arguments on that point…

      1. You do understand we are talking about a law school, in which study of case law is the central means of teaching and learning, right?

        1. Only good case law is instructive. Stupidly reasoned, superseded law is not, though it might warrant a word or two of historical interest.

          I think the reason white conservatives like Josh make a point of going into gory detail about the Dred Scott opinion is so they can put themselves up as not part of the same racist, exclusionary tradition. No, folks, we don’t agree with Taney. Not one bit. That’s not us at all!

          1. Only good case law is instructive. Stupidly reasoned, superseded law is not, though it might warrant a word or two of historical interest.

            I think the reason white conservatives like Josh make a point of going into gory detail about the Dred Scott opinion is so they can put themselves up as not part of the same racist, exclusionary tradition. No, folks, we don’t agree with Taney. Not one bit. That’s not us at all!

        2. And in history study of primary documents is important. But in a survey class you can’t read/cover everything and it’s not necessary either.

  25. This is a mistake.

    You can’t really learn, unless you include the mistakes people made, how they were made, the logic and language used to defend the mistakes, and the errors inherent within the logic.

    Dred Scott was poor, in many respects. It also demonstrated the effects of judicial overreach, overriding Congress and long standing law, and the grave damage that Judicial overreach could cause. This was especially so in a closely divided nation, and may have helped to prompt the civil war. Plessy was in error for different reasons. Examining the logic in these decisions is critical in not repeating the errors.

    There have been many traumatic and disasterous events and decisions throughout history, among every creed, race, and so on. To give just one example, the Jews were nearly wiped out in the Holocaust. But to eliminate teaching the holocaust entirely, because it is traumatic, is something that most Jews would strongly be against. To eliminate it entirely from teaching is to invite repeating it.

    1. The analogy wouldn’t be teaching about the Holocaust, it would be more teaching pages and pages of Hitler et al., arguments in favor of it (and that still doesn’t quite capture the dynamic here).

      1. You’re in error. The goal isn’t to blindly accept the argument being made. That serves no one. The goal is to is to critically examine the argument, dissect it, recognize the errors, and recognize the parallels to today’s society.

        Examine Hitler’s argument and language. See WHY it is poor, and what it leads to. And recognize other organizations making similar arguments today.

        Examine the logic in Plessy. Examine and critically take apart the concept that governments can treat races differently. And realize that Harlan’s dissent…that the Constitution must be colorblind…is really the correct response. Both in the 1800’s and today.

        1. You mean they should take an ideological opinion and teach it to the students as true? I thought many folks around here opposed that sort of thing…

          There’s also a phenomena where when you teach something in order to discredit often you actually end up getting more people sympathetic to it…This isn’t cut and dried.

          1. So, we shouldn’t teach about something because people might become sympathetic to it? Really? You want to go there?

      2. As I said above, your Mein Kampf analogy is way off. Mein Kampf was a work of political propaganda. You don’t need to study it in depth to understand its point. (Certainly not in college. In an advanced graduate school course, perhaps.)

        Dred Scott and Plessy v. Ferguson were legal opinions, written by the Supreme Court in a democracy. In a law school you study legal opinions, and their reasoning, to understand both where the law has been and where it is going.

    2. Law school is not history school.

      1. Understanding the law requires understanding the history of the law. It requires a critical understanding of the decisions made in regards to the Constitution, not just where it was a success, but also where it was a failure. It requires understanding WHY there was a failure.

        If one doesn’t do so, if one doesn’t understand the mistakes that were made, and how they were made, thee same mistakes may be made again.

        1. No, it does not. Law is a profession; lawyers are not policymakers.

          1. You’re an idiot.

            -jcr

              1. *your.

                *snort*

                1. Nothing is worse than being a grammar Nazi…who is wrong in their corrections.

          2. That is not the way the common law system works. Nor Constitutional law, whic is about 3/4 common law development, notwithstanding Scalia.

            Again, you can be a hack lawyer and do car accident cases and house closings without studying any of these things. If you plan on arguing to the Supreme Court, or even an appellate court, about an open legal issue, you better have that training.

            1. I’ve never done Constitutional practice, but from what I’ve heard from my law profs you’re wrong.

              It’s a trade like any other, and scholarship on the specific historical paths taken to get to the legal environment we are now in are not really needed to write a proper brief.

              You seem to be mixing up briefs with journal articles, and thus a JD with an LLM.

