“WTF is Wrong with You”: Columbia Center and Law Students Protest Meeting With Justice Kavanaugh

Columbia University law students and alums are in an uproar over an Instagram post that showed students in the Federalist Society meeting with Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh at the Court. It would ordinarily be a singular experience for law students to spend time with one of the nine justices. That is not how it went over at Columbia where some are outraged by the meeting and Columbia’s posting the picture on its social media account. The Empowering Women of Color group announced it was “withdrawing our participation from Columbia Law School recruiting events.” Columbia’s own Center for Engaged Pedagogy, simply declared “WTF is wrong with you.”

With the posting, Columbia offered the following description:

“On February 23, members of the Columbia Federalist Society (@clsfedsoc) visited the Supreme Court of the United States to engage in conversation with Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh. During the visit, they learned about the human side of being a justice, the Court’s deliberation process, and how to be an effective advocate. Justice Kavanaugh also answered questions about a few of his most famous opinions.”

That would seem precisely the type of opportunity that a premier law school seeks to make available to its students. However, Kavanaugh remains persona non grata due to his conservative jurisprudence and allegations from his confirmation hearings. It does not matter that Kavanaugh (who was later the subject of an assassination attempt) was never charged with any crime and vehemently denies the allegations of Christine Blasey Ford.

Those opposing any engagement with Kavanaugh raised both his legal viewpoints and the assault allegations.

The Black Law Students Association wrote on behalf of a large number of groups to oppose the posting and to “put the administration on notice” that it is unacceptable for law students to meet with the justice — or for the law school to support it.

“We believe that our school’s choice to platform Justice Kavanaugh is symbolic of a pattern of behavior that our organization does not and will not support and will not be affiliated with. We thank LALSA, NALSA, EWOC, OutLaws, QTPOC, IfWhenHow, APALSA, SALSA, and others, for joining us in this advocacy and struggle. We look forward to continued collaboration. By joining us in this effort, you have all helped put the administration on notice that we have a strong and growing collective.”

The objection to “platforming” Kavanaugh is telling. Deplatforming is a major tool used by the anti-free speech movement.

As discussed earlier, former Dartmouth Professor Mark Bray is the author of a book entitled “Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook” and one of the chief enablers of these protesters. Bray describes Antifa as “a pan-left radical politics uniting communists, socialists, anarchists and various different radical leftists together for the shared purpose of combating the far right.” However, the broader anti-free speech movement shares the same underlying opposition to “platforming” of those with opposing views.

Bray speaks positively of the effort to supplant traditional views of free speech: “At the heart of the anti-fascist outlook is a rejection of the classical liberal phrase… that says I disapprove of what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” He defines anti-fascists as “illiberal” who reject the notion that far right views deserve to “coexist” with opposing views.

Bray says that the protesters do not “see fascism or white supremacy as a view with which they disagree as a difference of opinion.” Their goal is not co-existence but “to end their politics.” Bray and other academics are liberating students from the confines of what they deem the false “allegiance to liberal democracy.” Once freed of the values of free speech and democratic values, violence becomes merely politics by other means. When pushed, Bray stressed that Antifa is only a threat to one side and one party:

“There is a certain political lens that — agree or disagree with the lens — there is an element of continuity in terms of the types of groups targeted. I don’t know of any Democratic Party events that have been ‘no platformed,’ or shut down by anti-fascists. So there is a political lens, people will quibble about what the lens is, who designs the lens, but I don’t think the slippery slope is actually, in practice, nearly as much of a concern as people imagine it would be.”

The Empowering Women of Color group rejected the position of Columbia that it should maintain a neutral and tolerant position on such events or speakers:

“We cannot condone complicity with a man who is credibly accused of sexual assault. The insinuation from the Communications Office that the post was neutral and just the Law School’s way of highlighting activities students are participating in is laughable and untrue. A post of this kind, with its caption, is a terrifying stamp of approval.”

In other words, there is no neutrality. Columbia is expected to refuse to participate or recognize any event with the justice, who has never been charged, let alone convicted, of any crime.

However, it is the posting of the Center, as an official office of Columbia University, that is most alarming. The Center account was used to object:  “WTF is wrong with you. Ah yes. Every day I wake up wondering what is the day in the life of someone who strips people’s rights away.”  The Center helps design curriculum and methods of teaching for Columbia and states a mission of instilling “abolitionist” values:

“The CEP invites faculty, students, and staff to participate in a spring discussion group and incubation space focused on using abolitionist thinking to challenge our existing pedagogical practices and the way we live our lives. Participants will use abolitionist values to create personal and pedagogical praxes, come up with actionable plans toward a meaningful material transformation of the world.”

