Paul L. Caron

Saturday, May 22, 2021

University Illinois-Chicago Removes John Marshall From The Name Of Its Law School

UIC John Marshall (2021)

Following up on my previous posts:

UIC, Board Approves New Name For UIC Law:

The UIC John Marshall Law School will change its name to the University of Illinois Chicago School of Law after receiving approval from the University of Illinois Board of Trustees today.

With all required approvals and agreements obtained in accordance with university processes and contractual obligations with the Legacy Law School Corporation and the Foundation Legacy Corporation (the successor legal entities that owned and operated the law school, and fund-raised for the school, before it became a part of UIC), the name change will be effective July 1, 2021.

The vote comes after months of review by a task force that gathered input from students, faculty, staff, and alumni, conducted research and proposed principles to guide the institution in evaluating a potential name change.

The task force report noted, “that despite Chief Justice Marshall’s legacy as one of the nation’s most significant U.S. Supreme Court justices, the newly discovered research regarding his role as a slave trader, slave owner of hundreds of slaves, pro-slavery jurisprudence, and racist views render him a highly inappropriate namesake for the Law School.”

“The university has arrived at this new name following a thorough and carefully studied process that included input from all corners of the institution and beyond, considered issues of racial injustice and aimed to ensure that our university continues to be a place where diversity, inclusion and equal opportunity are supported and advanced,” said UIC Chancellor Michael Amiridis.

Following the task force’s report in February and its 6-1 membership recommendation to rename the school, law school faculty voted in favor of a new official name in March. Approval from the Legacy Law School Corporation and the Foundation Legacy Corporation was received last week by the University of Illinois System.

UIC Law (2021)

Josh Blackman (South Texas), John Marshall Law School Cancels John Marshall:

John Marshall has officially been canceled. The greatest jurist in American history has been summarily excommunicated. Inclusion demands exclusion. These purges will not stop with slavery. None of us are safe.

David Bernstein (George Mason), Thoughts on Renaming John Marshall Law School:

[H]ere is what I would be inclined to do if I were in charge of the issue: keep the Marshall name, but add an abolitionist champion. For example, one could rename the school Marshall-Douglass Law School after Frederick Douglass. By keeping the Marshall name, you honor Marshall's contributions to American jurisprudence, but you also rebuke his complicity in slavery by giving Frederick Douglass equal billing. I think this sort of compromise has general application to this sort of controversy.

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