It is sad what 27 years as a U.S. attorney does for one’s command of English. Hobbit. Spud. And now “terrorize.”
And that isn’t the only “T” word Letten has trouble understanding. Flanked by some scary looking security personnel, he also accused O’Keefe of “trespassing” at Tulane. But, as O’Keefe pointed out, the Supreme Court has affirmed the right of the general public to walk on the grounds of a university even if they have no connection with the university. (Letten accused O’Keefe of many things: violating federal law, violating state law, and, crime of crimes, “harassing a former U.S. attorney.”)
Now I understand that the devolution from U.S. attorney to assistant dean at a second rate (or even a first rate) university is a steep step down. Yesterday, Jim Letten could intimidate the public with impunity, indeed, with the added emolument of media plaudits. Today he is assistant dean for experiential learning, whatever that is, at Tulane’s law school. A certain amount of bitterness is understandable. But take a look at the video below and ask yourself two things.
First, does Jim Letten’s behavior live up to Tulane’s official policy requiring “All individuals and/or groups of the Tulane University community” to speak and act “with scrupulous respect for the human dignity of others, both within the classroom and outside it, in social and recreational as well as academic activities”? Take a look at the video. What do you think? Did the assistant dean of experiential learning at Tulane University Law School act “with scrupulous respect for the human dignity” of James O’Keefe?
Second, what do you think of the police power Jim Letten brought in his wake? I know, I know, for 27 years he’d been used to wielding the coercive power of the state. He could scream at people with impunity. One of his deputies once shoved a defense attorney after losing an argument in the judge’s chambers. And now here is Jim Letten, the assistant dean of experiential learning, confronting a man he had once begun to prosecute. Naturally he surrounds himself with security officers. Of course he insults and intimidates people he disagrees with. That’s the new college way: free speech for me, but not for thee, and if you don’t like it, talk to this armed security guard right over here. “The University encourages the free exchange of ideas and opinions,” says Tulane’s official memorandum, “but insists that the free expression of views must be made with respect for the human dignity and freedom of others.” Is that how Jim Letten acted? Watch the video and make up your own mind.