              Maybe that’s how the roll in the Ivys, but certainly not in my law school.

              1. Maybe some of the Conspirators can chime in, being both profs and practicing Constitutional advocates.

          3. “lawyers are not policymakers.”

            You do realize, a majority of Congresspeople are lawyers. As are a vast majority of judges. And most of the aides who actually write the laws.

            There’s a reason DC has 765 lawyers per capita…more than 7 times the number of lawyers compared to the next highest state.

      2. Sure, but I’m not sure you need to know all of Taney’s premises for his reasoning to understand his opinion was overruled and heavily criticized just as you don’t need to read Hitler’s arguments for the Holocaust to realize it happened and was an awful thing.

        1. The reason to read Mein Kampf is so that you can recognize when today’s lefturds are making the same racist arguments, and tear them a new asshole when they do.

          -jcr

          1. Lol, ‘very fine people’ indeed.

            Of course, if you understood my point I’m not arguing against reading Mein Kampf, just saying you don’t need to read much or any to learn about how bad the Holocaust was in a broad class.

            1. Is this what you’re laughing about?

              “Trump: “Okay, what about the alt-left that came charging at — excuse me, what about the alt-left that came charging at the, as you say, the alt-right? Do they have any semblance of guilt?

              “Let me ask you this: What about the fact that they came charging with clubs in their hands, swinging clubs? Do they have any problem? I think they do. As far as I’m concerned, that was a horrible, horrible day. Wait a minute. I’m not finished. I’m not finished, fake news. That was a horrible day —

              ” I will tell you something. I watched those very closely — much more closely than you people watched it. And you have — you had a group on one side that was bad, and you had a group on the other side that was also very violent. And nobody wants to say that, but I’ll say it right now. You had a group — you had a group on the other side that came charging in, without a permit, and they were very, very violent.”

              Reporter: “Mr. President, are you putting what you’re calling the alt-left and white supremacists on the same moral plane?”

              Trump: “I’m not putting anybody on a moral plane. What I’m saying is this: You had a group on one side and you had a group on the other, and they came at each other with clubs — and it was vicious and it was horrible. And it was a horrible thing to watch.

              “But there is another side. There was a group on this side. You can call them the left — you just called them the left — that came violently attacking the other group. So you can say what you want, but that’s the way it is.

              Reporter: (Inaudible) “… both sides, sir. You said there was hatred, there was violence on both sides. Are the –”

              Trump: “Yes, I think there’s blame on both sides. If you look at both sides — I think there’s blame on both sides. And I have no doubt about it, and you don’t have any doubt about it either. And if you reported it accurately, you would say.”

              Reporter: “The neo-Nazis started this. They showed up in Charlottesville to protest –”

              Trump: “Excuse me, excuse me. They didn’t put themselves — and you had some very bad people in that group, but you also had people that were very fine people, on both sides. You had people in that group. Excuse me, excuse me. I saw the same pictures as you did. You had people in that group that were there to protest the taking down of, to them, a very, very important statue and the renaming of a park from Robert E. Lee to another name.”

              Reporter: “George Washington and Robert E. Lee are not the same.”

              Trump: “George Washington was a slave owner. Was George Washington a slave owner? So will George Washington now lose his status? Are we going to take down — excuse me, are we going to take down statues to George Washington? How about Thomas Jefferson? What do you think of Thomas Jefferson? You like him?”

              Reporter: “I do love Thomas Jefferson.”

              Trump: “Okay, good. Are we going to take down the statue? Because he was a major slave owner. Now, are we going to take down his statue?

              “So you know what, it’s fine. You’re changing history. You’re changing culture. And you had people — and I’m not talking about the neo-Nazis and the white nationalists — because they should be condemned totally. But you had many people in that group other than neo-Nazis and white nationalists. Okay? And the press has treated them absolutely unfairly.

              “Now, in the other group also, you had some fine people. But you also had troublemakers, and you see them come with the black outfits and with the helmets, and with the baseball bats. You had a lot of bad people in the other group.”

              Reporter: “Sir, I just didn’t understand what you were saying. You were saying the press has treated white nationalists unfairly? I just don’t understand what you were saying.”

              Trump: “No, no. There were people in that rally — and I looked the night before — if you look, there were people protesting very quietly the taking down of the statue of Robert E. Lee. I’m sure in that group there were some bad ones. The following day it looked like they had some rough, bad people — neo-Nazis, white nationalists, whatever you want to call them.

