Letters to the Editor

BY

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Inaccurate Crimson Reporting Mischaracterizes HLS for Choice Vote

To the Editor:

The Harvard Crimson recently reported on a meeting of a small group of Harvard Law Students, assembled to form an HLS chapter of “Law Students Against Alito.” (“Students Work To Bring Down Alito: Harvard Law students form group that favors a progressive judiciary,” Dec, 2, 2005). In that piece, the author erroneously asserted that Harvard Law Students for Choice voted to stay neutral on Alito’s nomination.

Harvard Law Students for Choice (HLS for Choice) never voted to stay “neutral on Alito’s nomination.” On the contrary, HLS for Choice is staunchly opposed to the nomination of Samuel A. Alito to the Supreme Court. We balk at his narrow conception of women’s equality and the fundamental right to privacy, and question his ability to judge impartially issues related to women’s health and reproductive rights, given his clearly stated political views on abortion.

Harvard Law Students for Choice did recently vote to hold off on joining the effort to create an official “Harvard Law Students Against Alito” group. This decision had nothing to do with our opinion of Judge Alito. Rather, we were unsure of the purposes and goals of the new group. It had been advertised to us as an effort to promote letter writing campaigns and petition drives – activities which have merit but which the majority of our board felt would not be the best way to spend our limited time and resources.

HLS for Choice joins the many students and groups on campus who are extremely concerned about what the confirmation of this candidate would mean for the Court and the country. We encourage and are eager to support productive organization to educate the law school community about Judge Alito and the future of the Roberts Court. We welcome the opportunity to raise awareness by working with the entire network of progressive groups that exist on campus under the informal umbrella of the Harvard Law School Progressive Coalition. We hope that such efforts will not be derailed by inaccurate and divisive reporting.

Zoe Segal-Reichlin

Lucy Stark

Former and Current Presidents of Harvard Law Students for Choice

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To the Editor:

I’m reading page after Record page of muck on this Finkelstein character, wondering when it would end. Then I read Karl Chang’s column, “Roger Pao, The Record’s Editor in-Chief: Oriental or Orientalist?” and the answer hit me like a 900-word dash of Chang Pao.

Mr. Chang, on behalf of Record readers, closet poets, anagrammatists, free speakers, Jews, and literate, rational folk everywhere, I thank you. Your column was the most potent thing I’ve read in a long time. And, best of all, true.

I’d say I’m already hungry for more, but … let’s just say I’m sorry I didn’t discover Mr. Chang’s column — or Mr. Pao’s poetry — until now. (The change-of-address form for the Zionist-Orientalist newsletter takes forever to process.)

Rob Friedman, Class of 1998

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To the Editor:

Fillmore’s Motel should be condemned haste post-haste. Condemnation by Harvard Law’s Ministry of Sanitation is appropriate for several reasons; I limit my discussion here to the least controversial-health code violations. While not at the level of a rat-infested residence with about eight inches of feces and garbage on the floor (as found in a Plain Roads home in Andover at the end of July 2005), foul odors waft through the hallway. Noxious fumes most recently graced the Motel on the wintry afternoon of Sunday, December 4, 2005–has our dear former President been exhumed; his remains stashed in one of the shadily-lit rooms? Motel residents appeared to be dropping like flies; several were spotted wearing hastily-devised gas masks constructed from HLS’ Answer to U.S. News. Empty bottles and half-eaten potato rinds decorate the lounge tables; must we wait for the rats? In any event, the absence of iron-clad evidence of vermin is not evidence of absence. Furthermore, the rear porch is at risk of collapsing onto the roof, debris dances about the place, and broken windows reveal the cost of disappointed vanity. Unclear whether the Motel still has running hot and cold water, gas, and electricity.

Abigail Powers would be turning in her grave. Isn’t her husband’s (and former student’s) legacy tainted enough?

Condemn Fillmore’s Motel; the next knock on the door may be for you.

Millard’s Ghost, Class of 1823

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To the Editor:

They say that the American public has an extremely short-term memory: all but the most serious scandals and blunders will be forgotten in a few weeks time. I now see that The Record is no exception to this hoary old saw. For the past several issues this newspaper has been utterly devoid of any coverage regarding President Bush’s Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers. With so much riding on the makeup of the Court, I cannot believe that Harvard Law’s newspaper of all publications could drop the ball so egregiously.

