More Evidence Of Ethics Rot In The Legal Profession

The combination of The Great Stupid washing over the land, woke indoctrination and bullying, and the politicization of everything has perhaps taken its greatest toll on the trustworthiness of the professions. One after another has succumbed to ethics rot to an extent that one would have been unimaginable. The legal profession has been especially ravaged.

A depressing and horrifying op-ed in the Wall Street Journal told the first-hand account of how the writer was fired from her law firm, Hogan Lovells, for daring to express an opinion that was not deemed compliant with current progressive cant. She wrote in part,

After the Supreme Court issued its Dobbs decision overturning Roe v. Wade in June, global law firm Hogan Lovells organized an online conference call for female employees. As a retired equity partner still actively serving clients, I was invited to participate in what was billed as a “safe space” for women at the firm to discuss the decision. It might have been a safe space for some, but it wasn’t safe for me.

Everyone else who spoke on the call was unanimous in her anger and outrage about Dobbs. I spoke up to offer a different view. I noted that many jurists and commentators believed Roe had been wrongly decided. I said that the court was right to remand the issue to the states. I added that I thought abortion-rights advocates had brought much of the pushback against Roe on themselves by pushing for extreme policies. I referred to numerous reports of disproportionately high rates of abortion in the black community, which some have called a form of genocide. I said I thought this was tragic.

The outrage was immediate. The next speaker called me a racist and demanded that I leave the meeting. Other participants said they “lost their ability to breathe” on hearing my comments. After more of the same, I hung up.

Someone made a formal complaint to the firm. Later that day, Hogan Lovells suspended my contracts, cut off my contact with clients, removed me from email and document systems, and emailed all U.S. personnel saying that a forum participant had made “anti-Black comments” and was suspended pending an investigation. The firm also released a statement to the legal website Above the Law bemoaning the devastating impact my views had on participants in the forum—most of whom were lawyers participating in a call convened expressly for the purpose of discussing a controversial legal and political topic. Someone leaked my name to the press.

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Paging The ACLU! But Will They Answer?

Another integrity test for the biased and rotting American Civil Liberties Union. According to their long-standing mission, coming to the defense of two students being prosecuted for saying bad word would be automatic. So far, though, not a peep. Will the ACLU stand up for the Bill of Rights when the breach is so clear?

I’m not holding my breath.

In Houma, Louisiana, Two high school students have been arrested and accused of hate crimes after video circulated on social media of them using the term “nigger” on the high school grounds. Their words were not directed at any individual, yet they face charges of inciting a riot, hate crimes, and cyberbullying.

You can’t do this, you know. The government can’t punish anyone criminally for mere words, and it doesn’t matter what they are. OK, you have my obligatory agreement that “nigger” is a haeful epithet (when used as an epithet) and it’s use cannot be condoned and shouldn’t be encouraged or ignored, yadayada, but if that’s the reason almost nobody is pointing out the more essential truth that the Constitution protects us from sanctions by the government for ugly, mean, hateful or controversial speech, a lttle emedial instruction on core civil liberties is greatly neededd.

Yoooo Hooo! ACLU-hooo! Where the hell are you-hoo?

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Princeton Tries To Get Away With What The University Of Central Florida Couldn’t: Forced Ideological Conformity

I had lots of quick reactions to this nauseating story:

  • It is comforting to know that Princeton has joined Yale and my alma mater as once-great colleges that are embarrassing alumni in their embrace of racial bias and progressive oppression.
  • It is also comforting to know that not all of the professors abused in this way are weenies who will grovel an apology to keep their jobs with  unethical institutions.
  • Colleges and universities have become a primary threat to democracy,and that is no longer an unreasonable suspicion. It is fact.
  • The news media keeps telling us that conservatives present an existential threat to democracy anyway.