Those “plans” apparently do not involve principles of diversity of thought, due process, or free speech. Unless this is an unapproved posting, the Center is suggesting that law students should not meet with Kavanaugh and that the law school should not support any events with the justice.

I have no problem with the protesting of these groups, though I strongly disagree with their position. However, the involvement of an office or department of the university is deeply concerning. If this was an unapproved posting, Columbia should make that clear. If it was a statement on behalf of Columbia’s Center, the university should explain how this is consistent with its commitment to free speech and tolerance for opposing views of its students and faculty.

135 thoughts on ““WTF is Wrong with You”: Columbia Center and Law Students Protest Meeting With Justice Kavanaugh”

  1. Anyone else as shocked as I am that there are that many members of the Federalist Society at Columbia?

  2. I am so sick of the phrase “of color”!! Progressives act like we’re supposed to genuflect when we hear it, as if those people are to be revered and held in higher esteem than the rest of us. Enough!! We’re all equal in the eyes of our Creator. So, to the “toddlers of color” I say GROW UP and get a life!

    1. Start identifying as a person of color. I may look white, but I’ve got a big ol’ drop of color somewhere in me and I will take my person of color privilege with me and assert it everywhere to claim MY privilege too — you know, like Liz Warren.

      1. My story? It was never easy for me. I was born a poor black child way down in Mississippi.

    2. Cindy, we exist, therefore we are all people of color. Own that. Then when laws and regulations discriminate against you, me and other people because our color is not protected, then I don’t see why we cannot petition the government for redress. Why couldn’t we file a class action lawsuit?

      1. Good idea, like affirmative action or MBEs or any other of the clownish, patronizing laws and rules that benefit people based on their color (choice). Oh, and good luck finding one that doesn’t benefit non-whites, but if you do find one, please get rid of it.

        1. Affirmative action cannot exist in America; affirmative action is irrefutably unconstitutional.

          The singular American failure is the Supreme Court which has reigned over the incremental implementation of the Communist Manifesto since 1860 when Karl Marx called Abraham Lincoln the “earnest of the epoch” leading America toward the “RECONSTRUCTION of a social world.”

          Thank you, Karl.

          Thank you, Comrade General Secretary Abraham Lincoln!

          “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.”

          Central planning, control of the means of production (regulation), redistribution of wealth, social engineering.

          Look around you; what do you see?





        “White is not defined as a color because it is the sum of all possible colors. Black is not defined as a color because it is the absence of light, and therefore color. In the visual art world, white and black may sometimes be defined as distinct colors. This is different from the concept of spectral color in physics.”

        – Seattle Pi, https://education.seattlepi.com/not-list-black-white-colors-physics-3426.html

        1. Nope. As long as the law makes it acceptable to self-identify, then today and beyond, I define myself as a person of color. I also identify as a native American, as I am a natural-born citizen of the United States. Today I identify as a man. However tomorrow, circumstances might change and I will identify as a woman or some other creature. When the next census comes around, I will be marking every box that my imagination desires. And if everyone made the same commitment to reimagine how they self-identify, lawsuits will undoubtably ensue. Either the law will have to protect my “right” to identify as whatever my brain imagines, or it will be forced to reconsider laws that don’t protect everyone’s rights equally.

          Yeah, I’m tired of this $hit.

  3. “how to be an effective advocate”

    Those protesting this meeting should have attended. They might have learned something useful.

  4. Looks like the ole grand jury investigating Donald Trump is taking a recess until after Easter. They must need time for an egg hunt.

  5. Here’s a thought, how about we disqualify everybody with a 4 year college degree or higher from being involved in government at any level. That would mean that the people who actually work for a living run our municipalities, our state governments and federal government. Things would be a lot different than letting these left wing wack jobs destroy our country.

    1. ATS self-deleted this post to Independent: “The moderator — Darren — is another one with a big old chip on his shoulder. JT needs to find a new moderator, but he’s clueless…”

      Darrin has helped numerous people out and seldom deletes anyone. I think foul language is a major reason for deletion. You self-delete more than he deletes.

