The Corner

The Justice and Amherst College, Concluded

Yesterday afternoon, I posted an email from an Amherst alum who wrote to explain that, when Justice Scalia spoke at that fine college not too many years ago, he wasn’t really boycotted. Now another Amherst man has written an email clearing up a confused set of dates. The conclusion? An associate justice of the highest court in the nation was indeed boycotted . . . by the Amherst faculty, including members of . . . the law department.

See for yourself:

Mr. Robinson,

I’m also an Amherst grad and just read your post from another alum regarding Scalia and his poor treatment while speaking at Amherst.  I believe this other alum is mixing dates.  My guess is that Scalia is referring to an experience in February of 2004 in which several professors organized a boycott, not the May 2002 experience.  Scalia’s 2004 visit was written up in a story for the Claremont Institute and also discussed in the Amherst Magazine

The first paragraph of the Claremont story sums it: “Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia will speak on “Constitutional Interpretation” at Amherst College today, and his reception won’t be a merry one. Sixteen Amherst professors, including most of the law department, published a letter in the student newspaper last week announcing their refusal to engage Justice Scalia in debate or dialogue. The Justice, according to the professors, engages in “vitriolic name-calling” and does not subscribe to the “liberal ideas of constructive disagreement and debate.” By boycotting his lecture, they wrote, they would avoid lending their “tacit endorsement of this man’s presence on campus.””  

As the Justice himself said in yesterday’s segment of Uncommon Knowledge, “they’re interested in every kind of diversity except diversity of ideas.”


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