Walter Williams: Brett Kavanaugh & George Mason University snowflakes
George Mason University’s Antonin Scalia Law School hired Supreme Court Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh to co-teach a summer course called Creation of the Constitution. The course will be held 3,668 miles away, in Runnymede, England, where the Magna Carta was sealed 800 years ago.
Some GMU students and faculty have become triggered. One student told George Mason’s Board of Visitors, “It has affected my mental health knowing that an abuser will be part of our faculty.” Another said, “The hiring of Kavanaugh threatens the mental well-being of all survivors on this campus.”
The Washington Post reports that a petition to fire Kavanaugh has gathered almost 3,500 signatures and has the endorsement of George Mason Democrats. GMU students have created separate forms for parents and alumni to pledge that they will not donate to the university so long as Kavanaugh is teaching.
Youngsters with little understanding might be forgiven for their protest of a U.S. Supreme Court associate justice sharing his wisdom with law students. But faculty members cannot be excused. Professor Bethany Letiecq, head of the George Mason chapter of the American Association of University Professors, endorsed a call by UnKoch My Campus, another leftist group, for a congressional investigation of GMU’s law school’s hiring of Kavanaugh as an adjunct faculty member.
Fortunately for civility, Dr. Angel Cabrera, the university’s president, said that there were no legitimate grounds for an investigation by the university. He threw a bit of pablum to the protesters by saying: “I respect the views of people who disagreed with Justice Kavanaugh’s Senate confirmation due to questions raised about his sexual conduct in high school. But he was confirmed and is now a sitting Justice.” Considering that a college president is also a politician, that statement demonstrates good judgment.
According to The College Fix, after listening to the student protestors speak during the board meeting, Cabrera and Board of Visitors rector Tom Davis said they were proud of the students and appreciated that they spoke up and acted as engaged citizens. That’s nonsense.
George Mason University erroneously earns a reputation as a conservative/libertarian university because of its most distinguished and internationally known liberty-oriented economics department, which can boast of two homegrown Nobel laureates in economics. Its Antonin Scalia Law School has a distinguished faculty that believes in personal liberty and reveres the U.S. Constitution. The rest of the university is just like most other universities — liberal, Democratic Party-dominated. The chief difference between my GMU colleagues and liberals at some other universities is that they are polite, respectful and congenial.
GMU students and faculty may also be disturbed about what Kavanaugh is going to teach. In the course, he will explain how much the Magna Carta influenced the founders of our nation. The 1215 Magna Carta limited the power of central government and it forced a reigning monarch to grant his English subjects rights. It contained a list of 63 clauses drawn up to limit King John’s power, resulting in making royal authority subject to the law instead of reigning above it. It laid the foundations for limited constitutional governments, an idea offensive to most leftists.
Walter Williams is a professor of economics at George Mason University.