« Spyware PSA: "SpyAxe" | Main | Conflicted on Narnia »

Do Law Schools Really Think Their Students Don't Believe Them That Credulous?

The oral arguments in FAIR v. Rumsfeld (RealMedia) make entertaining listening. The case has that make-believe feel one often gets in such civil rights cases, where everyone knows that the real argument is about the legitimacy of dont ask/don't tell, and yet we're tinkering about with issues that exist only in a hypothetical imagination, belief in which is necessary to get within the case law. Todd Zywicki has already excerpted one bit from the New York Times that neatly drifts into magical thinking:

The lawyer adjusted his focus. The law schools have their own message, "that they believe it is immoral to abet discrimination," he said.

This time, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor took issue. "But they can say that to every student who enters the room," she said.

"And when they do it, your honor, the answer of the students is, we don't believe you," Mr. Rosenkranz said.

"The reason they don't believe you is because you're willing to take the money," Chief Justice Roberts interjected. "What you're saying is this is a message we believe in strongly, but we don't believe in it to the detriment of $100 million."


(emphasis added) It's nice to see that Chief Justice Roberts has such a humorous touch, and he's got a point. Like the old joke about Shaw and the lady's virtue, the FAIR case shows what passes for principle in higher education.

Nevertheless, I'm a bit annoyed at the law school coalition for ascribing such phenomenal ignorance and credulity to their students in front of the highest court in the land. Key to the Chief Justice's rejoinder is an acceptance of the dream that students don't believe law schools are opposed to the Amendment or find compliance immoral. While this blog has been running, I've received numerous and lengthy emails from the administration explaining the position on the Amendment. When I logged on to register for employer interviews each year, a special notice was attached to the military recruiters, one year in red lettering. They haven't forced students who interview with JAG to wear a scarlet B yet, but it doesn't seem out of the question.[1] If there is a law student at Columbia that believes that the school supports the Amendment, or that it is doing anything but going along because it's being strongarmed. . . . well, let's just say I'd wonder whether that was an honest belief, or mere posturing because it makes one's case before the Court seem stronger.

Justice O'Connor, if it sets your mind at rest, we got the memo.

(UPDATE: I think my use of "credulous" in the title is a bit confusing and ambiguous. I meant to wonder whether law schools thought students would actually buy that they feel we don't believe them. But as the pronoun confusion in the last sentence indicates, the thought there is a bit twisted. On reflection, the title "Do Law Schools Really Think Their Students Don't Believe Them" would be better.)

[1]: Actually, what letter would the school choose? You wouldn't want to use H (for homophobe) for obvious reasons. I figure B for bigot, but I'm sure someone will come up with something more ingenious.

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.threeyearsofhell.com/cgi-user/mt/mtPleaseLinktoMe.cgi/2927

Comments

It doesn't demonstrate that higher education has illusory principles. That's a straw man argument. It demonstrates how powerful a tool federal funding can be. Without federal funding, many universities would not be able to attract the best professors and researchers. $100M is nothing to scoff at, and the framers of the Solomon Amendment knew that. Standing on principle is one thing. Standing on it to the point where an entire university - most of it unrelated and untouched by military recruiting - is damaged by the lack of funds is something altogether different.
Adam: I didn't say that the law schools principles are illusory, any more than G. B. Shaw said the virtue of the lady was illusory. What I said was that the principle had a value, and we had now determined what the value was. Certainly $100 million isn't pocket change, but then if one considers this behavior immoral, it's certainly not beyond the pale to wonder why universities like Yale or Harvard don't give back the King's shilling. New Haven is hardly going to become a ghost town without it.

