Brian Leiter Has Principles

I’ve always thought of Leiter as a bully. But I think I’ve misjudged him. Amazingly enough, Leiter is defending John Yoo against the army of legal academics and students who are calling for his head. This is despite the fact that Leiter is firmly convinced that Yoo’s work was morally odious.

What would universities be like if allegations that a faculty member had committed a crime could trigger a university investigation into the possible crime? Law professors often serve in government roles; former government attorneys often end up in academia. The potential for allegations of criminality are rich with possibility. Universities would quickly become the surrogate criminal justice system, where aggrieved individuals could go to exact punishment for abhorrent government policies. I find it hard to believe that this nightmare world is one that anyone that cares about universities or freedom of speech welcomes.

Note that Leiter’s position will likely make him unpopular with his colleagues. I’m impressed.