There is an interesting lawsuit filed against the University of Oregon after Portland State University Professor Bruce Gilley was blocked from a social media account. Gilley claims that he was blocked after he tweeted “all men are created equal.” The lawsuit names Tova Stabin, communication manager for the university’s Division of Equity and Inclusion, as the sole defendant. Gilley may believe that “all men are equal” but the censoring of his post suggests that, as in Orwell’s Animal Farm, “some are more equal than others” at the University of Oregon.
The petition by an alumni group at Rhodes College is seeking to remove Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett from the school’s “Hall of Fame” due to her vote in the Dobbs decision overturning Roe v. Wade. The petition accuses Barrett of violating the school’s honor code by testifying untruthfully in her confirmation hearing. In reality, the letter engages in gross misrepresentations of her testimony in the latest attack on her character and honesty. It is a letter that should be condemned by people regardless of their view of reproductive rights. The letter also declares Justice Barrett to be a threat to democracy because she holds opposing views on constitutional interpretation. Continue reading “Rhodes Alumni Launch Campaign to Remove Justice Barrett from School’s Hall of Fame”
For many who watched the Johnny Depp-Amber Heard trial, some of the most outstanding moments involved his defense counsel Yarelyn Mena. It was an extraordinary opportunity for the 29-year old graduated from CUNY (2015) and, by all accounts, Mena performed well. It was considered the turning point of one of the most famous trials in modern history. It is something that should be a matter of great pride for the CUNY community and, not surprisingly, the website did an article on their graduate. However, it has now been deleted with an apology after people objected that they were upset or traumatized by the recognition due to Heard’s allegations of abuse. Continue reading ““We Regret Any Pain”: CUNY Apologizes and Deletes Article On Depp Lawyer”
In January, we discussed the case of Ferris State Professor Barry Mehler, who was suspended after Mehler went full Howard Beale in a video in which he called his students “vectors of disease” and tells them to “stay the f**k away from me.” Mehler is known for his outlandish lectures, which appear to have been popular with students. He has now reached a settlement under which he will retire but will receive $95,000. There is a notable catch, however. Continue reading “Ferris State Professor Settles Lawsuit; Retires with Helmet and Pension Intact”
Below is my column in USA Today on the withdrawal of Associate Justice Clarence Thomas from the faculty at George Washington University. The announcement merely said that Justice Thomas was now “unavailable” to teach. While the decision is being celebrated by both GWU and across the Internet, it is only the latest blow to free speech and the struggle to preserve a diversity of viewpoints in higher education. When the university announced earlier that it would not fire Thomas, I wrote a piece expressing doubt about how that victory would play out in the future to protect free speech on campuses. The cessation of teaching the course only magnifies those concerns. Such withdrawals raise the concern over the “unavailability” of a diversity of thought in higher education.
Critics of the Supreme Court have tried every means to change the balance or decisions of the Court from threats of impeachment to harassing justices at homes or restaurants. Some of these reckless measures have been encouraged by law professors, including a Georgetown law professor who encouraged more “aggressive” measures targeting the justices. Now, Seton Hall Law Assistant Dean Brian Sheppard has called for Congress to “buyout” justices by offering them “large sums of money.” If needed, he suggests that President Joe Biden could scrape up the dough to prompt justices to cash in and get out.
University of Michigan football head coach Jim Harbaugh is facing calls for his termination after he went public with his pro-life views. Harbaugh is a devout Catholic and said that “I believe in having the courage to let the unborn be born.” The response has been overwhelming and furious, but it is unlikely that Harbaugh (who just signed signed a 5-year, $36.7 million contract) will be canned. It is an interesting comparison to the successful campaign recently to force a NFL coach to withdraw his comments about Jan. 6th. Yet, if critics had their way, both coaches would be fired for holding dissenting views on such issues. Continue reading ““He’s a Public Employee. Fire his A**”: Critics Call for Harbaugh to be Canned for Coming Out as Pro-Life”
Anthropology professor Joseph Manson announced his retirement this month with a broadside blog post that detailed the loss of academic freedom and integrity at UCLA. Manson describes many of the things that I have previously addressed as standard measures used to force out dissenting or conservative voices, including the isolation and investigation of colleagues to get them to resign. He is now among that lengthening list of such faculty who have decided to cut their academic careers short rather than work under such intolerable conditions. Continue reading ““Morally and Intellectually Corrupt”: UCLA Professor Resigns in Protest over Viewpoint Intolerance”
There is an interesting controversy brewing in anthropology departments where professors have called for researchers to stop identifying ancient human remains by biological gender because they cannot gauge how a person identified at that the time. Other scholars are calling for researchers to stop identifying race as a practice because it fuels white supremacy. One of the academics objecting to this effort to stop gender identifications, San Jose State archaeology Professor Elizabeth Weiss, is currently suing her school. Weiss maintains that she was barred from access to the human remains collection due to her opposition to the repatriation of human remains. The school objected that she posted a picture holding a skull from the collection on social media, expressing how she was “so happy to be back with some old friends.”
We previously discussed the case of Professor Stuart Reges who was disciplined because he refused to post the school’s “land acknowledgment” and instead posted an alternative statement. Professor Reges is now suing and the case could bring great benefits for free speech at this and other universities. Professor Reges has declared “Land acknowledgments are performative acts of conformity that should be resisted, even if it lands you in court.” Continue reading ““Performative Acts of Conformity”: Professor Sues University of Washington Over Land Acknowledgment Statement”
Recently, Professor Richard Epstein wrote a column in favor of prosecuting protesters targeting Supreme Court justices and criticizing what he calls “First Amendment exceptionalism.” He specifically cites my writings as an example of those with extreme views of free speech. While I disagree with Professor Epstein on this issue, it is an interesting and insightful publication that I recommend to our readers as they develop their own views on this admittedly difficult issue. Continue reading “Protests and “First Amendment Exceptionalism”: A Response to Professor Richard Epstein”
After a setback before the Delaware Supreme Court, the University of Delaware is continuing its dogged effort to prevent the public from seeing the senatorial papers of President Joe Biden. The continued litigation, at public cost, has been criticized as an effort to shield President Biden from potentially embarrassing material from being accessed by the media or public interest groups. For a research institution, it is a curious role to prevent access to documents but clearly a role supported by President Biden and his family. What is particularly troubling is the reason being claimed by the university. Continue reading “University of Delaware Continues Fight to Shield Biden Documents From Public Review”
I am happy to report that my law review article in the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy is now out in print. The article entitled “Harm and Hegemony: The Decline of Free Speech in the United States,” explores the anti-free speech movement in the United States and the increasingly common claim that free speech itself is harmful. I wanted to thank the journal editors and staff for their tireless efforts to bring this rather lengthy work to print. It was a great pleasure to work with each and every one of the law students who contributed to the editing and sourcing of this law review.