  6. It does not matter that Kavanaugh’s accusers were all discredited. The left has become so radicalized, and brainwashed that the accusation is all that matters. After all, he is a Conservative, so he must be guilty of something, if not everything. It is interesting how this particular accusation, sexual assault, is the most heinous of crimes when alleged (albeit with no real evidence) against a Conservative, but Clinton’s accuser and Biden’s accuser were ridiculed as partisans.

    In this “age of rage”(footnote to Professor Turley) every disagreement is a shot across the bow of the leftist ideology that must be defended to the death. For some, like Antifa, literally.

      1. My recollection is that Sheldon Whitehouse made up a person from his lily white yacht club in RI who saw Kavanaugh do something in Newport and that there was also a woman at Yale who saw him do something at Yale who was also fully discredited in addition to the woman who claimed he did something in high school at a house she could not remember on a day she could remember in a year she could not remember with four people also in the room who all claimed they were together at one time one summer but that she was not there. Then there were the two guys who came forward and said they had had the experience Ford described with Ford during summers when Kavanaugh did not even live in the DC area

        1. I think some woman saw Bill Clinton do something. But that’s neither here nor there.

          1. I think Bill Clinton admitted to the court that he did something with multiple woman and paid a million bucks and lost his law license for lying about it to the court

  7. The Kavanaugh debacle was one of the things that made me write off our Dem party forever, as an independent voter.

    At some point we are simply going to have to accept that this cohort and the people that taught them are simply unhinged, reprehensible human beings. This is no longer behavior – it is a *pattern* of behavior, spanning at least a decade (and I know some will say, yes, that was always the case with them, but no, this is different) and that is absolutely what denotes insanity, even if it isn’t congenital. It is hate and prejudice of the lowest kind veiled in intellectual superiority, and it isn’t going to get better without sea changes in every aspect of education. Do we really want the future that this portends, with these people calling the shots? Because if we don’t reverse course, that is precisely what we will have.

    Seriously: at this point, what used to be considered ‘well-taught’ amounts to how effective the brainwashing was in service of the agenda. We have not seen this in the West since the 1930s, and if we don’t stop it, we absolutely will get steamrolled (and bankrolled – we are dealing with people that have vast amounts of wealth backing them). Does the world really need another holocaust, this time, a global one?

    What can you do? As an individual: vote, speak up locally at every opportunity, create alternatives, however small, and for Pete’s sake – stop sending your kids to these schools. It is no longer an accolade, just a really, really expensive piece of paper signifying nothing whatsoever. And if you are alumni: stop your contributions. Today. Be proactive in the ways that you can be, and spread the word without cowardice. There are a lot more of us than you realize, and we are not ‘MAGA Republicans’. I never supported Trump, I support *The United States*, and its prospering as a free, free-thinking place. The modern left is absolutely opposed to me, even though I am not a conservative nor am i remotely religious. Free thought and its resulting action terrifies them the most, so do it as much as you possibly can.

  8. “Liberty lies in the rights of that person whose views you find most odious.”
    J. S. Mill

  9. My 1st question is: how did these losers get into law school, especially at Columbia?
    My 2nd question is: Are these students required to put these questionable organizations on their resume’ In order to allow future employers to understand what type of pervert they are hiring.
    Pervert is the proper adjective as these students are clearly acting in an unethical manner for a lawyer. Persistent Perversion of our 1st Amendment Free Speech rights is a disqualifying factor for admission to any competent Bar of any state.

    1. I can tell you that, as a hiring partner for a 350 person law firm, unless you are an officer of the Federalist Society at these “elite” law schools, you’re not even getting an interview. Nor is my law school getting dime one from me. Eventually, maybe they’ll listen.

  10. It is encouraging to note from the photograph the ethnic, racial, and gender mix of the meeting’s participants. It’s a credit to Columbia’s Federalist Society Club that it is beyond identity politics and that classical liberals and civil libertarians will continue to do well against the forces that operate counter to the freedoms of speech and association.

