Jessica Corry is the latest commentator to criticize the Harvard Law Review (HLR) for its indefensible defense of speech codes, in an article posted yesterday at Human Events. Corry is an attorney and policy analyst with the Independence Institute in Colorado. The HLR, as Torch readers are no doubt aware of by now, published a case comment (pdf) criticizing the Third Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision in DeJohn v. Temple University and arguing that speech codes are in fact constitutional. Following a thorough dismantling of its research and analysis by Kelly Sarabyn, the HLR comment has come under attack from near and far.
In the latest round, Corry writes,
Shaky in terms of its philosophical conclusions, the journal’s argument is also legally flawed — connecting dots where none could have been properly drawn. The saddest part is the argument’s source: young legal scholars, ideally the world’s leading litigators of tomorrow, who believe law students and faculty are so weak they must be shielded from adverse viewpoints.
Corry is quite right to emphasize this point. Moreover, as she discusses, she has personal experience fighting speech codes:
Ultimately, law schools should be first in line to defend even the most offensive speech. But they’re not, and sadly, Harvard isn’t alone in its continued censorship campaign. In 1994, it took a ragtag team of crusading law students, including my husband, Robert J. Corry, Jr., to litigate into extinction Stanford’s own speech code, which had provided severe punitive sanctions for any speech failing to meet political correct standards of acceptability.
Today’s law students should be very concerned. “Law schools are supposed to teach us to analyze and understand opposing perspectives, but they don’t achieve this when they attempt to shield us from any viewpoints with which we might disagree,” said Bresee Sullivan, a third year student at the University of Denver, which is also my alma mater.
Corry concludes her article with a statement that rings strong and true:
Without exposing law students to true diversity — diversity of thought — we have failed them before they ever even step foot in a courtroom for the first time. Harvard may lead the national rankings in terms of its formal reputation, but when it comes to free speech, it definitely earns an “F”.