Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) has become an icon for the left in her unrelenting calls for impeachment of President Donald Trump and tapping into the blind rage across the country. That appeal to the base however took a worrisome turn this week as Waters rallied supporters around the assurance that impeachment is anything they want to say it is. As I stated recently to the Rolling Stones, this view was made popular by Gerald Ford and has been uniformly condemned by constitutional experts. Waters is dismissing the constitutional obligation to find “high crimes and misdemeanors” in assuring supporters that they can simply get rid of Trump on a muscle vote. Political convenience has long been the enemy of constitutional principle, but this effort is highly dangerous for our country as a whole. We are living in an age of rage and Waters’ approach would create an channel to direct that lethal rage into the heart of our political system.
We have been discussing how discrimination and speech regulation have become acceptable in the cause of diversity or equality for many activists. The latest example was seen at the premiere of a new documentary about comedians called “Building the Room.” The director is Sharaz Higgins who implemented “justice pricing” which originally planned to charge cis white men $20 and everyone else $10. After an outcry, he dropped the “privilege price” to $15. He and his colleagues obviously missed the point. The problem was not the price but the discrimination. To make matters worse, Higgins did interviews under a false name, Sid Mohammed, to avoid being attacked for his discriminatory policy.
White supremacist Dylann Roof says that he has something of a problem on his hands: he has court-appointed counsel who happen to be Jewish and Indian. He has asked the court to replace Alexandra Yates and Sapna Mirchandani in his appeal of his death sentence for the massacre of nine people in the Emmanuel AME Church during a Bible study in 2015. Roof appears to believe that the right of counsel includes the right to white counsel. It doesn’t. The court should not be a vehicle for racial or religious discrimination to cater to the wishes of a homicidal fanatic. More importantly, that is the view of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.
We have been discussing how faculty around the country are supporting the abandonment of free speech principles to bar speakers and speech with which they disagree. The most extreme form of this rejection of classical liberal values is the antifa movement. We have seen faculty physically attack speakers or destroy messages that they oppose. We have also seen faculty physically attacked and intimidated. In some of these incidents, other faculty have supported students in shutting down speakers or fellow academics (here and here). The latest example of faculty opposing free speech is a letter of over 200 University of California, Berkeley professors and faculty are calling for the shutdown of classes and activities during “free speech week.” To the dismay of these professors, free speech week will include speakers with whom they disagree. Thus, they have posted a letter that not only seeks a boycott of free speech but have proclaimed that certain speech (in this case speech they do not like) is unworthy of free speech protection. Note the faculty and Ph.D students are calling for a boycott of classes and all campus activities, not just the speeches themselves. Turning off the lights and fleeing the campus at the approach of opposing views hardly fits with the school’s motto of “Fiat Lux” (Let There Be Light).
Below is my column on the decision of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to rescind the highly controversial “Dear Colleague letter” of the Obama Administration. The letter, which made sweeping changes to educational policy, was never put through any notice and comment period under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). At the time, schools and faculty objected to the stripping of basic due process protections from our students. However, politicians are now denouncing those who want to restore due process as soft on sexual abuse.
One of those denouncing DeVos is Texas lawyer and adjunct law professor Rob Ranco who said that he would be fine with DeVos being sexually assaulted. Ranco has now resigned from his law firm, the Carson Law Firm, after apologizing for his public statement. Ranco is reportedly an adjunct professor of paralegal studies at Austin Community College.
I have long criticized the erosion of due process rights on our campuses, particularly the unilateral action taken by the Obama Administration.
Here is the column:
I will be participating in a panel today on the Supreme Court’s October Term 2017 with a stellar panel of experts at George Washington University. This has the makings of a historic term with issues ranging from President Trump’s travel ban to gerrymandering to religious objections to providing services for same-sex weddings. The panel will speak about possible new cases and possible outcomes in existing cases with many leading Supreme Court journalists and lawyers in attendance.
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy restored President Donald Trump’s travel ban after the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ordered the admission of more refugees. With the Court set to hear arguments on the issue (after lifting prior injunctions placed on the Trump order), the decision of the Ninth Circuit seemed at odds with the prior ruling of the Court. The “Administrative Hold” will leave this matter to the Court for October arguments.