This ethics quiz is designed to balance my own biases.
Above the Law’s Ellie Mystal claimed that a Georgetown University Law Center professor gave his class an insensitive hypothetical in an exam. I am almost as disgusted with GULC as I am with my other alma mater; Above the Law is a hack website; Mystal has proven himself to be a left-wing hysteric, a racist, a biased journalist, a self-evident jerk and a lawyer whose ethics are so warped that he should never be allowed within 50 yards of a potential client. As a result, I can’t be sure that my conclusion that his analysis in this case is as wrong as I think it is, since all of these biases, however justified, may be rusting my ethics alarms solid. Maybe.
You probably recall that Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crashed earlier this year, killing 157 people. This part of the ongoing Boeing 737 MAX jet controversy that has resulted in the aircraft being pulled out of service.Cedric Asiavugwa, a third-year student at the Law Center, was one of the victims of the crash.
Georgetown Law Professor M. Gregg Bloche devised a final for his “The Mind And The Law” class that included a question that asked students to evaluate the legal issues surrounding the FAA’s emergency grounding of Boeing 737s. Mystal is outraged:
Does any of this sound like appropriate grounds for a law school exam hypo? Does any of this sound like appropriate grounds for a law school exam hypo at Georgetown?….I generally dislike it when law professors try to pull this “ripped from the headlines” crap like their name is Dick Wolf. It’s not creative and exciting to draw a hypo from “current events,” it’s lazy writing….Yes, I get that “real” lawyers often have to deal with emotional issues of tragedy and loss. I get that dispassionate analysis is a hallmark of the legal profession. But the point of a law school exam is not to test a student’s emotional preparedness. It’s certainly not to test a student’s grief management. It’s not even like the professor kept the question in the realm of “purely” hypothetical. He attaches articles ABOUT the crash to the exam, asking students to read them and address them in their answers.
A student, classmate, and friend of some of these people died. He died a mere month and a half before the exam was published. There was a memorial, on-campus, honoring his life. Could we maybe NOT turn his death into a freaking exam hypo? Would it be too much of an impingement on academic freedom to show some human empathy? This exam question was tasteless.
My reactions the second I read this:
- Any law student who is emotionally wounded by an exam reference with a connection to a real and recent tragedy is heading into the wrong profession, and the sooner the student realizes it, the better he or she, their potential future clients and employers, and the legal profession is,
- Mystal, in the kind of dishonesty that fuels my lack of respect for him, says the exam is about the student’s death. No, it isn’t. It isn’t even about the crash.
- Since I write legal ethics hypotheticals for a living (among other things), I believe I am qualified to judge Mystal’s objections to basing them on real events as “lazy” to be ignorant. Any teacher who does not regard the myriad fascinating and difficult real life legal dilemmas that arise from the chaos of life as an invaluable resource for challenging students is incompetent, to be blunt.
- I used 9-11 as the basis for a legal ethics hypothetical within weeks of the tragedy. I’m sure some of my students knew victims; heck, I knew some victims. Nobody complained, because it’s a non sequitur. Any hypothetical has the potential of reminding someone of an unpleasant experience. I expect adults–law students are not children–to deal with it. It’s not my problem.
- Part of the destructive progressive cultural brainwashing being attempted now is to establish the cultural norm that all words, conduct and actions must be filtered, calibrated, censored, bowdlerized and sanitized to avoid any potential or theoretical offense or “triggering” for any potential listener or reader. It’s a core aspect of the effort to constrain thought and expression. I detest the term “snowflakes,” but Mystal’s indignation over a theoretical psychic wound over a dry law school exam question almost compels resorting to it.
- Stop making our rising generations weenies, eager victims and emotional weaklings. I know that makes them better victim-mongering leftists, anti-capitalists, political correctness bullies, foes of personal responsibility and accountability, pacifists, statue-topplers, hate-speech censors, and deriders of “toxic masculinity,” among other things., so the temptation is almost irresistible.
But I could be wrong, so the Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz of the Day is…