VOLOKH at mail.law.ucla.edu
Wed Dec 6 15:43:49 PST 2000
If I recall correctly, the claim isn't that the judge's attendance
at Howard is suspicious -- it's that his allegedly taking an oath to act in
certain ways, an oath that was administered at the Howard graduation, is
suspicious. I've never heard of such oaths at Pepperdine, Regent, or George
Mason; but I suspect that if there was an allegation that Regent graduations
involved the taking of an oath to "obey God's will in all our actions within
the legal system," people would raise similar objections. The closest
analogy, it seems to me, is the fire that Scalia's "fools for Christ's sake"
speech drew in 1996; cf., e.g., USA Today, April 10, 1996 (quoting Barry
Lynn, of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, saying that
"this clearly undermines public confidence in his objectivity regarding
Again, I believe that on the merits both the oath as described in
the posts and Scalia's "fools for Christ's sake" speech are perfectly
acceptable. But, especially given the "fools for Christ's sake" analogy, I
do think it is disturbing to hear over and over the idea that there is
something suspicious (and implicitly racist) about the criticisms of this
Garrett Epps wrote:
> I do think it is disturbing to hear over and over the idea that there is
> something suspicious about a judge who attended one of America's oldest
> historically black law schools. I have NEVER heard anyone assert that a
> judge is presumptively biased or incapable because he or she went to
> Pepperdine, or Regent, or George Mason, or lots of other places that have
> marked value systems. And what conceivable difference can it make that a
> school's web site has a quote on it from a distinguished dead former dean?
> What in heaven's name is going on here?
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