Is it time yet to take Trump seriously?

Many across the United States and across the world watched with horror as the events and aftermath of Charlottesville unfolded this past week. It was absolutely surreal, however, to watch these events unfold from Berlin, where I was visiting.

There, I understood with greater nuance how a charismatic leader, the repression of unfavorable journalism, and a large working class looking for someone to blame for their struggles created the perfect storm for Nazi ideology to take hold. Further, it was impossible not to recognize the extent to which Germany instilled a culture of remorse and remembrance in a way that the U.S. never did for its own crimes. I toured the Sachsenhausen concentration camp, where the sickening words “arbeit macht frei” (“work will set you free”) are wrought into the iron entrance gates. It chilled me to imagine how many people were led through those gates believing that if they simply worked hard and trusted in Hitler’s agenda, they might eventually prevail in the face of adversity.

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Dear Heather Mac Donald

Dear Heather Mac Donald,

In September, you came to Harvard Law School on the invitation of The Federalist Society to discuss the findings of your new book, The War on Cops. Because the audience was left with a negligible amount of time to engage, I wanted to take this time to respond.

Your credentials are very impressive, and you came equipped with a significant amount of data in support of a narrative that there is currently a “War on Cops.” However, I wonder if you have ever read these words from Martin Luther King Jr. in his famous letter written from Birmingham Jail:

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A Vote For Hope

Many of us feel this week that, in the words of Aaron Sorkin, “hate has been given hope.” Emerging from this post-election frenzy, I want to offer some thoughts that have made me feel more hopeful today than I did yesterday.

What remains as unequivocally true today as it was before November 8?

Although the results of this election may have shocked the conscience of our country’s founders, they are not inconsistent with the design of democracy. This vibrant, rowdy, sometimes unruly process of democracy envisions wins and losses, new ideas, and even candidates that we never expected to rise to the fore.

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If I Did It All Over Again

Since one of the most exhilarating experiences of my summer was rotating between couches to watch Ezra Edelman’s five-part ESPN documentary OJ: Made in America, I felt inclined to share my own tell-all account of how I would do 1L, if I did it all over again.

Step 1. Start preparing for exams early.

What I have found to be, perhaps, the most difficult adjustment to the Bizarro World that is law school is the fact that no matter what you learn during the semester, the only factor that typically has a material effect on your eventual transcript is your performance on a three- or eight-hour exam at the end of the semester. If I did 1L all over again, I would let this single reality be my guide.

It is all too easy to be whisked away by the decorated language of Cardozo opinions, but unless Cardozo can teach you how to issue spot, your flowery friend might just leave you out of luck. I do not mean to diminish the importance of learning the substance of the law, but only to emphasize that for the first time in many of our educational lives, substance will only get you so far. Continue reading “If I Did It All Over Again”

A Night of Seder Solidarity

I spent Tuesday night at HLS’ Sixth Annual Freedom Seder, which was my first Seder of any kind, and was definitively one of the best events I’ve attended this year. Supplementing the typical Seder’s four traditional questions with a set of questions generated by the event’s leadership committee stimulated fascinating conversation, to say the least. The questions, each paired with a glass of red wine, were as follows:

First Cup of Wine: Communities gather for many reasons. Tonight we gather for food, conversation, and reflection. Describe a time when your family or community has gathered and why it was meaningful to you…

Second Cup of Wine: What injustice do you see in the world that you hope future generations will never have to face. Why?

Third Cup of Wine: Describe a time where you were motivated to stand up against something you believed was unjust. What pushed you over the edge to action? Have you ever remained silent and had regrets? What challenges stood in the way?

Fourth Cup of Wine: The road to justice is often paved with low expectations and pessimism. Throw that out for a few minutes. What is your radical hope for the future? What would it look like?

These guiding questions invoked the sharing of personal narratives and visions for the future that made for a candid and powerful dinner discussion. However, the experience also made me question my own upbringing—namely the fact that I attended a predominately Jewish school for twelve years of my life, yet had never attended a Seder. What barriers existed that allowed my peers and me to live alongside each other for over a decade, but to never share such intimate cultural moments as these? Sure, my social calendar reached its apex through my attending the deluge of Bar and Bat Mitzvah’s in seventh grade, but what more would I have been able to understand about the cultural lives of my peers had I had the opportunity to engage with them through the experience of a Seder? What more would my peers and their families have been able to understand about me?

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“Post-Postergate” Reflections: I may be wrong, but I have something to say

In response to the thoughtful and candid article posted by Michael Shammas, I would like to contribute to a debate which I have been hesitant to partake in for fear that I might be wrong—and that someone, somewhere was bound to disagree with me.

I’ve found myself in an interesting place as a black, female, first-generation law student in the middle of the so-called “Postergate” controversy. There’s much that I am still processing in regards to the flurry of activity from the last few days, but there are a few things I know, and wish to share:

I support Reclaim HLS and the spirit of its mission. This first year of law school has been difficult for me, and while I hate to admit my weaknesses, particularly in such a public way, I don’t have any doubt that some of the difficulties I have experienced in disambiguating traditional legal reasoning have everything to do with being a first-generation law student with relatively little connection to anything blatantly legal (despite my undoubtedly privileged education in other regards). I’m not alone in this feeling, and it is experiential disparities like these that Reclaim is trying to address, amongst other issues. Moreover, this effort is not only supportive of students of color, but of students from various marginalized populations, although there obviously tends to be much overlap between the two.

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