Letters to the Editor


LIPP not an ‘abject failure’I am writing in response to the Guest Opinion by Sean Flynn published last week concerning the Low Income Protection Plan (LIPP) for HLS graduates who pursue public interest law. As a LIPP participant, I do not think that the program is an “abject failure” as Mr. Flynn describes. I graduated in 1998 and am about to enter my fifth year of loan repayment. I have worked in legal services in Boston since graduation. I am married to a public school administrator, and we have a two year old child. We purchased a condominium in Arlington in 1999 for which we pay a mortgage. We pay for day care for our daughter. Mr. Flynn claims that it is impossible to buy a house or have a child after year three on LIPP, yet here I am. LIPP is one of many factors that have contributed to my family’s financial situation. Through LIPP, I get approximately $10,000 each year tax free – that’s a pretty big asset in our bank account. This is not to say we don’t make some hard choices. We recently gave up the goal of buying a single family home in our neighborhood because of the prohibitive cost, and chose instead to stay in our condo long-term. I don’t compare my life to HLS graduates who are working at firms, because there is no comparison. My husband’s and my salaries combined do not equal a starting firm salary. But I came to law school seeking a public interest career, not the kind of wealth available to firm lawyers. When I look at our friends who work in the non-profit sector – advocates, teachers, social workers – our financial profile is comparable. We experience the comforts and struggles of the middle class – no more, but no less.Most importantly, what Mr. Flynn never mentions in his grim portrayal is that LIPP allows participants to do jobs they love. This is worth a great deal to me. Mr. Flynn’s story is not the only LIPP story; neither is mine. There are hundreds of LIPP participants, and students shouldn’t assume that any experience is typical. Therefore, although I do not share Mr. Flynn’s personal experiences, I support his call to create a watchdog group, and if needed, to improve the program for current and future participants.Amy Copperman ’98

Plagiarism charge part of coordinated effort to defameIn his ideologically-motivated attempt to support Norman Finkelstein’s ridiculous allegation of plagiarism (Harvard Law Record, October 16, 2003), Tanweer Akram doesn’t even get Finkelstein’s charge right. Neither Finkelstein nor anyone else claims that I “lifted quotations” from another book “without making due acknowledgements.” Every single quotation in my book is within quotation marks and properly cited, either to its primary or secondary sources, as required by style manuals.Finkelstein’s false claim is rather different: he says that I originally came across several of these quotes in Peters’ book, and therefore it would have been more appropriate for me to cite to Peters than to the original sources. He is wrong for two reasons: First, I did not, in fact, first come across all of those quotes in Peters’ book; I had been using several of them in debate for years before Peters published her book. They appear widely in books about the Israel-Palestine conflict. Second, as to the very few quotes I did come across in Peters – fewer than a dozen out of approximately 2,500 sources cited in her book and mine – I deliberately tried to check them against the original, precisely because Finkelstein had similarly accused Peters of borrowing her quotes from other writers. When I could check a quote against the original, I generally cited the original; when I could not, I cited Peters. That is the correct method of citation. Who would Finkelstein have had me cite? Peters? The authors from whom she allegedly borrowed the quotes? That is why citing the original is the “preferred” method – the method I followed.As to my views regarding “collective punishment” and “torture,” Tanweer Akram got them all wrong, as anyone who actually reads what I have written can attest. This coordinated effort to defame me, because I have written a book that some anti-Israeli zealots don’t like, will not persuade any fair-minded person without a political ax to grind. It is part of a malicious pattern previously employed against others who support Israel, and it is designed to deflect attention away from a debate on the merits of our views. It will not work.Alan DershowitzFelix Frankfurter Professor of Law

Limbaugh plight illustrates folly of War on DrugsIn The Record last week, Adam White proclaimed that conservatives ought to put “principle before principal” and endorse the position that Rush Limbaugh, if found guilty of drug crimes, “deserves the punishment defined by law.” This is necessary, according to White, to avoid the appearance of hypocrisy that would result from publicly excusing Rush’s behavior while supporting zero-tolerance drug policies with respect to everyone else. Our nation’s “War on Drugs” has apparently taken conservatives so far from rationality that we must endorse prison time for a nonviolent, productive member of society to avoid being accused of doublespeak.Rush Limbaugh is accused of violating the drug laws by sending his maid out to purchase pain pills to which he had become addicted. He admits he is an addict and plans to enter a 30-day rehabilitation program. To what principle are we so intensely committed that we must advocate putting him in prison (for up to five years)? Is jail time really the most appropriate response to his behavior?In my opinion, most certainly not – but believe me, it’s not because of the “principal” involved. Personally, I find Rush Limbaugh to be hypocritical, self-aggrandizing and petty, to say the least. Nonetheless, his alleged behavior doesn’t warrant criminal sanctions. He needs help, just like a lot of other people we choose to imprison instead. “But he broke the law,” goes the typical response, “what about that?” Put simply, the law is unjust. It often imposes heavier penalties on drug addicts than on violent criminals. Even worse, our efforts to “win” the War on Drugs have resulted in increased levels of violent crime and the erosion of our civil liberties. Instead of condemning Rush for the sake of consistency, perhaps we should reexamine the policies that got us into this rhetorical contradiction. There was a time, not too long ago, when conservatives stood for property rights, individual liberties, protection from unwarranted governmental intrusions into our private lives, and free markets. Now there are some principles worth fighting for.Traci Feit, 3L

An open letter to Kagan, SummersThe following letter was submitted to The Record for publication:Dear Dean Kagan and President Summers:We urge you to act to defend the nondiscrimination policies of the Law School and the policymaking integrity of the University by acting to oppose discriminatory on-campus military recruiting and the Solomon Amendment.Respect for diversity and inclusion of all viewpoints are highly treasured values in the Harvard community. For twenty years, Harvard Law School did not allow the U.S. military to recruit students though On-Campus Interviewing because of the military’s discriminatory practices toward gay, lesbian, and bisexual applicants. Meanwhile, the Solomon Amendment took effect, linking admission of military recruiters to federal funding for universities. In 2002, when the Department of Defense imposed new regulations and threatened to cut federal funds across the University, HLS permitted military recruiters to return to campus. As expressed by then-Dean Robert Clark, this change of procedure caused significant pain and anger in the law school community.Since the fall of 2002, other law schools have challenged the Solomon Amendment either through litigation or by means of administrative complaints. Harvard, as of October 2003, has taken no action. This seems to indicate a lack of concern about the effects of discriminatory recruiting on the student body. Gay, lesbian, and bisexual students feel particularly betrayed, but many other students are also con
cerned about Harvard’s failure to defend its nondiscrimination policy and about the precedent this may set for use of the federal spending power to influence academic policy and override institutional non-discrimination policies.We call upon Harvard to stand up for its longstanding tradition of nondiscrimination by actively opposing enforcement of the Solomon Amendment regulations. In addition, we ask that the University and Law School nondiscrimination policies include a disclaimer noting the military exemption wherever such policies are published, until discriminatory recruiting is once again banned from the HLS campus.Sincerely,HLS Asian Pacific American Law Students Association,HLS Black Law Students Association,HLS Lambda,HLS South Asian Law Students Association,Harvard Advocates for Reproductive Choice,HLS Democrats,HLS Student Animal Legal Defense Fund,Harvard Legal Aid Bureau,HLS Tenant Advocacy Project,Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review,Harvard Human Rights Journal Executive Board,Unbound Journal,Harvard Women’s Law Journal,and 26 editors of the Harvard Law Review