August 30, 2022

If you’re a prospective law student, do you want to pay $74,000 a year to attend Cornell University’s Law School whose faculty members publish what looks like a false accusation of murder and can’t seem to do better than play “woke pigeon chess” in the court of public opinion, or $25,400 a year for in-state tuition at the State University of New York in Buffalo? SUNY’s web page says, “Our students graduate to work at the same law firms and earn the same starting salaries as those who attend pricey private law schools.” The difference comes to almost $150,000 over three years and, from where I sit, I don’t see what an attorney gets from Cornell for that kind of money.

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Law professor William Jacobson reports, “There’s an effort to get me fired at Cornell for criticizing the Black Lives Matter Movement” and, from what I have seen, Jacobson’s criticisms are accurate. Dean Eduardo Peñalver nonetheless used a Cornell web page to say, “In light of this deep and rich tradition of walking the walk of racial justice, in no uncertain terms, recent blog posts of Professor William Jacobson, casting broad and categorical aspersions on the goals of those protesting for justice for Black Americans, do not reflect the values of Cornell Law School as I have articulated them.”

Is This What Cornell’s Law School Supports?

We must ask Dean Peñalver, along with President Martha Pollack and Cornell’s Board of Trustees who seem to be okay with his use of a Cornell web page to disparage another faculty member in this manner, whether the “values of Cornell Law School” include support for a movement that:

  • Denies the right of Israel to exist as exemplified by Patrisse Cullors in her capacity as BLM’s leader and features chants such as “Israel, we know you, you murder children too.” Here, meanwhile, is another BLM leader proclaiming “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” which is a call for the eradication of Israel. He also makes a reference to “armed resistance” toward the end of the video. “Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor” (Cullors said “imperialist” rather than “racist”) is anti-Semitic by definition.
  • Condones or even encourages unlawful behavior that results in justifiable deadly force against Black people and also Kyle Rittenhouse’s Caucasian assailants, as well as looting that leaves people of all races with life-ruining felony records. “Looting = reparations” is again from a BLM organizer as opposed to somebody who does not represent the organization.
  • Is alleged credibly to have misused 501(c)(3) tax exempt resources to influence the 2020 Presidential election, and the Republican Party is squandering an opportunity to use this talking point before November.

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The Zionist Organization of America writes, and this is how Professor Jacobson comes across to me as well, “We must continue to combat the evils of anti-Black racism — while calling out organizations that incite hatred against Jews and Israel.” We can walk the walk of racial justice outside the company of Israel-haters just as we don’t need to line up with Nazis to oppose animal abuse. The ZOA web page cites also, by the way, “the extreme Jew-hatred, Israel-bashing and antisemitic violence perpetrated by the Marxist ‘Movement for Black Lives’ (M4BL) organization, and the organizations that comprise and are intertwined with M4BL, including the Black Lives Matter (BLM) organization and ‘Dream Defenders.'”

“Slander is Spoken, in Print it’s Libel”

Here, meanwhile, is a letter signed by twenty-one Cornell Law School faculty members that says Breonna Taylor was murdered. (The letter does stipulate that they are speaking as individuals rather than on behalf of the school.) What happened to Taylor, and also the police officer who was wounded in the same incident, should never be allowed to happen to anybody again but the officer who shot her was not charged with much less convicted of murder. A false public accusation of a felony like murder is libel per se but we have twenty-one Cornell Law School faculty who signed onto a statement of exactly this nature as did Democrat Left lawyers Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris. Warren and Harris libeled an identifiable police officer by tweeting that Michael Brown was murdered. As Jonah Jameson put it in Spider-Man, “Slander is spoken, in print it’s libel” and, if twenty-one Cornell Law faculty set an example that it’s okay to do this, law school applicants really need to ask what they get for the school’s pricey tuition.

Woke Pigeon Chess Doesn’t Work

Prospective attorneys also need to know that “woke pigeon chess” in which the pigeon knocks over the pieces, says his or her opponent’s values don’t reflect the institution’s values (or implies the opponent is a racist) and then claims to have won will not play well in front of an impartial judge or jury. A good attorney should be able to argue either side of a case, and Daniel Webster is reputed to have even gotten a man out of a contract with the Devil via jury nullification.

Maybe Dean Peñalver and/or the faculty members in question, along with Cornell’s Black Law Student Association (BLSA) could have come up with a similarly compelling argument on BLM’s behalf that most people would have respected even if they didn’t agree with it. Here’s how I would handle it even though I can’t imagine a conceivable defense for BLM Global Network itself. I would point out that other people not associated with BLM Global Network have used the phrase “Black Lives Matter” in the context of improving police-community relations, law enforcement professionals have shown solidarity with these initiatives which also have my support, and it is important to keep this difference in mind.