Paul L. Caron

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Yale's Akhil Amar Calls Law School Administration's Handling Of 'Trap House' Email Controversy 'Dishonest, Duplicitous, And Downright Deplorable'


Washington Free Beacon, ‘Deplorable’: Top Yale Law Professor Rips Administration Over Handling of ‘Trap House’ Incident:

Yale Law Logo (2020)A prominent Yale Law School professor on Friday blasted the administration’s treatment of law student Trent Colbert and the Federalist Society, calling it "dishonest, duplicitous, and downright deplorable."

Akhil Amar, one of the most frequently cited legal scholars in the country, called on the administration to apologize for its actions toward Colbert, the Yale Law student who invited classmates to his "trap house."

"I am not and have never been a member of the Federalist Society," Amar said, adding that he is a life-long liberal Democrat. But "ideological diversity" is important for challenging "implicit bias"—not just against members of other races, but those of other political persuasions, he said.

His remarks came at the Federalist Society’s annual convention in Washington, D.C. On a panel titled "Classrooms, Curricula, and the Law," he said Yale Law School was "not living up to its highest standards" of open debate.

David Lat, Yale Law School And the Federalist Society: Caught In A Bad Romance?:

Professor Amar is not the only Democrat and person from the left side of the aisle who believes that the YLS administration should apologize to Colbert for how he was treated.

Simon Lazarus—Yale Law class of 1967 and an alum of the Carter Administration, where he served as associate director of the White House Domestic Policy Staff—also wrote an excellent, detailed analysis of Trap House-gate. ...

Lazarus’s piece was emailed around the YLS faculty yesterday by Professor Bruce Ackerman—who is, along with Akhil Amar, one of Yale Law’s leading scholars of constitutional law, as well as no one’s idea of a conservative. Not many faculty members have spoken publicly about recent events at YLS, but those who have raised concerns about the overall intellectual environment—including Ackerman, Amar, Amy Chua, and Roberta Romano—are some of the school’s most well-known and well-respected professors.3 [UPDATE (8:46 p.m.): The preceding sentence was edited to reflect the fact that not all of these professors have spoken out about Trap House-gate specifically, as opposed to broader issues about the climate at YLS.]

Simon Lazarus isn’t alone among YLS alumni in criticizing the administration. Judge Stephanos Bibas (3d Cir.), a 1994 graduate of Yale Law, spoke at the YLS alumni breakfast before Zach Austin took the podium. Judge Bibas expressed his disappointment in how administrators handled this incident, focusing on their attempt to extort an apology out of Colbert—which he labeled a “corruption of apology,” which is normally a laudable thing and a noble instinct. In the words of Judge Bibas, version 1.0 of apology—which is one-on-on, personal, sincere, and voluntary—”is being superseded by apology 2.0,” a public performance that is regularly “demanded by Twitter mobs” these days.

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