Jonathan Turley’s blog is part of my RSS feed collection. One reason I enjoy his work is because he is consistent in his views and articulates his position well. However, his recent piece on free speech issues related to the response to pro-Hamas demonstrations on college campuses in the last week was a bit sloppy. That some high-powered law firms rescinded offers of employment to Harvard law students on account of their views has received a good amount of publicity. After Mr. Turley touched on that issue (granting private law firms have discretion in hiring), he made a claim that I am less familiar with.
However, some have gone further to discuss these views as unprotected free speech and suggested that law students holding such views should be prevented from joining the bar.
I have not seen examples of people arguing that law students who support Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist groups, or more charitably justify their atrocities, should be prevented from sitting for the bar. At a minimum, these arguments are far less common than the broader debate about the views being expressed on college campuses. I agree with Mr. Turley’s position that abhorrent views should not prevent one from becoming a lawyer, but he provides no source for examples of people making this argument. While this is not the sort of disingenuous claim I examined in my critique of experts say headlines, it does read like trying to squeeze a side argument where it does not fit. The omission of a source is notable because he provides many sources for other issues raised in the article. For whatever it is worth, I think what we are seeing raises questions about U.S. immigration policy and the efforts to subsidize college tuition through federally backed loans, not admittance to the bar.