Monday, April 22, 2013

Lewis & Clark Students Complain About First Amendment, Clearly Don't Get It

For those who may have missed it, a kerfuffle arose last week at Lewis & Clark College over the appearance of John G. Roberts, Chief Justice of the United States. To make a short story even shorter, undergrad student newspaper wanted to run a story on Roberts' visit, Dean Robert Klonoff,who now publicly regrets it, held up the story until it could be cleared by the Supreme Court press officer, which was not necessary.

Being petty little undergraduates, the editors of said student newspaper have their underpants ruffled about this:

When Ruiz questioned the legalities of such restrictions by Chief Justice Roberts’ office, a College official informed Ruiz that his tone will not be “tolerated” and that the Dean of Students Anna Gonzalez was informed of the situation.
Two emails were sent to the Law School expressing the urgency of this matter and the impending 5 p.m. deadline. The Law School did not send a copy of the article to the Supreme Court until 11:36 p.m. Wednesday evening­—over six hours past deadline.
On Friday, Kolonoff informed Oregonian reporter Betsy Hammond that the article was only sent to the Supreme Court as a “heads-up,” yet his email to Chief Justice Roberts’ office states, “Attached is the college newspaper article about the Chief Justice’s visit. Please let me know if it meets with your approval.”
LC’s Student Media Board bylaws assert that “the student press at Lewis & Clark is free from censorship and advance approval of content.” That said, the Office of Public Affairs and Communication and the Law School both independently claimed that they were given explicit instructions from the Chief Justice’s office that the article would need to be approved.

Ah, undergrads.

I sincerely hope these little whippersnappers find their way into paying law school tuition. By enrolling in an excellent law school (now over 200 ABA approved!), they would learn the following extremely valuable lessons:

1. There is the First Amendment, and then there is "the First Amendment." You have the freedom of speech, unless you're going to criticize someone rich and/or powerful or express a bitingly contrary opinion; in that case, you can go to Canada, hippie.

2. Law deans don't owe you any kind of a duty to tell the truth. The dean's statement that it was just a "heads-up" email after placing the prior restraint on your article was so obviously false and dumb that you would have to be a fool to believe it. As a result, there is no material deception at work. Like a law dean would ever need to lie and cover up his own misdeeds...

3. Student bylaws do not mean a thing. Just like real laws, no one actually reads them unless they're trying to escape punishment, and they exist mostly for show purposes.

4. Getting a sitting Supreme Court justice - especially the Chief Justice - to show up at a rinky-dink law school on the wrong coast is a major coup. Your administrators can milk this for like 4-5 years to reel in the fishies. They would likely kill endangered animals, fulfill underlings' wildest sexual fantasies, and pay Russian mobsters under the table to get a Supreme Court Justice to roll up in a black luxury car - even Kagan. They are not going to be bothered by some stupid kid spouting about his "first amendment rights" and his bratty "tone."

Injecting the first amendment to college administrators? Dude's lucky he didn't get expelled, acting like he has rights superior to John Roberts' right to monitor what people say about him, or the dean's rights to ensure no one's writing a hint of criticism towards the Legal Rock Star.

But clearly, these two do have potential to learn and practice law. I hope they enroll so as not to be embarrassing themselves with this sort of lewd Constitution-injecting crapolla in the future.

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