Monday, December 04, 2006

Dela-who-ty?

Scandal! The law school is all atwitter with the hiring of Robert Delahunty - who, for those of you who don't know, wrote the famed Bush torture memo with John Yoo, stating the President wasn't required to follow the Geneva Convention in the War on Terror. Petitions are everywhere. Petitions on the left denouncing him. And now a petition on the right denouncing the denouncers. To whomever wrote the counter-petition: I'd be more receptive to it if you hadn't written it like a Congressional Resolution.

WHEREAS I really could care less about 1Ls,

AFFIRMING that such lack of concern includes who teaches them Con Law,

ACKNOWLEDGING the crunch of exam time makes me even less concerned about such things generally,

RECOGNIZING I myself was taught by a right-winger conservative who is now a Dean,

I resent any attempt to posture over this issue.

So sign, sign away. I think it would be sort of funny if people started signing with fake signatures, like Mickey Mouse, 1L. I also think, for all the scandal, at least it's nice to have a celebrity at the law school. At least we've got something to draw some national attention here. Lately I've been wishing I went to Michigan, because it seems like nobody is particularly impressed by Minnesota Law School...in the layman's world, at least. Some high-profile faculty might help change that.

I could go either way on the Delahunty issue. On the one hand, I thought as high-minded intellectuals we were supposed to have respect for the opposing viewpoint. In fact, it seems to me Delahunty and Yoo were doing exactly what we're all taught to do as lawyers: argue the side most effective to our client. Lisa Simpson says: You can't create a monster and then whine when he stomps on a few buildings.

On the other hand, one of the things I've been pissed about with the legal profession is that they don't seem to take it seriously. They treat it as interesting theoretical problems instead of decisions that have serious and direct impacts on other people's lives. The torture memo is perhaps one such example.

Mostly, though, I'm just keeping my head down till May. I just gotta get outta this prison cell, one day I'm gonna be free.

4 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Though I am not usually a signer of petitions, I did sign the one against Delhunty.

I did not expect it to change the Deans' collective opinion, nor did I anticipate the letter from "The 9". That was a rather strong statement I hadn't anticipated.

I signed to express my disapproval with actions taken in the past, not to "silence" Delahunty.

He is still on the faculty at St. Thomas, and he may publish academic articles to his heart's content. I accept that he will probably teach at the U this spring.

Delahunty's right to academic freedom, however, does not compel me to admire his work, nor does it prevent me from questioning his competence and diligence in drafting non-academic memos to the President.

Part of encouraging the "robust exchange of ideas" means taking the heat for your printed work, especially when your work potentially facilitates crimes like those committed at Abu Ghraib. The situation and the memo merit scrutiny.

Law Revue said:
"...one of the things I've been pissed about with the legal profession is that they don't seem to take it seriously. They treat it as interesting theoretical problems instead of decisions that have serious and direct impacts on other people's lives. The torture memo is perhaps one such example."

I agree wholeheartedly that some legal scholars are far too glib about matters of great importance. I cannot ignore the horrible real-life consequences of Delahunty's memo.

"Thou shalt not be a victim. Thou shalt not be a perpetrator. Above all, thou shalt not be a bystander."
--Holocaust Museum, Washington, DC

11:55 PM  
Anonymous Mike said...

As long as they keep the free coffee and pastries coming, they can hire whomever they like. But seriously, I don't think it would be fair to judge someone's worth as a professor by the work they've done in the past. It's not giving much credit to 1L's to think they're all going to be brainwashed into thinking torture is okay just because their prof. wrote a memo once.

7:46 AM  
Anonymous Mike said...

I think the most important question is whether he is a good professor or not. I'd rather have a high-quality professor who has published things I don't agree with than a less effective professor whose politics I do agree with.

12:10 PM  
Anonymous Nick said...

Mike misses the point. It isn't a matter of publishing, its a matter of implementing policy dressed up as law. To fail to recognize that difference is to fail to appreciate the issue entirely.

4:50 PM  

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