Because Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was a graduate of Georgetown University's School of Law and a frequent guest speaker ever since, a memorial announcement was issued upon his death to mourn the prominent alumnus and to celebrate his legacy. However, two of the school's law professors were less than thrilled over what it said and sparked a fiery condemnation in response.
Here is what Georgetown Dean William M. Treanor had to say about his friend:
Scalia was a giant in the history of the law, a brilliant jurist whose opinions and scholarship profoundly transformed the law. Like countless academics, I learned a great deal from his opinions and his scholarship. In the history of the Court, few Justices have had such influence on the way in which the law is understood. On a personal level, I am deeply grateful for his remarkably generous involvement with our community, including his frequent appearances in classes and his memorable lecture to our first year students this past November...
He cared passionately about the profession, about the law and about the future, and the students who were fortunate enough to hear him will never forget the experience. We will all miss him.
Ultra-liberal Professor Mike Seidman wholeheartedly decried this tribute in an e-mail to faculty but somehow decided it wise to restrain his full ire for the moment, citing that the "norms of civility preclude criticizing public figures immediately after their death." How nice! But to really get to the heart of what Seidman is all about, one need only to be reminded that this guy has never really been fond of dead white guys. In 2013, he declared that it was time to "give up on the Constitution" because "a bunch of folks who've been dead for over 200 years [shouldn't be] telling us what kind of country we have. We have a right to decide that for ourselves."
Proving to have less of a hold on his tongue was another liberal professor, Gary Peller, who decided that two days was enough time to wait before lowering his gavel on the whole ordeal:
I am not suggesting that J. Scalia should have been criticized on the day of his death, nor that the "community" should not be thankful for his willingness to meet with our students. But he was not a legal figure to be lionized or emulated by our students. He bullied lawyers, trafficked in personal humiliation of advocates, and openly sided with the party of intolerance in the "culture wars" he often invoked. In my mind, he was not a "giant" in any good sense.
I imagine many other faculty, students and staff, particularly people of color, women and sexual minorities, cringed at headline and at the unmitigated praise with which the press release described a jurist that many of us believe was a defender of privilege, oppression and bigotry, one whose intellectual positions were not brilliant but simplistic and formalistic.
Other professors and students felt the same way as Peller and said similar things throughout the e-mail debate that had ensued.
In response, The Black Law Students Association at Georgetown entered their voice into the mix, writing an open letter that expressed the group's anger at conservatives stating, "While we support an individual student’s choice to mourn, it must also be acknowledged that Justice Scalia’s legacy affects us in vastly different ways.”
"As a result, some of the viewpoints expressed in the email exchange were disheartening for many in our membership," the letter continued.
One e-mail response in particular that bothered the black student association was from a professor who admired Scalia. He wrote that Republican students felt "traumatized, hurt, shaken, and angry" that they now have to attend Professor Peller's class knowing his contempt for Scalia. Yet, they felt it necessary to inform everyone how they had fallen victim to these emotions way before now:
Many Black students were also “traumatized, hurt, shaken, and angry” as “22-year-old 1Ls” [first-year law students] when the law school declined to make unprompted timely statements last school year regarding the uptick in racialized policing, law enforcement, and the lack of indictments of violent police officers.
Many Black students were also “traumatized, hurt, shaken, and angry,” when fact patterns on a practice exam directly referenced the facts of the Trayvon Martin tragedy.
Many Black students are also “traumatized, hurt, shaken, and angry” every time a classroom micro-aggression, from a professor or student, is dismissed until it escalates into something more systemic.
Many Black students are also “traumatized, hurt, shaken, and angry” as real progress on institutional anti-racism and administrative equity and inclusion is constantly delayed.
The association also said that black students are "shaken and angry" at Scalia's own words in the months before his death, when he commented on the success of African-American students at "slower-track school[s]."
And so their letter ended with this promise: "We will study longer. We will fight harder. We will earn our degrees. We will use the law to fight for progress—to become the next litigator, congressperson, judge or U.S. Supreme Court Justice."
H/T Epoch Times