Posts Tagged ‘sexual assault’

Claire Berlinski on #MeToo

Veteran journalist Claire Berlinski has a contrarian warning regarding the #MeToo momentum on sexual harassment and assault: “Revolutions against real injustice have a tendency, however, to descend into paroxysms of vengeance that descend upon guilty and innocent alike. We’re getting too close.” [The American Interest] Related, Emily Yoffe on the workplace and the Title IX example [Politico]

Watch today: Emily Yoffe and Ruth Marcus on Title IX

At 4 pm Eastern today, watch online at Cato live as acclaimed writer Emily Yoffe discusses her recent blockbuster Atlantic series on the problems with campus sex-misconduct tribunals (parts onetwothree, earlier coverage here and here). Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus will offer commentary. Although I had been scheduled to moderate, an emergency has come up and I am unable to be there; instead Cato’s John Samples will be taking my place.

Emily Yoffe at Cato Dec. 5

Mark your calendar for the afternoon of December 5, when I’m delighted to be hosting and moderating acclaimed writer Emily Yoffe, author of the recent blockbuster Atlantic series (parts one, two, three, earlier coverage here and here) on the problems with campus sex-misconduct tribunals. Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus will offer commentary. Be there or plan to watch online (register).

Yoffe, whose earlier adventures include a seven-year stint writing the popular Slate advice column “Dear Prudence,” was recently interviewed about her work by Robby Soave for Reason. And relatedly on campus conduct, KC Johnson and Stuart Taylor Jr. report in a new Weekly Standard piece that federally mandated Title IX training mangles forensic principles and steers campus administrators to findings of “guilty.”

Police roundup

  • Police credibility under oath: “Judge Weinstein takes on testilying” [Scott Greenfield]
  • “To resolve lawsuit filed by the DOJ, Seattle police department adopts policy requiring officers to attempt de-escalation (when possible) and use reasonable force to resolve tense situations. (A federal compliance monitor reports that officers’ use of force has since declined significantly without increased crime or injuries to officers.) Police officers: The policy violates our Second Amendment right to self-defense. Ninth Circuit: Novel but no.” [John K. Ross, Short Circuit, summarizing Mahoney v. City of Seattle]
  • “The LAPD’s drone pilot threatens privacy despite policy assurances” [Matthew Feeney, Cato]
  • Not just Hollywood and high places: sexual assault is “among the most pernicious and likely under-reported varieties of on-duty police misconduct” [Jonathan Blanks]
  • “Hundreds Of Cases Dismissed Thanks To Baltimore PD Misconduct” [Tim Cushing]
  • Body cameras worth pursuing even though results from Washington, D.C. study don’t show big effect on shootings or complaints [Matthew Feeney, Scott Greenfield]

Weinstein’s investigations — and settlements

Harvey Weinstein, assisted by the law firm of celebrated attorney David Boies, “hired private investigators, including ex-Mossad agents, to track actresses and journalists.” At least one agent used false names and identities to insinuate herself into accusers’ and journalists’ circles. “Techniques like the ones used by the agencies on Weinstein’s behalf are almost always kept secret, and, because such relationships are often run through law firms, the investigations are theoretically protected by attorney-client privilege, which could prevent them from being disclosed in court.” [Ronan Farrow, The New Yorker]

Would it help to abolish confidentiality in settlements, as some urge? “California State Sen. Connie Leyva… said she plans to introduce a bill next year to prohibit nondisclosure agreements in financial settlements that arise from sexual harassment, assault and discrimination cases. The rule would apply to public and private employers, she said.” [Danielle Paquette, Washington Post “WonkBlog”] “Getting rid of NDAs reduces accusers’ bargaining power so they end up with lower money settlements or perhaps no settlements,” notes HLS Prof. Jeannie Suk Gersen on Twitter and at more length in The New Yorker. Might that impair their chance of getting a private lawyer interested in their case in the first place? “[We would be choosing] to impair the ability of private parties to resolve a dispute in favor of the public interest.” [Scott Greenfield]

Free speech roundup

  • Florida “health coach” charges for nutrition advice, isn’t a licensed dietitian. Does she have a First Amendment defense? [Scott Shackford]
  • Results of Russian social-media manipulation episode could include foot in door for regulation of Internet speech [John Samples, Cato]
  • Some in Australia having trouble distinguishing “impersonation” of government from anti-government satire [Timothy Geigner, TechDirt]
  • Before deep-pocket publications can report on sexual misconduct by persons in high places, gauntlet of legal review needs to be run with special attention to on-the-record sources [Mike Masnick, TechDirt]
  • Ohio lawmaker introduces anti-SLAPP bill that pioneers novel protections for anonymous speakers [John Samples, Cato]
  • “Nadine Strossen’s Next Book — ‘Hate: Why We Should Resist it With Free Speech, Not Censorship'” [Ronald K.L. Collins] “Sanford Ungar Heads New Free Speech Project at Georgetown University” [same]

DeVos, Title IX, and sex on campus, cont’d

Part II of Emily Yoffe’s investigation for The Atlantic is if anything more explosive than the first: the campus assault survivor movement promotes concepts of the effect of trauma on memory (contradictory, fragmentary, belatedly-retrieved and even suggestion-induced memories ought not be discounted as forensically probative) that replicate key elements of the repressed childhood memory/dissociation scandal of a generation past (“believe the victims”). And Part III and last: What role does race play?

