Classes Are Canceled

It’s not as if there’s so much to teach in crim law at Yale that you need all those classes, right?

Of course, there may be some students who prefer to receive the education they paid for, but perhaps they don’t yet realize that people will die and that they ought to “otherwise engage” in a hearing. To do otherwise would make them complicit, right?

But if Yale Law School feels their pain, it’s nothing compared to the demands of some students at Harvard Law School where Kavanaugh taught, and was to teach again.

Four Harvard Law School students are calling for the school to investigate the sexual assault allegation against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh — or cancel the course that he is scheduled to teach as a lecturer at the Ivy League school this winter.

One of the lynchpins of the arguments against Kavanaugh was that his confirmation hearing wasn’t a criminal trial, but merely a job interview for a really big deal, life-tenured job. And it’s a good point, which was apparently lost on the kids at HLS.

“The credible allegations of sexual assault against Supreme Court nominee and Harvard Law School lecturer Brett Kavanaugh have left us with more questions than answers,” the students wrote. “Women at this law school are already forced to opt out of clerkships and employment opportunities in order to avoid alleged sexual predators; they should not also be forced to opt out of classes. The administration diminishes women’s access to education when they fail to address allegations of abuse.”

The word “forced” begs a question. If they feel “forced,” it can’t be because they know something that no one else knows, but because they are peculiarly sensitive to their attenuated fears such that they believe so much that they feel they have no other choice.

[Jake] Meiseles said Kavanaugh is known as a “feeder judge,” meaning getting a position with him or getting him to help can lead to prestigious jobs in the judiciary, often on the Supreme Court. But there would be an “unfair burden on women” who wouldn’t feel comfortable being in his class, and they would therefore be losing out on a career opportunity.

So I asked Meiseles why.

Do HLS students fear that Kavanaugh will sexually assault them? I’m struggling to grasp what he might do that would make any student uncomfortable in his class today.

Meiseles ultimately responded:

Well right now we have 1. Credible allegations of sexual assault; 2. No investigation; 3. Yale law professor ensuring that female applicants to him dress a certain way. Should female students not have hesitations about taking his class?

This was, well, exceptionally unavailing. Beyond being non-responsive, it reveals a more serious failing. Up to now, Kavanaugh was highly regarded as a teacher and judicial feeder.

Kavanaugh has taught law at Georgetown, Yale and Harvard, where he has had a post since 2008. In July, dozens of Kavanaugh’s former students signed a letter that described him as “a rigorous thinker, a devoted teacher, and a gracious person” who “was exceptionally generous with his time.”

Student reviews distributed by Kavanaugh’s confirmation team have been largely positive, with many focusing on “his mastery of legal materials, intellectual rigor, fair-mindedness and accessibility,” according to a New York Times report, which came out about two months before Ford stepped forward with her accusation.

Notably missing is any claim by any student at any school at any time that Kavanaugh engaged in any inappropriate conduct, sexual or otherwise. The second-hand rumor of Yale lawprof Amy Chau telling female students to “dress a certain way” when interviewing for a clerkship with Kavanaugh has apparently reached reality status in the minds of the unduly passionate, even though no law clerk has come forward to suggest any impropriety.

What this reflects is the downward spiral of irrational fear and ideology. As I replied to Meiseles:

There’s no suggestion he poses any threat of any impropriety whatsoever to any student. So no, there should be no hesitation.

But of course, that was never the question. Obviously, there is no basis for any female student to be concerned that she might be sexually assaulted, but that doesn’t change their repulsion at being in the same room, the same school, as this person who might have sexually assaulted someone more than 35 years earlier.

I heard nothing further from Meiseles, which could mean that he recognized that his cries were bizarrely irrational and he should reconsider whether he has any future in law given his inability to follow any logical train of thought, or that I was unworthy of further engagement because I just didn’t get it. The latter seems more likely.

This isn’t merely a problem because it reflects the fall from grace of Harvard Law School, along with Yale, as a place where students are supposed to be capable of thought, but are instead extrapolating fear and loathing into their fantasy reality. When neither facts nor reason come into play, there is little left for rational people to talk about. Perhaps Forman’s canceling class on Monday isn’t a big deal after all. It’s not as if his students would benefit from learning law anyway.

14 thoughts on “Classes Are Canceled

  1. Mario Machado

    The reply Tweet to the one from Yale quotes at least 6 other law profs doing the same thing. Their behavior is beyond weak and irresponsible, as if they’re falling over themselves to make sure their colleagues and students see their latest attempt at virtue signaling.

    In the aggregate, all those classes being cancelled means that plenty will be left unlearned by many, or left for another day. But then again, what’s the point of having those classes if all the brats can think about is evil Kavanaugh?

    Weak and irresponsible law profs are grooming their students to become weak and irresponsible lawyers.

    1. SHG Post author

      On the bright side, there’s no reason to learn law when the future relies entirely on empathy, so the saddest tears win the trial.

  2. Jim Tyre


    I’m shocked that you missed the true import of that message:

    Criminal Law will be cancelled.

    I suppose it was inevitable, since everyone has an excuse for everything these days. But to just eliminate criminal law from law? You, and lots of your readers, are going to need to scramble, because you no longer have your chosen field of law.

  3. Hunting Guy

    F. Lee Bailey

    “I would strongly recommend any young man to stay away from criminal law. It’s not a good place to be, unfortunately.

  4. Karl Kolchak

    If this is the state of the alleged “top young legal minds” in this country, we are well and truly screwed.

  5. Laches

    He calls them “credible allegations” even though Ford has not testified and we have yet to see any other evidence to support or refute her allegations.

    What’s the point of going to class to learn to think when you can just let your righteous passions and feelz guide you?

  6. B. McLeod

    Somebody once wrote, “History is a class struggle.” Perhaps their history classes should also be cancelled.

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