Author Archives: SHG

The “Real” Problem At Yale

Avoiding the compulsion to make a cheap pun out of the word “Sillimanders,” the name given the residents of Silliman College at Yale university, a post by senior Aaron Z. Lewis tries to clear up the misunderstanding reflected by outsiders, like me.

By now, you’ve probably seen the video of a Yale student yelling at a professor, the Facebook post about a “white girls only” party, or the email about offensive Halloween costumes. Unfortunately, the short YouTube clips and articles I’ve seen don’t even come close to painting an accurate picture of what’s happening at Yale. I’m a senior here, and I’ve experienced the controversy firsthand over the past week (and years). I want to tell a more complete story and set a few facts straight.

For starters: the protests are not really about Halloween costumes or a frat party. They’re about a mismatch between the Yale we find in admissions brochures and the Yale we experience every day. They’re about real experiences with racism on this campus that have gone unacknowledged for far too long. The university sells itself as a welcoming and inclusive place for people of all backgrounds. Unfortunately, it often isn’t.

It’s good that Lewis wants to tell a more complete story. I want to learn a more complete story. It appears that the “complete story” is that Yale is a hotbed of racism and its administration didn’t admit its failing fast enough. Continue reading

Reinventing Boys

Jane McManus, an ESPN reporter, wrote about how her middle school daughter was less-than-enthusiastically received by a boy when she chose to learn football at school.

My daughter got off the school bus and came straight to find me in the office upstairs. In gym class, her teacher, Ms. Rivie, asked the students to pick which sport they wanted to learn: football or soccer. She picked football, and persuaded two of the girls in her sixth-grade class to join her.

“That’s great, Charlotte!”

Why “that’s great” isn’t clear, and isn’t given any further thought.  McManus’ daughter was given two options and picked one. Wasn’t that the point of options?  Perhaps no girl had ever chosen football before, which made it “great.” Perhaps it reflected a choice that finally broke away from gender stereotypes, and Ms. Rivie was thrilled to finally have a girl take the football route. If so, it’s unsaid.

But I could see by the look on her face that what happened next was not good. One of the boys said that girls couldn’t play football, then made a “Real Housewives” comment about the trio and laughed.

“It’s not OK,” she said.

Continue reading

Bazelon’s Apology

What to do when an otherwise credible legal journalist lets her emotions and gender politics blind her to the facts? Emily Bazelon’s answer is to acknowledge her mistake.

Last February, I wrote a long article for this magazine about the relationship between Ellie Clougherty, a recent Stanford graduate, and Joe Lonsdale, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur and alumnus of the school.

Lonsdale was Clougherty’s mentor. They had a sexual relationship. Guess what happened next?

After the relationship ended, Clougherty accused Lonsdale of sexual assault.

Continue reading

The Murderer’s Two Hats

When Western District of Texas Judge Earl Leroy Yeakel III ruled, heads began to explode all over the place.

U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel dropped manslaughter charges against former Austin Police Department Detective Charles “Trey” Kleinert Thursday afternoon, thus ending any chance that the APD veteran will see any sort of criminal recourse for the death of Larry Jackson, Jr.

He didn’t, of course, “drop” anything, but then, it’s not like journalists work with words, so the Austin Chronicle’s Chase Hoffenberger can be forgiven his inept phrasing. Rather, Yeakel held that the Constitution precluded state prosecution of a federal agent for the performance of his duties:

In a 27-page opinion, Judge Yeakel concluded that the state’s assertion that Kleinert should not be entitled to Supremacy Clause immunity because Kleinert’s interactions were not within his federal-task-force duties is not concurrent with the law, and that “by virtue of Kleinert’s deputation, he was authorized to investigate federal crimes committed in his presence. Continue reading

Prove It: Citing To Oneself

At Volokh Conspiracy, Eugene quotes from the decision of Maryland District Court Judge Thomas Selby Ellis III in Wikimedia Foundation v. N.S.A.:

The amici curiae in this case argue that standing can be established on the ground that the alleged government surveillance chills speech protected by the First Amendment. See Br. of Amici Curiae American Booksellers Association, et al., at 12-17; Br. of Amici Curiae First Amendment Scholars, at 9-19. As with plaintiffs’ argument, the amici curiae’s argument fails for the reasons articulated in Clapper. 133 S. Ct. at 1150-52. Both amicus briefs, which focus chiefly on the chilling argument, have been carefully reviewed and found unpersuasive.

It is also worth noting that the only other nine individuals who cite their own works as frequently as do the nine authors of the First Amendment Scholars amicus brief are members of the Supreme Court, who, unlike the amici, do so out of sheer necessity.

Ouch. That had to hurt.  And from this, Eugene draws a lesson that he shares with other academics: Continue reading

The Email That Made Yale Students Cry

There are full posts at The Fire by Haley Hudler and Reason by Robby Soave, and they say what needs to be said about the very angry, very fragile, students at the very elite Yale University.

