Princeton Goes For The Title IX Jug Handle

As was clear to Southern District of New York Judge John Koetl, there was nothing about the new Title IX rules to justify a delay in their imposition. So Princeton’s decision to change its procedures to comply with the new rules on August 3d might seem like a wise choice.

During an Aug. 3 webinar open to the University community, the Council of the Princeton University Community (CPUC) voted to approve a revised Title IX policy to comply with federal guidance — as well as a separate “University Sexual Misconduct policy” addressing incidents outside of Title IX’s recently-narrowed scope.

But Princeton took it a step further, and in a somewhat different direction. Continue reading

Seaton: The Drew Dilemma

This week Federal agents arrested American Ninja Warrior star Drew Dreschel. Charges against Drew range from “manufacture of child pornography” to “travel with the intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct with a minor.” According to TMZ, Dreschel will be held without bail until his trial in New Jersey as a judge found him to be a flight risk and danger to the community.

Drew is well known in the Parkour/Freerunning world in addition to his appearances on NBC’s famous obstacle course competition show. I’ve trained with Drew on a couple of occasions. At the time TMZ broke the story, I made a rather bland social media statement. Continue reading

Short Take: Can The NYPD Be This Stupid? Yes

Helicopters in the air. Dogs in the hallway. RMPs everywhere and tons of cops. A mass murderer? Terrorists? Nope. Shit for brains, as nothing else explains the incomprehensible excesses to arrest a 28-year-old protest leader for talking with his megaphone near the ear of a cop.

But wait! They came without a warrant. They left without an arrest. Even in the grand scheme of stupid cop tricks, this one takes the cake. Continue reading

Which Is To Be Master?

There have been some curious discussions of pedagogy of late, from 2+2=5 to whether the rules of grammar should be abandoned, in recognition of diversity and inclusiveness. Or, as the more blunt put it, anti-racism. The math issue, where values were conveniently altered to prove the point, was the sort that served only those who desperately sought to argue their point.

But what if you use base 8? Huh? HUH?

But what if it’s 2 apples plus 2 oranges? Then you don’t have four of either. SEE?!?

Except you have four pieces of fruit, the common denominator, because 2+2 still equals four. Yes, in base 10, which is our norm, because without norms, even in such mundane subjects as math, we would be incapable of communicating. Change the values, the base, and you change the equation. These are the shared rules by which we understand each other.*

Continue reading

The New Cops On Lawn Chairs

For years, I’ve highlighted failings within the legal system. Police are one of the major sources of problems. Prosecutors, judges and defense lawyers too, but police play a far different role in society. Most of the time, cops didn’t like what I had to say about them much. I was always criticizing, and it hurt their feelings not to be recognized for the good they do. Even when I wrote something nice about cops, it wasn’t enough for them. They were heroes in their own mind, and while they all acknowledged that there were bad cops, they weren’t the bad ones. The bad ones were always some other cop, not them.

But I wrote out of concern, not so much for the individual cops themselves, for their existence. Bad as they can be, and they can be horrifically bad, they are still a necessary part of a functioning society. Continue reading

Seaton: Lawyers, Baseball and Money

Today we’re going to visit a story about America’s national pastime, cultural insensitivity, and how one determined lawyer can fuck everything up. In other words, this is about as American a story as one can tell.

Baseball is a game played all over the world. It’s common to see players in Major League Baseball from all nationalities. Even though it’s referred to as “America’s National Pastime,” there are leagues in places like Japan and Korea where games draw huge crowds of enthusiastic fans. These days, if someone in a league overseas wants to play in MLB, it’s not hard for agents to negotiate a deal for that player to come to the states. Continue reading

UNC Daily Tar Heel Proudly Destroys Students’ Lives

The children running the Daily Tar Heel, the campus newspaper for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, sued the school under the state public records law for the identities of students “found responsible” for sexual misconduct under Title IX. Its reason, unsurprisingly, was “transparency.” Not transparency for its own sake, but for the “survivors.

When we asked the University for these records in September, I wrote a column about why we wanted to take on this fight. All those reasons are still true.

But this isn’t an ordinary story, or even an ordinary lawsuit. Continue reading

Cancel Culture Karma

It should be uncontroversial for a teacher or professor to openly support Black Lives Matters, whether as a concept or an organization, even if the two aren’t quite the same and the former is more of existential concept than a particular ideology with clear edges and purpose. After all, black lives matter, and to affirmatively suggest they don’t matter is the racism sought to be eradicated.

But does failure to attend protests, wear BLM-branded clothing, say it regularly on social media make one a racist? In some quarters, it does. What about saying anything positive about police, supporting the cops while others riot for their abolition? Is that a fair view to espouse? Is it “anti-black” to express any view that isn’t aggressively pro-BLM? Apparently, April Mustian believed that to be the case, and took her point to social media. Continue reading

Judge Reeves’ Masterful Advocacy

The fact pattern is the sort that makes for a good crim law exam, implicating a broad array of bad Supreme Court law designed to facilitate the worst cop in taking action for the worst reasons, not the least of which is the assumption that a black man driving a Mercedes convertible has to be a drug dealer. After all, how else could Clarence Jamison have such a cool car?

The irony is that Judge Carlton Reeves held that the cop, Nick McClendon, was protected by qualified immunity, the judge-made rule superimposed on Section 1983 under the assumption that police were too stupid to not violate people’s constitutional rights in good faith, subsequently worsened when the Supreme Court held that district judges need not address the two prongs of their judge-made escape hatch, that a constitutional right was, in fact, violated, and that the right violated must be “clearly established,” whether sequentially or at all, thus allowing violations of rights to persist, never to be “clearly established” because courts weren’t required to rule on that prong. Continue reading

The Obvious, Nerdy and Ridiculous Math Question

A twit of such banal obviousness caught a little attention for an unexpected reason:

2+2=4

I will die on this hill.

No, this wasn’t written by a third grader, but by an old lawyer. And the reason anyone noticed is because this silly childish equation has become either the center of controversy or, as Rendall argued, a strawman. The answer, as is often the case, depends on what you see and what you know. As with Rendall, the issue exploded after a math nerd gave an abstract math definition, followed by James Lindsay’s ridiculing it as post-modern math. Continue reading