              “But you had a lot of people in that group that were there to innocently protest, and very legally protest — because, I don’t know if you know, they had a permit. The other group didn’t have a permit. So I only tell you this: There are two sides to a story. I thought what took place was a horrible moment for our country — a horrible moment. But there are two sides to the country.”

              As an aside: “Reporter: “The neo-Nazis started this. They showed up in Charlottesville to protest –”

              Just showing up to protest is “started this”? Oh, yeah, that encapsulates the left’s view of protest: Only they have the right to do it.

              1. “The neo-Nazis started this. They showed up in Charlottesville to protest –”

                Brett, I know you like to pole vault to conclusions, but do you not get what the — signifies here?

                1. That the reporter thinks obtaining a parade permit and showing up to protest is starting something, rather than constitutionally protected assembly?

                  You know what happened there, right? The one side applied for a parade permit, and was refused. They took it to court, and prevailed, and the city was forced to give them their parade permit.

                  So the Antifa were invited in to break protester heads, and then the police forced the two groups together, (Rather thank keeping them separate.) to produce a violent fight which would provide the pretext for revoking the parade permit.

                  Would have been a fairly boring protest otherwise, but a fairly boring protest the local government hadn’t wanted to permit. So they arranged for an excuse to end it.

                  Anyway, the bottom line is, Trump was right: There were peaceful people on both sides, and thugs on both sides, (But only one side was present legally) and it’s not the least bit honest to pretend otherwise.

                  1. Holy smokes.

                    The — means he was *interrupted*.

                    So, like maybe it was ‘they showed up and attacked students waving tiki torches and hollering anti-Semitic chants’

        2. “Sure, but I’m not sure you need to know all of Taney’s premises for his reasoning to understand his opinion was overruled…”

          Overruled? That’s an interesting way of putting it.

          1. Overruled? That’s an interesting way of putting it.

            It’s almost like s/he is trying to sound ignorant.

            1. I can’t even imagine being stupid to interpret my comment that way.

  26. What’s next? Medical schools editing-out the blood and gore in medical textbooks?

    1. Blood makes me queasy. Maybe I’ll reconsider my decision not to be a doctor if they do that!

  27. If they really want to stop traumatizing people, they should stop taking and showing those police videos. And people should stop complaining about the police. It only upsets people.

  28. You do not need either of those cases to be a good lawyer.

    If you want to argue that law school should also teach civics, good luck with that.

    The place to teach Scott and Plessy is high school and undergrad.

    1. The point isn’t about whether one needs to study these cases but rather why the professor decided to not cover them.

      Is there any legal issue so inherently traumatizing that it literally ought never to be taught at all? That’s the question.

      1. Not sure this prof would say it shouldn’t be taught at all, just not in his class. Maybe it’s a intro Con Law, but in a course especially about race and the law it could be discussed (unless that’s banned by a conservative white legislature as too traumatizing that is).

      2. I allow, it reads as a very silly rationale to me, but it lacks a lot of punch when the upshot is nothing much.

        1. That might be why argument ad absurdem is all over this thread – because the scenario at bar is silly man does inconsequential thing.

          1. Silly? Yes. Inconsequential?

            Not so sure about that, if it results in his students not knowing what Taney’s argument was.

  29. But I thought we were now supposed to be teaching all of the history of any subject, the good and the bad, so show how Systemic Racism was used in every discipline to hold down selected minorities.

    1. Man, that strawman got owned pretty hard.

  30. Fucking pansy.

    Any student at that school should be looking to transfer somewhere that they can get competent instruction from professors who want to do their job.

    -jcr

  31. Josh neatly avoids the larger point Suk is making in her essay: that Taney was correctly applying the meaning of “citizen” as the Founders understood it — and it did not include black people. As I have said before, the Dred Scott decision was the Mount Everest of “originalism”.

    1. To cover all of Taney’s opinion he would have had to teach that it was common and systemic for white folks in the Founding to think of blacks as inferior, that, and the fact that it might make white students uncomfortable, then there would therefore be dreaded CRITICAL RACE THEORY being taught which is outlawed in many states by triggered white legislators, so he was probably just trying to be a good citizen…

      1. It should be kept in mind, though, that the States that ban CRITICAL RACE THEORY don’t ban it by name.

        They ban teaching that a person is inherently guilty based solely on the color of their skin.

        In other words, these States ban racism, and a side effect is that critical race theory gets banned.

