May 4, 2021

IF YOU HAVE DIFFERENT RULES FOR SPEECH BY BLACK VS. WHITE STUDENTS, YOU’RE VIOLATING FEDERAL ANTIDISCRIMINATION LAW: Debate Erupts At Rutgers Law School After White Student Quotes Racial Slur In Case Assigned By Professor.

Plus, it’s literally a quote from a case. And you get this:

“At the height of a ‘racial reckoning,’ a responsible adult should know not to use a racial slur regardless of its use in a 1993 opinion,” states the petition, which has been signed by law school students and campus organizations across the country.

A “racial reckoning” as a source of speech rules? I seriously question what, or whether, these people are learning in law school.

Plus: “I can’t imagine a less hospitable setting than a 100-person Zoom call to discuss racism. It’s a demoralizing time for everyone involved.”

It shouldn’t be a conversation. Students should be told that as lawyers they will see and hear upsetting things — much more upsetting things than a quote from a court case — and will be expected to retain their mental sharpness and emotional equilibrium. If they can’t do that, they’re not fit to be lawyers and should find some other profession where people’s lives and liberties don’t depend on their mental toughness.

Related: Randall Kennedy & Eugene Volokh, The New Taboo — Quoting Epithets In The Classroom And Beyond.

UPDATE: A former student emails: “You can’t read legal opinions here! This is a law school!”

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