The onslaught of far-left progressivism has shaken the foundation of American law schools to the point where it's impacting the ability for teachers to do their job. Moreover, recent statements and actions by courtroom judges indicate that this leftist ideology is leaking out into their body of work.
At a classroom level, the cultural shift change means that professors fear discussion about cases where police officers are found not guilty of misconduct, or cases where those accused of sexual violence are acquitted.
Aaron Sibarium of the Free Beacon outlines how this activist radicalization of teaching about the law has happened in a guest spot for the Bari Weiss Substack.
"I massively self-censor. I assume that every single thing that is said, every facial gesture, is going to be recorded and potentially disseminated to the entire world. I feel as if I am operating in a panopticon," confessed ACLU head Nadine Strossen.
He opens up by saying free speech culture is relevant for lawyers to defend more notorious people like Harvey Weinstein. But the case of acquitted teen Kyle Rittenhouse is also brought up as relevant to their discussion.
The idea being that the aspect of neutrality is a key feature of the foundation of law in American society. Whether or not someone is guilty of crimes used to be interpreted as separate from both the rights of the accused, legally, as well as separate from the career of whatever lawyer defends them.
What Sibarium brings forward in his discussion is that the leftist "guilt by association" habit has extended itself into the legal world.
He quotes a legal scholar at Northwestern University who is concerned about this vector of political poison. "People will ask: ‘How can you represent someone who’s guilty?’ The answer is that a society where accused people don’t get a defense as a matter of course is a society you don’t want to live in. It’s a totalitarian nightmare," according to prominent liberal scholar of constitutional law Andrew Koppelman.
Sibarium notes how liberals were written off and didn't seem to have the upper hand until 2020 when the George Floyd riots radically altered the societal landscape. What was once seen as a fringe element at select universities across America sprung up into the mainstream eye as the likes of corporate advertisers jumped on board.
A core tenant of critical race theory attacks the societal definition of neutrality because it was made under American institutions that were "racist" at their founding. As Sibarium explains, under CRT ideology, they believe the only rectification for that is to "tip the scales in favor of those who never had a fair shake to start with."
It's under this notion that places like Boston College Law School, Georgetown Law School, and University of Southern California Gould School of Law, among others, have enacted requirements where students must take classes about how the "law’s neutrality" negatively impacts minorities.
As of last month, according to the Free Beacon, the American Bar Association voted in favor of a new standard where law schools must "provide education to law students on bias, cross-cultural competency, and racism."
Sibarium lists examples that back up his article's central thesis about how critical race theory doctrine is enforced by widespread social fear:
- Boston College Law School: A student told Sibarium that a constitutional law professor asked students, "Who does not think we should scrap the constitution?" and nobody raised their hand in the class.
- Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law: When the school's Federalist Society invited Josh Hammer to speak in October 2021, the online listserv discussion group for the student body made explicit remarks and veiled threats about Hammer's "psychosexual" preferences.
- University of Illinois Chicago: a law professor had his classes canceled and livelihood threatened after his exam question prompt included a bleeped out reference to the n-word in a hypothetical situation.
- Yale Law School: A civil liberties "bipartisan" panel discussion hosted by the school's Federalist Society had "more than 100 law students" disrupt the event. They verbally insulted the moderator who told the activists to "grow up," and the group later got other members of the school to support their cause and condemn the Federalist Society for having "profoundly undermined our community's values of equity and inclusivity."
The further general social malaise in places like Harvard, Georgetown, and other prominent law schools is that the current politically polarized landscape is suppressing anyone "outspoken" against the popular narrative.
Other reported cases in the past have included the Nashville Bar Association demanding critical race theory training and Rutgers Law School removing a policy that tied student group funding from the Student Bar Association with mandated events that prompted critical race theory.
Sibarium explains how this social dynamic can be explained with how politically-aligned school administrators help reinforce this social justice narrative, and how in cases like Yale, there's more admins than professors on staff.
Sibarium goes into length about how it impacted judges carrying out the law itself. He quotes how Judge Shannon Frison of the Massachusetts Superior Court vowed not to be "silent or complicit again, in any courtroom or any context," essentially promising to bring politics into her work.
The judge in the case of Black Lives Matter rioter Montez Terriel Lee, who in 2020 burned down the Minneapolis pawn shop during the George Floyd riots, and ended up killing a father of five whose body was later discovered in the rubble, bought into the defense's argument that Lee was not "a rioter but a protester."
She ended up reducing the sentence for the defendant to only 10 years when he could've faced upwards of 20, per federal guidelines.
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