I REMEMBER WHEN WE THOUGHT OF LAW SCHOOLS AS PROMOTING A FREE SOCIETY: The Emory Law Journal Scandal: Coda.
In my last article, I detailed the cancellation of Professor Lawrence Alexander’s invited contribution to the Festschrift honoring Emory University law professor Michael Perry. As I and many other commentators pointed out, the actions by the editorial board of the Emory Law Journal (ELJ) were a shocking abandonment of fundamental principles of scholarly discourse in favor of wokeism and the ELJ’s self-declared partisanship.
Since then, there have been a few developments. First, another scholar who yanked his Festschrift contribution in protest over the ELJ board’s immature tantrum has written on the controversy. Northwestern University law professor Andrew Koppelman published his account at the Chronicle of Higher Education, in a piece accurately entitled “Scandalous Suppression at a Law Review.”
Professor Koppleman notes that a Festschrift invitation “normally includes a commitment to publish if basic scholarly standards are met,” and that the demands by the student editors of the ELJ to bowdlerize Alexander’s article were a “fundamental betrayal of the mission of a scholarly journal.” Koppelman’s views are particularly poignant because he supports the “systemic racism” thesis that Alexander’s piece challenges. Despite this disagreement, Professor Koppelman nevertheless condemned the ELJ’s editors’ decision to nix the article because they found it “hurtful” and “divisive”. . . .
Per my communication with Professor Alexander, here is the complete memo that Executive Articles Editor Shawn Ren sent him. . . .
Thus, contrary to Emory’s official statement, it was only after Professor Alexander declined, as the ELJ told him he could, to accept certain “suggestions” that the editorial board decided the article was so “hurtful” and “divisive” that it could not publish it. As noted by law professors Koppelman, Turley, Heriot, and others with decades of experience working for and with law reviews, this was hardly the typical or expected editorial behavior of a student-edited law journal.
Nope. It was highly unprofessional.