October 5, 2007


Over the Edge: Hofstra Law School’s new guest lecturer on legal ethics: disbarred felon Lynne Stewart (Walter Olson, 5 October 2007, City Journal)

Given the hothouse ideological atmosphere of today’s legal academia, it’s quite possible that administrators at Long Island’s Hofstra Law School had no idea that they’d touch off a furor when they invited Lynne Stewart, the disbarred felon and radical lawyer, to lecture on legal ethics. It’s not, after all, as if they were bringing in someone really controversial—someone, say, like Larry Summers or Donald Rumsfeld.

Stewart, recall, was convicted in 2005 of providing material support to terrorists after a jury found that she had conspired with her client, the bloodthirsty “blind sheikh” Omar Abdul Rahman, to smuggle out messages to his followers. (She remains at liberty while her case is on appeal.) The followers in question had committed such atrocities as the first World Trade Center bombing and the massacre of 58 Western tourists in Luxor, Egypt, as well as plotting unsuccessfully to slaughter thousands more New Yorkers by blowing up city landmarks. Secret prison wiretaps leave no doubt that Stewart broke the law in the manner alleged; in interviews she has forthrightly acknowledged her ideological solidarity with Abdul Rahman as a foe of American imperialism, and her support for “directed violence” against “the institutions which perpetuate capitalism, racism, sexism, and at the people who are the appointed guardians of those institutions.”

None of which has deterred Stewart’s supporters from insisting that she’s (to quote an Arizona State law student) “a high principled idealist who was singled out for her willingness to advocate for unpopular and controversial clients.”

That ideological agenda is shared by at least the Humanities departments of much of Academia generally, no?

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 5, 2007 12:01 AM
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