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The Churchill Files

Denver’s Rocky Mountain News is running a multi-part series investigating Ward Churchill’s academic and ethnic background. The News is attempting to answer questions related to alleged plagiarism, copyright violations, shoddy scholarship, and resume fraud.

It is still too early in the series to fully and fairly evaluate the evidence presented, but it should be noted that—as a practical matter—Colorado must have airtight evidence of at least one of the more serious violations before it can take formal action against Churchill. Speaking as a former trial lawyer, I can tell you that discipline based on a shaky plagiarism case, for example, would be viewed by most judges as pretextual, as simply an alternative to punishing Churchill for the thing that really offends Colorado: his constitutionally protected speech.

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