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November 19, 2002

UNCLEAR ON THE CONCEPT: The Stanford Daily says that Stanford Law School Dean Kathleen Sullivan was wrong to deny the title of "Mentor" to terror-sympathizing (and, according to charges she currently faces, terror-assisting) attorney Lynne Stewart:

Stanford’s professors have a range of political views, and the University rightfully allows them to express their views. Stanford even has professors who support the possible war in Iraq, which can be argued endorses the “use of directed violence to achieve social change.” Would Sullivan deny those professors from teaching because of their political beliefs?

("deny those professors from teaching"? This is an elite school's newspaper?) Eugene Volokh has already addressed this issue here and here:

People have a constitutional right to support violence against American institutions and American people (just like they have a constitutional right to support the moral propriety of, say, violence against abortion clinics and abortion providers). But Stanford ought not be honoring them, or appointing them as mentors to law students, who will soon be officers of the court, pledged to nonviolent solutions to supposed domestic problems.

As Volokh points out, there's a pretty significant distinction between "right to speak" and "right to mentor." I wonder if the Stanford Daily will encourage the Law School to bring in some lawyers who support the murder of abortionists, or the reinstitution of slavery for black people, as evidence of its support for free speech? Or maybe they'll even support allowing military recruiters on campus, as evidence of support for a "right to recruit?"

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