    2. I am sorry but Abraham Lincoln would disagree and, as was his habit, had done the research to back up his legal conclusions.https://teachingamericanhistory.org/library/document/speech-on-the-dred-scott-decision/

      1. Thanks for this transcript from the Lincoln – Douglas debates.

        Lincoln points out that at the time of the framing of the Constitution some Northern states allowed blacks to vote. Taney must have known that. But at issue in Dred Scott was federal law, and if you leave aside the grandiloquent part of the opinion which is really dicta, Taney was correct that as a federal matter the Constitution did not recognize black people as citizens.

        Lincoln’s reasoning might have been, from a strictly legal standpoint, faulty, but he was effective in using the rhetoric of the Declaration of Independence (not a legally binding document) to justify abolition. Garry Wills has written on this twice, in Lincoln at Gettysburg and in his chapter on Lincoln in Certain Trumpets: the Call of Leaders.

        1. Lincoln’s point is that the free blacks that voted to ratify the Constitution were a part of “We the People” and that Taney’s attempt to write them out of those words was faulty from a legal, not just political, perspective. For Lincoln there is a direct lineage from the Declaration (not a legally binding document) to those words in the U.S. Constitution. I disagree profoundly with the premises of originalism but the Dred Scott case was not an originalist decision.

    3. Then again, the Dissent went to great lengths to show how Taney was practicing a pseudo-originalism — claiming to be originalist, when historically it was clear he was not.

  32. Like it or not, law school is a trade school. Neither Dred Scott nor Plessy is “the law” anymore, so it is purely discretionary whether to give them more than a lick and a promise — putting them into the notes rather than featuring them as a main case. I do not think law students would be harmed by reading the full, or lightly edited, opinions, and I would be inclined to give them fuller treatment precisely because they illustrate important things that the snowflakes in many state legislatures don’t want illustrated.
    But that’s just me. If other trade-school instructors want to emphasize the current rules, rather than waxing philosophical about arbitrarily selected old, dead cases, that’s fine.

    1. You and I walk together on this. And you arguably said it better than I.

    2. Like it or not, law school is a trade school. Neither Dred Scott nor Plessy is “the law” anymore, so it is purely discretionary whether to give them more than a lick and a promise

      The issue at hand was the prof’s rationale, not yours.

      1. So if he didn’t explain why he did what he did, there would be no basis for complaint?

        1. I don’t see what’s so controversial about being concerned about the motivation.

          If the Professor had said we won’t be talking about Dred Scott because we shouldn’t be calling attention to things that whites have done to suppress blacks, and thus shames every person born with white skin to this day, do you really think there will be no controversy about the reason why the Professor decided not to talk about the case?

          On the other hand, as others have declared here in other comments, the case can be made that these decisions are merely irrelevant, and can safely be ignored for that reason alone. Yes, that’s also a controversial take, but it’s not one that insults people based on the color of their skin, either, so it would likely be less controversial than why this Professor is choosing to minimize these topics.

        2. I really don’t see what’s so controversial about being concerned about the motivation.

          If the Professor had said we won’t be talking about Dred Scott because we shouldn’t be calling attention to things that whites have done to suppress blacks, and thus shames every person born with white skin to this day, do you really think there will be no controversy about the reason why the Professor decided not to talk about the case?

          On the other hand, as others have declared here in other comments, the case can be made that these decisions are merely irrelevant, and can safely be ignored for that reason alone. Yes, that’s also a controversial take, but it’s not one that insults people based on the color of their skin, either, so it would likely be less controversial than why this Professor is choosing to minimize these topics.

  33. It appears we have found a law professor at a legitimate school whose deficient classroom conduct approximates that which is common, if not standard, on conservative-controlled (dogma-enforcing, censorship-shackled, science-suppressing, history warping, superstition-flattering, nonsense-teaching) campuses in America.

    This will not influence the trajectory of the American culture war, in my judgment.

    Carry on, clingers . . .

    1. And you’re still sore that Dred Scott is no longer the Law of the Land, particularly after your side lost the Civil War that this decision sparked.

  34. I don’t understand… If the profs don’t teach these cases how will they be able to find an excuse to say “nigger” in class???

    1. Then you’ll be glad to know that the court decisions in question didn’t use the word you just used. (Though you were merely pointing out the badness of the word, not taking joy in using it, the way your adversaries do.)