Debra Saunders quotes me in her new column on Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’s new decision to reconsider the Dear Colleague and Blueprint policies of the Obama years: [Las Vegas Review-Journal/syndicated]:

Their decision [four Harvard law professors’] to release this memo, said Walter Olson, a senior fellow at the Libertarian-leaning Cato Institute, sends the message that if you want to defend the policy, “you’re not going to have to argue with Libertarians and conservatives” only, you are going to have to argue with left-leaning legal scholars who also care about fairness and due process….

“So much momentum has built up for federally driven changes in campus discipline and rules, so much momentum for unreasonableness,” Olson said, but the unfairness was so striking that it brought together feminists, Libertarians and Trump supporters.

Still, he added, “It took a great deal of courage for [Education Secretary Betsy DeVos] to do this. It would have been easy for her to find some way to dodge it, or postpone it.”

More accounts of discipline at particular campuses: Jesse Singal, New York magazine (USC, Matt Boermeester case, putative victim denies abuse); Nicholas Wolfinger, Quillette (University of Utah).

Yes, feds need to rethink campus sexual misconduct policies

A series of tweets I did about Thursday’s major announcement on Title IX policy from Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos:

I went on to explain that it all starts with the Department of Education’s OCR (Office for Civil Rights) 2011 Dear Colleague letter, and the further guidance that followed, which I wrote up here.

That’s a quote by Yoffe from a California Law Review article by Jacob Gersen and Jeannie Suk Gersen previously noted in this space here and here.

The courageous Harvard Law professors who called for a rethink of the Obama-era policy — Janet Halley, Elizabeth Bartholet, Jeannie Suk Gersen and Nancy Gertner — were profiled in a recent issue of The Crimson and in earlier coverage in this space here and here.

More coverage of DeVos’s speech and initiative, in which she pledged to use appropriate notice-and-comment methods rather than Dear Colleague guidance to introduce changes (“The era of ‘rule by letter’ is over”): Christina Hoff Sommers/Chronicle of Higher Education, Benjamin Wermund/Politico, Jeannie Suk Gersen/New Yorker, KC Johnson and Stuart Taylor, Jr./WSJ and cases going against universities, Johnson/City Journal, Bret Stephens/NYT (“no campus administrator was going to risk his federal funds for the sake of holding dear the innocence of students accused of rape”), Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, Hans Bader/CEI, Scott Greenfield and more (no basis in law to begin with), Robby Soave/Reason and more.

February 8 roundup

  • Freedom of association is at risk from California’s effort to crack open donor names of advocacy nonprofits [Ilya Shapiro on Cato Ninth Circuit amicus]
  • “Center for Class Action Fairness wins big in Southwest Airlines coupons case, triples relief for class members” [CEI, earlier here, here]
  • Campus kangaroo courts: KC Johnson and Stuart Taylor Jr. have spent a week guestblogging at Volokh on their new book (first, second, third, fourth, fifth, earlier links; plus Christina Hoff Sommers and WSJ video interviews with Stuart Taylor, Jr.]
  • Despite his I’m-no-libertarian talk, two 2015 cases show Judge Neil Gorsuch alert to rights of Drug War defendants [Jacob Sullum]
  • Drug pricing, estate/inheritance double tax whammy, shaken baby case, mini-OIRA in my new Maryland policy roundup [Free State Notes]
  • And the legal fees flowed like water: dispute with Georgia over water rights has clocked $72 million in legal bills for Florida [Orlando Sentinel]

Crime and punishment roundup

  • December Cato conference on criminal justice (Ken White, Harvey Silverglate, Hon. Shira Scheindlin, Kevin Ring, too many others to list) now online (earlier);
  • Justice Scalia and criminal law: Federalist Society National Lawyers Convention panel with Rachel Barkow, Stephanos Bibas, Orin Kerr, Paul Larkin, Jr., and Hon. Stephen Markman (Michigan SC), moderated by Hon. David Stras (Minnesota SC).
  • Nominee Neil Gorsuch and the criminal law [Andrew Fleischman/Fault Lines, William Patrick/Florida Watchdog, Kevin Ring, Eugene Volokh]
  • Are you sure you want to prosecute drug overdoses as murders? [Scott Greenfield]
  • “Three anonymous allegations of criminal activity within the past year” can result in eviction threat under NYC’s no-fault nuisance eviction law [Allie Howell, Economics 21]
  • Think lawmaking was more rational in the old days? How panic in Congress brought us the 1986 drug law [Radley Balko]
  • If your mission is truth-finding or criminal justice, “Start By Believing” is wrong approach [Eugene Volokh on campaign by Arizona Governor’s Commission to Prevent Violence Against Women] Two ethicists propose demoting standard of proof in U.K. rape prosecutions from beyond a reasonable doubt to preponderance of the evidence [Aeon via Community of the Wrongly Accused, which takes a different view]