Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Delay my law school exam, I had more important things to do.

So a law student has written a column defending the demands of other law students that their exams be postponed on account of the recent grand jury decisions in the Brown and Garner cases. He criticizes the opponents of the delay as not understanding why the students "need" to have them postponed.

His argument contains several points, trying to dispel the idea of "coddled students", that I would like to take down.

First, he describes his classmates at Harvard Law School, the world's most prestigious law school, as suffering from "total confusion" and "total despair" as a result of the twin verdicts in the Brown and Garner cases. These elite students at the definitive elite law school lacked the tools to evaluate the law and facts in the two cases of Brown and Garner, but blindly accepted non-expert media narratives that fit their worldview. When the decisions came back against them, they were "totally confused" by the grand juries.

These elite law students, not understanding that attorneys need to keep their heads on regardless of the circumstances surrounding them, emotionally invested themselves in both cases, and when their emotional investment didn't pay off, they fell into "total despair". He also speaks about how his elite law classmates are so ignorant of real-world policing and law that these two cases disillusioned them about the spotless integrity of police and the wisdom of the legal system.

But in between repeatedly claiming that real strength is knowing how exceptionally weak you are, he guts his first point by talking about the activism of his classmates. Days spent writing letters and emails, meeting and protesting - not studying, is how his classmates reacted to the news reports of far-flung police misconduct. His classmates were motivated to action by the deaths, not despair.

He then confuses legal work with political activism. He makes the case that this activism, protesting police for killing an aggressive and unrelenting attacker, is a real-world application of the legal theories that they will operate with professionally, despite the lack of connection between protesting and legal proceedings. He then claims that, for his elite law school peers, the Cause is important enough to suffer lower grades for. But they shouldn't have to suffer. Apparently having costs associated with your actions is for lesser people.

This is the most ridiculous argument I have ever encountered. It can only be the product of a spoiled, coddled mind that has never been in the same ZIP code as adversity, except for going on some poverty tourism to show how much he cares*. His first argument is the least offensive, arguing that his special snowflake classmates can't handle even minor denials because they've never been denied anything before.

But the second argument is just disgusting. This rich, elite, well-connected Harvard Law student is demanding that the law exams, part of the education costing someone a huge amount of money, be shifted to accommodate the desires of equally-privileged classmates so ignorant of the law that it's a pair of famous cases in the news media that show them how the legal system can fall short of expectations. That's a failure of their legal education, but that doesn't mean the exams should be shifted for their benefit. Let the students who put their study first benefit at the expense of crybaby activist grandstanders.

*"Care" is this case meaning "needs to buff up his college resume."

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