  35. Will our K-12 schools follow suit and stop teaching that slavery once existed in the US?

    After all, students may find the notion of being enslaved quite upsetting — esp. when they realize that one of their long dead ancestors may have actually been enslaved.

    I suppose in that environment, the Civil War could still be taught in history class but its main contributing factor will be described as “a disagreement among the states” and left at that.

    Then our K-12 schools will stop teaching about the civil rights movement of the 50s and 60s because it’s really impossible to explain that without exposing students to alarming and upsetting reality of racial discrimination that motivated it.

  36. When these students graduate, they will be expected to have the ability to prosecute and defend criminal cases, including gruesome rapes and murders, and civil cases that routinely deal with horrific facts. Yet it would irreparably harm them to read about a centuries-old opinion?

    This is comparable to a parent not allowing a child to cross the street after they turn 16. At some point, you are doing far more harm than you are preventing.

  37. It is very disconcerting how much I have seen this insanity developing in law schools across the country. I have even found a number of insane hit pieces on Josh Blackman, despite Josh being one of the nicest people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. I found a legal blog of a law school professor denouncing Josh as a far-right extremist, and a bastion of white supremacy. He had one stupid reason for this and one crazy reason. The stupid reason was that he is a member of FedSoc.
    The crazy reason was because a final exam question Josh frequently uses for Final exams that asks you to imagine Abraham Lincoln survives the assassination attempt, but two years later even his own party turn against him because reconstruction efforts were a huge failure and he is impeached and asks a series of questions you are supposed to answer as though you were a law clerk for Salmon Chase, the presiding judge…. To our insane critic, his interpretation is that this question further supports his existing belief Josh is a white supremacist. Because this professor says he is black and then genuinely said “the only reason for such a question on a law school exam is clearly a Rick to get black people on record saying terrible things about Abe Lincoln, solely so they can show this ” confession” of Lincoln hatred to all the white people in the country,( since we are all apparently white supremacists) and use these “confessions” to demonstrate black people lack gratitude for the privilege of ending slavery white people bestowed. Finally, he said the obvious reason they want to do this is for an excuse to literally put black people in America in chains and literally reinstate slavery…..
    I assumed this had to have been some kind of bizarre piece of satire. Like Johnathon Swift’s “A Modest Proposal”….. But the more I explored his other blog entries and articles I am 100% sure this law school professor genuinely believed every word of their “interpretation” of this secret white supremacist subtext he sees in everything and everyone.

  38. I have noticed that one of the biggest complaints anti-Semites have about Jews is “They never shut up about the Holocaust”. Indeed, they don’t, and neither do Libertarians. Nor should kulaks (and Libertarians) shut up about the Holodomor, nor should Chinese (and Libertarians) shut up about the Rape of Nanking, nor should Uyghers (and Libertarians) shut up about whatever we’ll call what the Chinese are doing to them right now.

    Nor should blacks (and Libertarians) shut up about Dred Scott. It was a horrible decision, and while not quite as bad as these various mass murders, it is nonetheless a black mark on history.

    By refusing to teach Dred Scott because it might hurt black student sensibilities, the Professor is being racist in two ways. He is assuming that black students are too emotionally immature because they can’t handle the truth, and he is hiding horrible things that whites have done, in effect brushing white misconduct under the rug. It’s disgusting.

    Sarcrast0 and others have tried to argue that this doesn’t belong in ConLaw class because it’s irrelevant — and perhaps he’s right — yet there are good arguments to include these cases as well. That is neither here nor there, and indeed, if the Professor was arguing that it’s no longer relevant to the modern political and legal landscape, there’s a possibility we wouldn’t even be discussing it today.

    The fact is, though, this professor is racist, and it’s a particularly disgusting racist decision, because he’s couching it in terms of “concern for the students”. If our poor little egos are so fragile that learning about bad things in history is likely to destroy us, then maybe we’d be better off not going to school. We certainly shouldn’t be going into Law — a field that deals explicitly with the aftermath of what to do with those people who have allegedly done awful things.

    There are people who are traumatized for life by being on a jury because they can’t handle the life-altering decision of putting a potentially innocent person in jail vs setting a potentially guilty person free. Such people don’t choose their predicament, so they deserve some slack. But law students? They explicitly chose a field where this will be done, pretty much every working day of their chosen careers.

    Say what you will about the relevance of a particular topic for that field of study, but never withhold that topic because it might offend some students. Some things have to be faced, despite the harm it inflicts on the soul. Heck, some things have to be faced because of the harm caused.

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