Just last night, I posted [Item #2]on the recent decision by an arbitrator that an arbitrator has reinstated Prof. Charles Negy with full back pay after he was fired by the University of Central Florida for opining in two tweets that the “systemic racism” claim was less than persuasive and that there was abundant “back privilege” in American society conferring special benefits while suppressing legitimate criticism. The school’s clever scheme—well, not so clever, since it ultimately was tagged as the wrongful tactic it was—consisted of searching for some other pretense for firing the non-conforming prof, since using his opinions wouldn’t work. Now, less than 24 hours later, I learn that Princeton is attempting to do the same thing to one of its professors.

“Well, we’re not some podunk state university in Florida,” its leaders are apparently thinking. “We’re Princeton! We are wise, and we know best!”

 Classics Professor Professor Joshua Katz  properly found fault with some aspects of a proposed anti-racism program of benefits for minority faculty and has the audacity to publicize his objections. Can’t have that, so Princeton President Christopher Eisgruber has asked the university board to fire Katz. The sinister WrongThink purveyor questioned a proposal in a faculty letter to offer special benefits for “professors of color,” who somehow were deemed innately worthy of a summer salary and additional sabbatical time because a black drug addict and petty crook resisted arrest and ended up dead in part because of the brutality of bad Minnesota cop. I know I’m being repetitious, but this really is the cause and effect that launched The Great Stupid. It amazes me every time I think about it.

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The Immediate Benefit Of Musk’s Twitter Takeover: The Left Is Revealing Its Fear Of Free Speech

That depressing exhortation above was released by the president of the NAACP, Derrick Johnson. It is signature significance for a man, and presumably the organization he has led and spoken for since 2017, who favors censorship, content-based control of communications media, and a manipulated political system. It also reveals a leader of an influential organization who sees no danger that his members and his organization’s supporters will react negatively to his open embrace of totalitarian principles.

“Hate speech” is free speech, and groups like the NAACP (and the Democratic Party, and too frequently the mainstream media) define as hate speech any speech that they hate, because it is critical of their positions, agendas or members. “Disinformation and misinformation” have always been welcome on Twitter as long as it advanced progressive goals. “Do not allow 45 to return to the platform”? What is that but a demand that a prominent political figure who was recently President be handicapped in his efforts to seek political office? How would the NAACP have responded to a call from white supremacy group to keep Barack Obama from a communication platform in 2008?

The organization is only about power. It has no integrity or principles.

Or self-awareness. Or comprehension of the words it uses and the concepts it claims to revere. Censoring speech and political opinions along with a recent President and current political leader protects democracy.

War is Peace

Ignorance is Strength

Slavery is Freedom

Silly me, I did not expect the NAACP to reveal itself as such a fan of Big Brother; I somehow thought that last motto would be a deal-breaker.

Well, now we know. It’s sad, and scary, but that’s what’s so great about letting people say what they think.

Among other benefits, we learn who can’t be trusted.

From The “It Doesn’t Quite Speak For Itself” Files…

This sign was apparent seen on the Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis campus. 

What’s going on here?

Is Purdue taking a stand against the miserable treatment of free speech on so many other campuses? Is this a student prank? Is it satire? Should we find it depressing or encouraging? If it is the work of students, will Purdue remove it? If it is a statement by the school, will students or faculty protest?

Ethics Quote Of The Month: D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals Senior Judge Laurence Silberman

“The latest events at Yale Law School in which students attempted to shout down speakers participating in a panel discussion on free speech prompts me to suggest that students who are identified as those willing to disrupt any such panel discussion should be noted. All federal judges—and all federal judges are presumably committed to free speech—should carefully consider whether any student so identified should be disqualified for potential clerkships.”

—Judge Silberman in a letter to his fellow judges, in reference to the disruption of a March 10 panel at Yale Law School that was intended as a debate over civil liberties  hosted by the Yale Federalist Society. About a hundred students attempted to prevent the panel and Federalist Society members in attendance from speaking.

