Welcome to my archives. This is a long list of most of the commentaries and longer articles I have written since 1989; the hundreds of articles I wrote for the New York Times from 1980-1988 can be found via the SELECTED MEDIA OUTLETS box. They are sorted by date, with the most recent posts first. If you want to find something specific, I would encourage you to use the search feature in the sidebar. It is powered by Google. It is fast and accurate.
It’s not just for Brett Kavanaugh. In October, Republican senators were the champions of due process. They argued that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh must be presumed innocent in the face of the uncorroborated sex-crime accusations that Democrats had rushed to endorse. Forty-nine Republicans (and one Democrat) then confirmed his nomination to the Supreme Court. “In evaluating any given claim of misconduct, we will be ill served in the long run if we abandon the presumption of innocence and fairness, tempting though it may be,” said Maine’s Susan Collins on the Senate floor in the decisive speech of the confirmation […]
In covering the most highly publicized “affirmative action” lawsuit in decades – against Harvard University — the news media are continuing their pattern of averting their eyes from stubborn facts that cut against their ideological preferences. In recent trial testimony, Harvard and other selective schools claim that the only way they can maintain adequate racial diversity is to use large racial preferences to admit a great many more black (and brown) students than would otherwise get in based on their academic performance. A person of ordinary curiosity might wonder: Why is that? Just what is the state of black academic […]
The group comes out against equal treatment before the law. More than four years ago, 28 members of the Harvard Law School faculty publicly criticized the sexual-assault adjudication procedures adopted by the university under pressure from the Obama administration. They noted that these were “overwhelmingly stacked against the accused.” The law professors, including some with stellar feminist credentials, said that the university’s goal should “be to fully address sexual harassment while at the same time protecting students against unfair and inappropriate discipline, honoring individual relationship autonomy, and maintaining the values of academic freedom.” Similar expressions of concern about the basic […]
Proposed new Title IX regulations aren’t perfect, but they vastly improve on Obama-era guidance. Betsy DeVos kept her promise. As the education secretary vowed in September 2017, the department’s Office for Civil Rights last week formally proposed new regulations designed to create a more just process when campus tribunals adjudicate sexual-misconduct allegations. The proposed rules closely track recent court rulings favoring accused students.
In 2003, the Supreme Court hoped the use of racial preferences would last no more than 25 years. They are becoming permanent. The discrimination lawsuit against Harvard College that goes to trial in federal court on October 15 may well put a momentous choice before the Supreme Court, and the country, within the next few years. Should the Court allow racial preferences in university admissions to continue forever? Or should it ban them as unconstitutional, even though a rigorously enforced ban could dramatically cut enrollments of African Americans and Latinos at selective schools? Almost all publicity about the case has […]
Did Brett Kavanaugh attempt to rape Christine Blasey Ford in 1982, as she testified in detail on September 27? Almost nobody has accused her of deliberately lying about the alleged attack. But the only other possibility consistent with Judge Kavanaugh’s claim of innocence has received very little attention. That is the possibility that Dr. Ford may have been misled by a sincere but false memory of something that never happened, perhaps created by her marital or individual psychotherapy. At first blush this may seem far-fetched. But science has shown that implanted false memories are such a common phenomenon in human […]
Betsy DeVos undoes a major campus injustice. That campus Title IX sexual-misconduct tribunals are unfair to accused students is all but a truism. Since 2011, when the Obama administration forced a guilt-presuming reinterpretation of the 1972 law, more than 100 colleges and universities have been on the losing side in lawsuits filed by accused students protesting their treatment. The Department of Education is planning to issue new regulations addressing the relationship between Title IX and fair procedures in cases of alleged campus sexual assault. The draft regulations are still under review, but as reported in the New York Times, they […]
Special counsel Robert Mueller wants to talk to the president. With the pitched battle of words forever escalating—Trump’s new team of gloves-off lawyers and his vocal supporters pitted against the special counsel’s own proponents in the media—many exude confidence in Mueller’s power to subpoena the president’s testimony, assuming the eventual backing of the Supreme Court. But let’s slow down a bit. Although Mueller has warned Trump’s lawyers that he might subpoena the president if he refuses to testify voluntarily, he might well elect not to. The two sides could compromise on a deal for testimony on limited subjects or only […]
The March 7 acquittal by a New Haven jury of a suspended Yale student on charges of raping a classmate has been much lamented on campus and in the national media. But a review of the evidence shows that the trial was fair, the defense was ethical, and there was much more than a reasonable doubt about the accuser’s claim that she was so drunk as to lack the capacity to consent. The facts of this he-said, she-said case are that Saifullah Khan, a then-22-year-old Yale senior, and his accuser, also a senior, had Halloween dinner together at the dorm’s […]
When a toxin enters a biological ecosystem, its effect is magnified as it moves up the food chain. Even if it can be cut off at the source, the ever-widening distribution of its increasingly harmful form can cause problems for decades. Misinformation functions in a similar fashion, gaining traction as it’s repeated by increasingly high-profile individuals who venture ever further from the source material. In this manner, distortion about the facts of sexual assault has affected the training of judges, prosecutors, and other law enforcement officials. It is how misleading assertions become embedded in criminal and military law. This is […]