  11. America is dividing into two countries. People are moving to states that share their values. The reason this is happening is because these radical leftists cannot be reasoned with. They are so bought-in to their ideologies that they aren’t capable of allowing freedom to others who disagree with them. They have no manners, no civility, are mean, vicious, and believe they are superior. They reek of narcissism. As it gets worse and worse, I am considering moving to another state myself. I’m tired of watching them, tired of hearing their crap. I’m grateful that I’m old and not trying to raise kids now, and no longer teaching in public schools. The forces ( I don’t know who..Soros?) have succeeded in dividing us. My dad always said it was communists’ goal to divide us from within. Maybe he was right. Whomever it is, they’ve succeeded. Move with your feet,

    1. Seawoman, I am a MA to FL transplant and I am very happy having people like Rubio and DeSantis instead of people like Warren and Marky in government, fed and state.

  12. How many examples do we need of these indoctrinated privilidged thugs? I might be an Ivy League graduate myself, but I will gladly join the proletarian counter-revolution to put these pseudo Marxists in their proper place!

  13. I remember some 15 years ago when Iran’s former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was invited to speak at the Columbia U campus. The university’s PRESIDENT introduced him. There were protesters outside, but no one tried to “deplatform” him. I expect the same would be true today, but heaven help a conservative justice trying to speak on the law.

  14. The sad thing here is that we have to respect their rights to hold an opinion and their freedom to express an opinion publicly.

    I agree that there are also repercussions to voicing an opinion.

    I think those who agree with their opinion lack the candor to be a member of the bar or any professional organization.
    Its akin to doctors being taught not to treat the most serious cases first and to triage base on necessary care, but based on race in the name of equity.
    Those who practice that should be held accountable and sued for malpractice.

    This is also what happens when schools attract students based on their laurels and refuse to uphold the principles which made them worthy.


    1. Minor quibble…not sure we *must* respect anyone’s right to express their opinion publicly; there is no “Right to be Heard” or right to force your speech onto others. Tolerate, sure – at least to understand the point, if there is a point. Respect should be earned not demanded.

      1. There is no right to be heard. There is a right to hear.
        That is actually what is being violated.

  15. These are the future leaders, the people who will be responsible for America’s freedom.
    And they are no accident.
    Change or suffer.

  16. These intolerant and violent people are Communists. Anarchists. Fascists. Terrorists. Do not soften your language. Call them what they are.

    1. And they are brainwashed. BY the freakin’ teachers, professors, administrators themselves!
      THEIR words are violence –and threatening to MY basic human rights.
      THEIR actions threaten and trample MY rights.
      Cease alumni donations, press charges as applicable, file complaints, get on offense and stay there.
      Do not EVER apologize, self-censor, back down, bend a knee, or give one inch to these radicals.

      1. That’s why Blasey-Ford got away with her lies that will forever be ammunition the radicals use to unjustly smear and discredit Kavanaugh. Republicans allowed her lies to stand unchallenged. Disgraceful weakness. Democrats go for the death blow every single time — yet Republicans cautiously pussy foot around and capitulate every single time.

  17. Thank God the cult of going to college, which has run rampant for 100 years, is on the decline. Thank God many employers are beginning to eliminate the requirement of a college degree. Apprenticeships and the like will do just fine. Hell, Abraham Lincoln became a successful, respected attorney with neither a degree nor an apprenticeship.

    1. I hope you are right, but it seems like we heard this many time before and but the academy just keeps growing and spreading their Marxist hate deeper and deeper in our culture.

  18. “In other words, there is no neutrality. Columbia is expected to refuse to participate or recognize any event with the justice, who has never been charged, let alone convicted, of any crime.”

    The Republicans blew it with their kid-glove handling of Blasey-Ford. They should have hit her hard with cross examination, exposed her many lies, and shut her down immediately instead of allowing her stories and lies to gain traction. She was not credible yet they allowed her to go practically unchallenged. It was a disgrace.

    “Believe all women.” Unless those women are accusing Democrats. Or big Democrat donors.

    Columbia must therefore ban all events with former president Bill ‘bimbo eruption’ Clinton –who paid $850k to silence Paula Jones — just one of many ‘credible’ accusations of rape and sexual assault.

    There is also a ‘credible’ accusation of ‘digital rape’ against the current president Joe Biden. His accuser, Tara Reade, is willing to testify under oath before Congress.

    1. When Trump’s campaign brought a bunch of Bill Clinton’s accusers to the front row of the debate and subjected the Clinton camp to the onslaught of “Bill Clinton is a Rapist” — it was exactly how the leftist radicals play the game and how Republicans need to deal with radical Democrats. This is why we like Trump. He points right at the corporate media and says to their faces, “You are fake news.” Because they are.

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