Well, you know: Yale. Equally disturbing, perhaps, was that Ellen Cosgrove, the law school’s associate dean, attended the panel, was present the entire time, and did nothing to restrain the protesters nor remind them of their ethical duties.

The school has a policy that specifically condemns such speech-chilling conduct, but more than 10 days after the event, no consequences appear to be forthcoming for the privileged and arrogant thugs who are going to be entrusted with the task of protecting future attacks on Constitutional liberties.

In an editorial endorsing the judge’s suggestion, the Wall Street Journal wrote in part,

Some readers may think these students should be forgiven the excesses of youth. But these are adults, not college sophomores. They are law students who will soon be responsible for protecting the rule of law. The right to free speech is a bedrock principle of the U.S. Constitution. If these students are so blinkered by ideology that they can’t tolerate a debate over civil liberties on campus, the future of the American legal system is in jeopardy.

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Evening Ethics Illumination, 1/9/22: “Mister We Could Use A Man Like Thomas Paine Again…”

On this date in 1776, writer Thomas Paine published his pamphlet “Common Sense,” making his arguments in favor of American independence from England, thereby uniting a scattering of dissatisfaction into a movement. Only a few publications in our history have had such a profound effect on public opinion; another was “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.” Paine’s most ringing assertion may have been this one:

“Europe, and not England, is the parent country of America.  This new world hath been the asylum for the persecuted lovers of civil and religious liberty from every part of Europe.  Hither they have fled, not from the tender embraces of the mother, but from the cruelty of the monster; and it is so far true of England, that the same tyranny which drove the first emigrants from home, pursues their descendants still.”

Common sense today is in short supply. A sharp, clear explication and reaffirmation of core American values without the tarnish of partisan politics would be a godsend. But among a public in which a minority could even identify who Thomas Paine was, who would understand it?

1. I wonder if it’s even necessary to finish the post on the hypocrisy of Democratic propaganda about a threat to democracy when this kind of thing keeps happening…GovernorJay Inslee of Washington state called on lawmakers to pass legislation making it a gross misdemeanor for some to “spread lies”about election results. Naturally, he called this suppression of opinion and free speech necessary to protect democracy. Inslee spoke against what he called “a continuing coup” by former President Donald Trump. Wait, don’t we need a law criminalizing false claims of “coups”?

Part of the Democratic strategy to keep power is to use the criminal system to muzzle opinions and positions it doesn’t like. Robert Kennedy Jr. wants to punish “climate change deniers.” Many progressives want to punish vaccine skeptics (a group that includes Robert Kennedy Jr.!), and Democratic allies in social media and Big Tech have been increasingly brazen about banning conservatives, replacing the “more speech” remedy the Bill of Rights set out for dubious opinions with “no speech.”

Would it be fair to conclude that Inslee is an ignoramus? Not only have state laws making it a crime for a candidate for office to lie been declared unconstitutional (because they are,) the Supreme Court case U.S. v. Alvarez,  struck down the Stolen Valor Act, protecting a man who falsely claimed that he had received the Medal of Honor, declared that lying speech was still protected speech. Then there’s the little problem of deciding what is a lie and what is just dumb opinion, like, say, suggesting that a state could ban lying about elections.

If Inslee isn’t ignorant about his nation’s Constitution, then he is grandstanding, equating opinions with crimes to rile up the under-educated and the nascent totalitarians who his party has been courting for so long.

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A “Hard Cases Make Bad Law” Classic: The School Board President’s Kid’s Social Media “Hate Speech”

Cullman City

I’d make this an ethics quiz, but I think it’s too potentially important to treat as a jump ball. This is the kind of extreme mess that threatens free speech, especially when on entire political party is searching for an excuse to ban “hate speech,” once they have defined it just well enough to constrain political opponents.

