Law Professor Responds To Supreme Court Leak With Racist Commentary – Is This Justice?
September 24, 2022
No, this isn’t a joke or clickbait article… Law Professor Ann Althouse has made some inflammatory comments on her website, and here’s what she said:
That hideous screeching you hear in the background is Justice Ginsburg having another one of her patented Irritable Bowel Attacks. Will he kill all the [blacks]?
the creature moaned after President Trump nominated Brett Kavanaugh to replace Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court. And get away with it?
About the news story
In an opinion piece on the front page of Tuesday’s New York Times, law professor Anthony E. Dick suggested that black-robed rulers in Washington should be more careful before they leak to their underlings.
The leaked memo is a draft of an opinion that the justices are considering, which addresses whether the president has unilateral power to determine who is and who is not a lawful enemy combatant, i.e.,
whether President Bush was justified in dubbing some prisoners at Guantanamo Bay as enemy combatants.
However, rather than focus on this issue or take up any argument about one side or another with substantive arguments for his position, Dick’s piece primarily addresses why he finds it regrettable that leaked information from the judicial branch has found its way into public discourse. He complains about how
The best part of this ridiculous story
Hennessey makes it clear that he’s happy to have an opinion on everything. He respectfully disagrees with everyone.
He loudly proclaims the superiority of his profession and belittles other people’s jobs while simultaneously asking for their help. The cherry on top of his jumble is when he dismisses anything that might contradict his opinions as illegitimate because no one cares about it as much as he does.
The worst part of this ridiculous story
This law professor’s argument for why some racial groups are less intelligent than others is a complete fallacy.
But to take it one step further and base it on law school admission data from 1985-2012 is just ignorant of the current racial demographics in our country. Since 1985, there has been a decline in black students who attend top schools which corresponds with an increase in Asians/Pacific Islanders and whites. As of 2008,
Hispanics makeup 20% of the population at these schools but only account for 5% of the student body. In contrast, white people make up 61% of the population at these institutions but makeup 65% of those admitted. That’s right–the race that makes up most of those admissions is underrepresented relative to their population percentage.
A broader perspective on law schools
Lately, law schools have been a hot topic for scrutiny. Law school student loan debt has been making headlines, along with the struggles of recent grads to get jobs and pay off their loans.
With tuition at over $200,000, graduates are taking out long-term loans to become lawyers. As a result, they may never be able to make enough money to repay their debt.
In response to these and other concerns, some law professors have expressed negative reactions to the publicity on the subject of law school and legal education in general.
Why does this matter?
It matters because racial discrimination of any kind, especially that of law enforcement, should not be tolerated in society. Black people make up only 14% of this country’s population, but they are 23% of those who die at the hands of law enforcement officers.
African Americans also make up 39% of those in local jails; even though they are only 13% of the overall population. The high death rate and disproportionate number in jails are not an anomaly either; it has been going on for centuries.
There have been countless protests throughout America by African Americans against what many see as a lack of justice for their ethnicity or race at the hands of police officers or other officials enforcing our laws and policies.
What was considered racist about the comments in question?
The opinion is written in a style that sounds like an intoxicated soccer hooligan explaining to his friends how they could avoid the cops.
The essay’s poorly organized, sometimes slurring diction owes more to dudebro than Strunk and White.
One striking passage has Scalia musing that the 14th Amendment, which guarantees citizenship for all people born on U.S. soil, means pretty much never. The implication: Latinos should be happy with what scraps of dignity we allow them.
A broader perspective on racism
Racism is alive and well in America, and it shows up in our streets, schools, workplaces, courtrooms, and even classrooms. Whether a consequence of feelings of powerlessness or unacknowledged bias, racism lives on as an obstacle for people of color in their everyday lives.
Unconscious bias influences many of the most important decisions that shape our world–unconscious racial biases have been shown to have an impact on employment decisions that range from whom we choose to interview to who we decide should be the CEO. We might think that judges are immune from these pressures; they are not.
What are some responses to the tweet from various members of the legal community?
My reaction when I saw the tweet: was anger. And disgust. But more than anything, frustration. And sadness. That my profession can’t even produce one single professor with enough grace to avoid an overt display of racism- even if it’s through text- what does that say about where we are now?
Where we are going as a profession and as a country in general? It is, quite frankly, sickening to think about what our future may hold for minorities like myself under President Trump who has made it no secret that he intends to appoint only judges of a certain mindset.
What do you think about all this controversy?
This has to be one of the worst breaches of the protocol we’ve seen in a while. It’s clear that this professor was caught off guard, but what she said is inexcusable, and she owes everyone an apology. I find it very interesting that someone can be called out for something so egregious in such a public way,
but still have defenders. What does that say about our society and our values? For example, there are still people who believe racism isn’t a problem anymore.
The fact that this law professor feels as though she could get away with her comment just speaks to how normalized racism has become since the election, which is just awful.
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