UGA Professors are Nutty

Resuming the conversation, why exactly is it controversial to invite a prominent member of the United States Supreme Court to give a commencement address?

You know, Justice Thomas brought this up a while back at a dinner at the Heritage Foundation a few of us were at and he pointed out that overwhelmingly it was always the professors who protested and incited the students. Certainly there are always going to be a few disgruntled students who find a reason to be unhappy, but by and large it’s the professors.

You know, what’s funny is that I’d be quite happy to hear a Bill Clinton or a Janet Reno or a Justice Stevens or heck, even a George McGovern. It’d be an honor, I would think, to be able to hear them share their wisdom, even if I profoundly disagreed with them. These are people of history.

But then there are the idle minds of college campuses who feel the need to get worked up over stuff.

Pffffft.

22 comments

  1. Loren says:

    You know, what’s funny is that I’d be quite happy to hear a Bill Clinton or a Janet Reno or a Justice Stevens or heck, even a George McGovern. It’d be an honor, I would think, to be able to hear them share their wisdom, even if I profoundly disagreed with them. These are people of history.

    Ditto, with one addendum: I wouldn’t want Bill Clinton giving a law school commencement address. Simply because I don’t believe that attorneys who’ve had high-profile disbarments should be the commencement speaker for new attorneys at their graduation.

  2. onthefence says:

    I have mixed feelings about Justice Thomas speaking at the commencement. I think he may prove to be a much better speaker than Ted Turner was at my UGA graduation in ’99 but… I do think the timing is poor considering the sexual harassment issues at UGA and the fact that Justice Thomas nearly didn’t get appointed to the SCOTUS due to the sexual harassment issues with Anita Hill.

  3. Loren says:

    You could say the same about George W. Bush, but as he’s not a law school graduate himself, I’m not sure he’s an appropriate choice for a law school commencement speaker. Correct me if I’m wrong (and I may be), but aren’t law school commencement speakers pretty much always people who’ve been to law school?

    If that’s the case, then I think one’s ethical background with regard to the law is relevant in whether a person’s an appropriate commencement speaker. As much emphasis as law school puts on legal ethics, it would send the wrong message. The same would go for doctors who’ve been stripped of their medical licenses giving the commencement to med school graduates.

    And just to clarify, I’m talking only about law school commencement speeches. Clinton’s still a perfectly acceptable speaker in any other context, including undergraduate graduations.

  4. Doug Deal says:

    Erick,

    I agree with you on that. It happens occasionally on the right, but it is the left that generally politicizes speakers at college campuses. College is supposed to be about education, which means exposure to many points of view and ideas that one has not previously considered. They should not be an echo chamber for the noisiest fringe group.

  5. StevePerkins says:

    Law school commencement speakers are not always law school grads themselves. Frequently, non-lawyers are asked to speak so the school can give them an honorary degree during the service.

    I disagree with the premise that Thomas was “almost not appointed due to sexual harassment”. He was almost not appointed because he’s a black man who’s conservative. The Clarence Thomas harassment allegations were about as credible as the allegations of Clinton killing Vincent Foster, McCain having a black lovechild, or Kerry’s swift boat business.

  6. Doug Deal says:

    Steve,

    The Clarence Thomas harassment allegations were about as credible as the allegations of Clinton killing Vincent Foster, McCain having a black lovechild, or Kerry’s swift boat business

    Well stated. All of these are silly things paraded around by partisans. Some on the right were unable to get over Clinton being beating Bush, and some on the left were unable to get over a black conservative on the bench.

    Sadly, it is those hyper partisans that drive the two parties.

  7. StevePerkins says:

    Going way off-topic… but what WordPress tags did you use to get that effect above, Doug? I generally just put quotes in italics, but that looks a lot better.

  8. Loren says:

    OK, that obviously didn’t work. It’s the word “blockquote” with the quotation marks replaced with carrots.

  9. Doug Deal says:

    And, just so you know how I got the greater than and less than characters to print. I htmlencoded them by writting them as

    &lt; for less than or <
    &gt; for greater than or >

    Assuming this prints properly.

  10. onthefence says:

    I disagree with you that her allegations were not credible.

    I’m glad conservatives got their black man on the bench who agrees with everything conservative and rarely writes his opinion.

    I’d rather see a conservative black man who has an opinion, writes it, and stands behind it every step of the way.

    I believe he’s put in the necessary work throughout his life and deserved a chance at the SCOTUS. But, I do not believe that this woman’s assertion that he sexually harassed her has to go out the window or be filed as uncredible just because one side was angry over Clinton’s election and the other was upset ’cause the nominee is a black conservative. I think you’re being simpleminded with that premise.

  11. Buddha the Magnificent says:

    It’s funny. I don’t recall many UGA professors who impressed me as much as the few times I’ve been fortunate enough to hear Justice Thomas on C-SPAN.

  12. StevePerkins says:

    Justice Thomas writes opinions CONSTANTLY. It may be true that he seldom writes the majority opinion, but that’s because he’s pretty far out on the fringe and seldom 100% reflects the view of the majority. However, he has written lengthy dissenting opinions in about half the SCOTUS cases I’ve read since he joined the bench. I don’t always agree with him, but I will give him props for having the most consistent opinions on the entire bench. He doesn’t flip-flop when it suits his purposes like Scalia… and if he thinks that the past half-century of precedent has gotten a constitutional question wrong, he’s not afraid to argue for setting it right. If that’s not “writing an opinion and standing behind it every step of the way”, then I’d be curious to know what standard you’re using.

    As for his “sexual harassment”… in the WORST-CASE scenario, he once cracked a joke about finding a soda can with a hair stuck to it. Yes, clearly that would disqualify a man from serving public office, or speaking at a graduation ceremony. Clearly that media circus of a nomination hearing was completely warranted.

  13. Doug Deal says:

    Steve,

    Well put again, you are on a roll lately. I agree with you that Scalia will alter his opinion based on a desired outcome, but Thomas is rock solid on his principles.

    It’s just that many people disagree with his principles that they criticize him for being “unqualified” or for sexual harrassment CLAIMS.

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