Harriet Miers is simply the wrong choice for this nation. First and foremost, her nomination reeks of cronyism. Can we really trust not only a close advisor but a bosom buddy of this president to be deciding crucial issues of executive power? Can we be assured that a woman who has called Mr. Bush the most brilliant man since Jesus will not tip the balance in the government’s favor on issues ranging from selective subsidies to detention of enemy combatants? The answer is a resounding no.

I can only wish that the problems ended there. Ladies and gentlemen, they do not. Harriet Miers also lacks the qualifications necessary to adjudicate from the highest court in the land. Miers received her J.D. from Southern Methodist University, which I am told involves nothing more than mailing in two UPC codes from a box of Apple Jacks. In 1992 she became the first woman elected president of the Texas State Bar, about as prestigious as the Pizza Hut Salad Bar. In fact, her crowning achievement is probably her tenure as chairwoman of the Texas Lottery Commission, where, to be fair, she was instrumental in cleaning up the scandal-plagued institution. Nonetheless, Miers’ resume is all but sterling – it’s probably even double-spaced. If this is the individual you want making decisions about such complex issues as racial vote dilution or the scope of “germaneness” in the context of government speech, that’s fine. Yes, I was being sarcastic in that last sentence.

Most disturbing, however, is the reality that we simply do not know how Miers would come out on a wealth of critical issues. Having never been a judge, she lacks a paper trail that could help us to identify a coherent judicial philosophy. Despite a few surveys which some speculate may… wait, what? She did?! Hold on, you’re kidding, right? Harriet Miers withdrew her nomination, you swear you’re not messing with me? Alito, who’s that? Really? Wow. Well, uh… this is a little awkward. Yikes, guess I should have done some more research beforehand, huh? Whew. Let’s just forget about all that stuff I said, ok? I’m, uh… I’m just gonna go. I’ll catch up with you later or something.

Justin Shanes, Class of 2006

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To the Editor:

“THE LEGEND OF THE DEAN AND JUDGE ROY BEAN”

When night comes to Langdell library,

Under “the stacks” and under the stairway,

Surrounded by air very old and unclean,

Lives the scary ghost of Judge Roy Bean.

There he lives enforcing his style of justice,

Along with a court clerk, a bailiff, and just us,

Who remember the time he met the Law School Dean,

They danced, they laughed, they counted their money,

They counted their diamonds, their gold and their honey,

They thought of their estates, their horses, their bo
ats,

They put on their makeup, same for person and ghost,

They laughed when they thought about how rich they both were,

The ghost had kept his riches, but not the Dean, no not her,

The best food she had eaten, the best travels she made,

While the poor starving law students were forced then to trade,

Their futures they had mortgaged because tuition was too high,

For many the debt would crush them, their spirits would die,

Yet on this fine night, at the end of the year,

The Judge and the Dean danced with good cheer,

They laughed at their profits which were good for the year,

They laughed at the poor students, their sad destiny was clear,

Yet when daylight came to chase away the night,

When doors were opened, and roaches ran from light,

The ghost Judge Roy Bean departed for the graveyard,

While the Dean and her riches danced their way through Harvard Yard.”

Charles Facktor (who recently found this poem on a bathroom wall in Pound Hall)

Class of 1990

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To the Editor:

I write concerning a matter of great and growing concern to all readers of The Record.

In a new and disturbing trend, articles containing frivolous subject matter and crude attempts at humor have been crowding more serious and apropos reports from the hallowed pages of this paper. This is unacceptable. The Record is no less than HLS’s public face to the student community at large, and as such should conform to the strict standards of decorum to which we apply ourselves every day. In short, this paper should take itself no less seriously than we do. The editorial staff should think about the long and solemn list of distinguished alumni, who read this paper with pride while plumed in their ascots and moustaches, and wreathed in pipe smoke. These jurists, these statesmen, these pillars of communities all over the world, would be gravely disappointed to read The Record of today. They would demand an immediate swing away from the smutty rumor-mongering and humourless satire to which this publication has stooped lately, and back to the sober heritage in which this paper’s long history is steeped. As one who has devoted countless hours and buckets of sweat to my law degree, I demand no less.

So I plead with the staff to let their more somber heads and articles prevail, while there are still urgent matters of controversy within the HLS community. We students still do not get our money’s worth out of the free coffee; the status of the ice in the skating rink is still as mercurial as the weather; we still cannot decide if we wouldn’t have rather gone to Yale; and graduates still flock to higher-paying jobs for no apparent reason. Until these and other issues so epitomizing of our postmodern age have been fully explicated, the pages of a publication as distinguished as The Record are not fit for jokes.

Sincerely,

Jeremy Daw

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