What was Christakis’s crime? His wife, an early childhood educator, had responded to a campus-wide email about offensive Halloween costumes by opining that it was inappropriate for the college to tell students how to dress. According to The Washington Post:

“Whose business is it to control the forms of costumes of young people? It’s not mine, I know that,” wrote Erika Christakis, an early childhood educator and the wife of Nicholas Christakis, the Silliman College master. Both later took to social media to defend the e-mail, incensing students by tying it to debates about free speech and trigger warnings. At a Wednesday night forum hosted by the Afro-American Cultural Center, Erika Christakis sought to leave the meeting during a discussion of her e-mail, further provoking student anger. …

And it’s already been made abundantly clear how critical Halloween costumes are to the safety of society.  If you don’t yet appreciate it, consider the harm:

I have had to watch my friends defend their right to this institution. This email and the subsequent reaction to it have interrupted their lives. I have friends who are not going to class, who are not doing their homework, who are losing sleep, who are skipping meals, and who are having breakdowns. I feel drained. And through it all, Christakis has shown that he does not consider us a priority.

Continue reading

Jeanine Pirro, Trapped In Her $5 Million Gutter

For those possessed of wealth and class, one of the things one never does is put price tags on one’s possessions. It is, to be blunt, low class. It’s gauche. So naturally, it’s exactly where Pirro goes:


How impressive. Most people wouldn’t get to live in a $5 million home after their husbands go to prison, but Pirro is special. And she’s not shy about saying so, though most people don’t call the maid’s room in the basement a “guest wing.”

Pirro1 Continue reading

NY District Attorney Cy Vance: And The Rich Get Richer

The $808 million could have been used to provide restitution to the victims. Nope, not happening.  Or this windfall could have been used for the perpetually underfunded public defenders, who beg for scraps. But instead, Cy Vance has grander plans for this slush fund.

District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. announced that he was giving grants to agencies across the country to test piles of rape kits that had been collecting dust in police storage. He pledged millions to start an international center to monitor cyberattacks and has provided seed money for a new institute at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice devoted to educating the nation’s 2,700 prosecutors.

At a time when most city and state agencies are struggling with budget constraints, Mr. Vance has secured a windfall of $808 million from criminal penalties against three international banks accused of violating United States sanctions — HSBC, Standard Chartered and BNP Paribas.

It’s good to be the district attorney in Manhattan. It always has been, with Wall Street just a few blocks south. Throw a scare at a bank and they throw money back to get you to leave them alone. Then poof, you’re a philanthropist.  Not just any philanthropist, but the godfather of law enforcement. Continue reading

Randazza Wrestled With A Pig (And This Time, The Pig Won)

There’s an adage, attributed to George Bernard Shaw.

I learned long ago, never to wrestle with a pig. You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it.

Shaw wasn’t a lawyer.  Lawyers don’t always have the option not to wrestle with pigs, as even pigs are entitled to representation.  That doesn’t mean the adage doesn’t hold true.

Marc Randazza* was never one of those guys who talked tough on the internet but was a meek, timid, moderated guy in real life.  What you saw online was what he was in person, in his practice, in his dealing with Excelsior, Liberty Media, and Jason Gibson, the guy in charge of the gay video production company for which Randazza served as general counsel. Continue reading

Acquitted: Mearkle’s Fear Was All It Took

It started with an expired inspection sticker. It ended in the acquittal of Hummelstown police Officer Lisa Mearkle.  In the middle, two things happened. David Kassick tried to flee from Mearkle, and Mearkle decided she was so afraid for her life that she fired two bullets into Kassick, lying prone on the ground, killing him.

Unlike so many cop killings, Mearkle was indicted and tried.  There was no dog and pony show in the pre-indictment stage to justify why the prosecutors tried their best, but the grand jury did its duty of protecting the defendant from wrongful charges.  She took the stand in her own defense and laid her heart out on the jury box rail.

Repeatedly, she stressed that she fired her pistol twice only because she was convinced that Kassick was reaching inside his jacket for a weapon.

“There was no reason for him to reach into his frigging jacket!” she yelled.

“You knew this was being recorded?” Perry asked.

“I wanted it recorded,” Mearkle replied. Continue reading

Schools Have Rules: But No Hugs. Oh, No, Not Hugs

In the world of warm and fuzzy words, the policy at Jackson Heights Middle School would seem to be, well, perfect.

Inappropriate or Obscene Act – the use of oral or written language, electronic messages, pictures, objects, gestures, or engaging in unwelcome or inappropriate touching, or any other physical act that is considered to be offensive, socially unacceptable, or not suitable for an educational setting.

And that’s just one of a lengthy compendium of policies, from anti-bullying to zero tolerance, that makes the school special. But it’s the one that nailed 8th grade 14-year-old Ella Fishbough, whose conduct has fractured order at school with her PDA (that’s public display of affection, not the handheld shiny thing. No, not that handheld shiny thing).

The cheerful, curly-haired eighth-grader’s undoing came when she learned that a male friend was having a bad day. As consolation, Ella put her arms around him in a hug.

“It was literally for a second,” the eighth-grader told Click Orlando. But that moment earned her a morning in detention — as well as a blemish on her formerly spotless disciplinary record.

Continue reading

“Love Your Lawyer Day”? Earn It

The National Law Journal says this Friday is “Love Your Lawyer Day.”

The ABA Law Practice Division and a group called the American Lawyers Public Image Association, founded and promoted by a Florida lawyer named Nader Anise, plan to celebrate “Love Your Lawyer Day” this Friday.

Nader Anise founded it? Seems legit.  Apparently, this is now supposed to serve as a retort to lawyer jokes, because they make lawyers sad.
Here’s a joke. What do mold, ooze, pond scum and lawyers have in common?

Before you answer, “They’re all slime,” humorist Malcolm Kushner implores you to reconsider.

Continue reading