Post a comment

NOTICE TO SPAMMERS, COMMENT ROBOTS, TRACKBACK SPAMMERS AND OTHER NON-HUMAN VISITORS: No comment or trackback left via a robot is ever welcome at Three Years of Hell. Your interference imposes significant costs upon me and my legitimate users. The owner, user or affiliate who advertises using non-human visitors and leaves a comment or trackback on this site therefore agrees to the following: (a) they will pay fifty cents (US$0.50) to Anthony Rickey (hereinafter, the "Host") for every spam trackback or comment processed through any blogs hosted on threeyearsofhell.com, morgrave.com or housevirgo.com, irrespective of whether that comment or trackback is actually posted on the publicly-accessible site, such fees to cover Host's costs of hosting and bandwidth, time in tending to your comment or trackback and costs of enforcement; (b) if such comment or trackback is published on the publicly-accessible site, an additional fee of one dollar (US$1.00) per day per URL included in the comment or trackback for every day the comment or trackback remains publicly available, such fee to represent the value of publicity and search-engine placement advantages.

Giving The Devil His Due

Choose Stylesheet

What I'm Reading

cover
D.C. Noir

My city. But darker.
cover
A Clockwork Orange

About time I read this...


Shopping

Projects I've Been Involved With

A Round-the-World Travel Blog: Devil May Care (A new round-the-world travel blog, co-written with my wife)
Parents for Inclusive Education (From my Clinic)

Syndicated from other sites

The Columbia Continuum
Other Blogs by CLS students

De Novo
Theory and Practice
Liberal Federalism?
Good News, No Foolin'


Althouse
Nancy Pelosi covers her head and visits the head of John the Baptist.
Vlogging in from Austin.
Omikase/"American Idol"


Jeremy Blachman's Weblog: 2007
Happy Passover
Looking for Advice re: LA
Google Books


Stay of Execution
What I've Learned From This Blog, or My Yellow Underpants
The End
Mid Thirties


Legal Theory Blog
Program Announcement: Summer Programs on the Constitution at George Washington
Book Announement: Political Foundations of Judicial Supremacy by Whittington
Entry Level Hiring Report


The Volokh Conspiracy
Making the Daily Show:
Civil unions pass New Hampshire House:
Profile of Yale Law Dean Harold Koh:


Crescat Sententia
Hillary II
Hillary
Politics and Principal/Agents


Law Dork
Election Approaches
Following Lewis
New Jersey High Court: 'Same Rights and Benefits'


IrishLaw
Homecoming
Surveying the revival
Birds of paradise


Half the Sins of Mankind
Cheney Has Spoken Religious conservatives who may ...
Does Ahmadinejad Know Christianity Better Than MSN...
Borders as Genocide In discussions of climate chan...


pf.org
Progress
For lovers of garden gnomes...and any China-freaks out there
We Interrupt Your Regularly Scheduled Programming


Ideoblog
Does SOX explain the flight from NY?
More Litvak on SOX effect on cross-listed firms
What did the market learn from internal controls reporting?


The Yin Blog
Iowa City = Riyadh
Jeffrey Rosen's "The Supreme Court"
Geek alert -- who would win between Battlestar Galactica and the U.S.S. Enterprise?


Letters of Marque
Graduation
And there we are
Oil!


BuffaloWings&Vodka
Signing Off


Dark Bilious Vapors
Jim (The Waco Kid): Where you headed, cowboy?
Bart: Nowhere special.
Jim: Nowhere special. I always wanted to go there.
Bart: Come on.
--"Blazing Saddles"

Technical Difficulties... please stand by....
The Onion should have gotten a patent first....


Legal Ethics Forum
Interesting new Expert DQ case
Decency, Due Care, and The Yoo-Delahunty Memorandum
Thinking About the Fired U.S. Attorneys


Ex Post
Student Symposium- Chicago!
More Hmong - Now at Law School
Good Samaritan Laws: Good For America?


Appellate Law & Practice
Those turned over documents
CA1: courts can’t help people acquitted of crimes purge the taint of acquitted conduct
CA1: restrictions on chain liquor stores in Rhode Island are STILL okay


the imbroglio
High schoolers turn in plagiarism screeners for copyright infringement
talisman
Paris to offer 20,600 bikes at 1,450 stations to rent by the end of the year


The Republic of T.
The Secret of the Snack Attack
links for 2007-04-04
Where You Link is What You Get

Distractions for stressed law students

The Other Side: Twisted AnimationsSomething Positive, a truly good webcomic

Syndicate This Site

Sitemeter

Technologies


Stop Spam Harvesters, Join Project Honey Pot