In Cullman City, Alabama, the school board’s president’s son, who attends the school district’s high school, posted a video to SnapChat in which he could be seen and heard chanting “White power!” and “Kill all the niggers!” The video has been widely circulated among students. The parent of a black student who saw the video has demanded the resignation of Amy Carter (no, not THAT Amy Carter; don’t be silly), the school board’s president. The parent is also demanding that the school take action against the student. “Cullman City Schools would clearly punish our son if he made a video threatening the white students of Cullman High School,” she wrote in an email. “My son is one of a handful of black children in the school. Tell me how he wouldn’t be threatened by KILL ALL THE Ns?! Explain to me how this is not a threat.”

Well, I can answer that last part. Under First Amendment case law, the “true threats” doctrine holds that allegedly threatening speech cannot be punished unless the government can prove that the speaker meant to communicate a serious expression of an intent to commit an act of unlawful violence to a particular individual. A chant on a video posted on social media that mentions no specific student will not qualify as an actionable threat. Her previous question is tougher. The school and the town itself has a reputation for racial hostility toward blacks. The mother of the black student says her son has repeatedly been subjected to racist remarks during his four years as a student in the district. I see good reason for the video to be unsettling in that context.

On the other hand, I’m getting awfully tired of the “they wouldn’t treat a black adult/child this way if he/she did X” argument, which is almost never challenged even when it’s bigoted nonsense, as in the race-based attacks on the Rittenhouse verdict. It’s more presumed racism, and a cheat, a device to avoid making a solid argument.

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To Be Fair, MIT Was Probably Corrupted By Being Too Close To Harvard….

MIT

Dorian Abbot, an associate professor of geophysics at the University of Chicago, wrote in an op-ed on New York Times exile Bari Weiss’ Substack last weeky that MIT, just a few bocks beyond Harvrad on Massachusetts Avenue in Cambridge, Mass., had informed him that his Carlson Lecture was being canceled to “avoid controversy.” He wrote in part,

“In the fall of 2020 I started advocating openly for academic freedom and merit-based evaluations. I recorded some short YouTube videos in which I argued for the importance of treating each person as an individual worthy of dignity and respect. In an academic context, that means giving everyone a fair and equal opportunity when they apply for a position as well as allowing them to express their opinions openly, even if you disagree with them. 

“As a result, I was immediately targeted for cancellation, primarily by a group of graduate students in my department. Whistleblowers later revealed that the attack was partially planned and coordinated on the Ford Foundation Fellowship Program listserv by a graduate student in my department….

“That group of graduate students organized a letter of denunciation. It claimed that I threatened the ‘safety and belonging of all underrepresented groups within the department,’ and it was presented to my department chair. The letter demanded that my teaching and research be restricted in a way that would cripple my ability to function as a scientist. A strong statement in support of faculty free expression by University of Chicago President Robert Zimmer put an end to that, and that is where things stood until the summer of 2021. 

“On August 12, a colleague and I wrote an op-ed in Newsweek in which we argued that Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) as it currently is implemented on campus “violates the ethical and legal principle of equal treatment” and “treats persons as merely means to an end, giving primacy to a statistic over the individuality of a human being.” We proposed instead ‘an alternative framework called Merit, Fairness, and Equality (MFE) whereby university applicants are treated as individuals and evaluated through a rigorous and unbiased process based on their merit and qualifications alone.’ We noted that this would mean an end to legacy and athletic admission advantages, which significantly favor white applicants. 

“Shortly thereafter, my detractors developed a new strategy to try to isolate me and intimidate everyone else into silence: They argued on Twitter that I should not be invited to give science seminars at other universities and coordinated replacement speakers. This is an effective and increasingly common way to ratchet up the cost of dissenting because disseminating new work to colleagues is an important part of the scientific endeavor. 

“Sure enough, this strategy was employed when I was chosen to give the Carlson Lecture at MIT — a major honor in my field. It is an annual public talk given to a large audience and my topic was “climate and the potential for life on other planets.” On September 22, a new Twitter mob, composed of a group of MIT students, postdocs, and recent alumni, demanded that I be uninvited

“It worked….”

Observations:

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