Tuesday, September 29, 2020
Daily Pennsylvanian, Penn Law Removes Statement on RBG’s Death After Inclusion of Amy Wax Quote Sparked Outrage:
Penn Law deleted its public statement on the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg after students lambasted it for including a quote from controversial law professor Amy Wax.
Ginsburg, the second woman to sit on the Supreme Court and an advocate for women's rights, died of pancreatic cancer on Sept. 18 at age 87. The statement, posted to the law school’s Facebook page on Sept. 23 at 8:51 a.m., quickly garnered recoil from Penn Law students and graduates for including an excerpt from Wax's book review [Notorious: What Does Ruth Bader Ginsburg Mean For Women?] — published in Claremont Review of Book's Winter 2020 edition — on Jane Sherron De Hart's "Ruth Bader Ginsburg: A Life."
Let us now praise Ruth Bader Ginsburg. There is ample grist available for hagiography: in the year 2018 alone, a slew of glowing retrospectives celebrated Ginsburg’s status as a feminist heroine and champion of women’s rights. There was Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a biography by U.C. Santa Barbara history professor Jane Sherron De Hart. There was a Netflix documentary about Ginsburg’s career, simply entitled RBG. And the list goes on. But these accounts paid a price for their relentlessly laudatory tone. Missing was any serious appraisal of her professional legacy, its place within larger judicial and legislative debates, and its implications for the shifting and often conflicting roles of women in modern society.
Penn Law students noticed the statement had been deleted around 4:40 p.m. later that day.
While Wax applauds Ginsburg's professional legacy in the selected quote featured in Penn Law's statement, the book review itself casts Ginsburg's admirable work ethic as an outlier for women. Wax wrote in the book review "it is rare that women, regardless of their profession, ability, or training, are willing to work long hours routinely and consistently" as Ginsburg had done.
Prior TaxProf Blog coverage:
- Wax & Alexander: Paying The Price For Breakdown Of The Country's Bourgeois Culture (Aug. 13, 2017)
- Reaction To Law Profs' Op-Ed On The Breakdown Of The 'Bourgeois Culture' (Aug. 25, 2017)
- Penn Law Students Try To Ban Amy Wax From Teaching Civil Procedure Due To Her Breakdown Of The Bourgeois Culture Op-Ed (Sept. 10, 2017)
- Controversy Over Law Profs' Op-Ed On The Breakdown Of The 'Bourgeois Culture' Shifts From Penn To San Diego (Sept. 21, 2017)
- More Law Prof Reactions To The Wax & Alexander Op-Ed On The Breakdown Of The 'Bourgeois Culture' (Sept. 22, 2017)
- Reynolds: It Is Time Academics Preach the Virtues They Practice (Sept. 26, 2017)
- Penn Alumni Speak Out Against Breakdown Of The 'Bourgeois Culture' Op-Ed (Sept. 26, 2017)
- Wax: The Closing Of The Academic Mind (Feb. 19, 2018)
- Penn Dean Denies Amy Wax's Claim That He Asked Her To Take Leave Due To Controversial Op-Ed (Feb. 21, 2018)
- Heather McDonald: The Penn Law School Mob Scores A Victory (Mar. 19, 2018)
- Amy Wax: The University Of Denial — Aggressive Suppression Of The Truth Is A Central Feature Of American Higher Education (Mar. 24, 2018)
- Amy Wax Controversy Drags Penn Law Into Free-Speech Dilemma (July 27, 2019)