Members of law faculty protest Supreme Court ruling in 2000 election

By Cathy Cockrell, Public Affairs

24 Jan 2001 | Eleven members of the Berkeley law faculty have signed a statement by American law professors protesting the U.S. Supreme Court's intervention in the 2000 presidential election.

Appearing as a full-page ad in the Jan. 13 issue of the New York Times, the statement by 554 law teachers said, in part: "We are professors of law at 120 American law schools, from every part of our country, of different political beliefs. But we all agree that when a bare majority of the U.S. Supreme Court halted the recount of ballots under Florida law, the five justices were acting as political proponents for candidate Bush, not as judges."

"By taking power from the voters, the Supreme Court has tarnished its own legitimacy," the statement concluded. "As teachers who lives have been dedicated to the rule of law, we protest."

Professor Robert Merges said he learned of the statement, which law professors can sign via the Internet, from a colleague in Palo Alto. "Although I'm not a particularly lefty sort of Democrat," Merges said, "I just thought that the Supreme Court opinion was one of those really outrageous stretches. And I just thought we should not let it go uncommented on."

Merges called the court's historic opinion in the election "one of those educational opportunities."

"I am constantly trying to convince my students that there's a difference between law and politics," he said. "Coming into law school, they usually don't believe that. And an opinion like the Supreme Court decision makes that conversation a lot harder, from my point of view - when the Supreme Court seems to be so transparently engaged in, as we would say, a 'results-originated' piece of judging."

Other Boalt Hall signatories were Lauren Edelman, Angela Harris, Linda Krieger, Christopher Kutz, Ian Haney Lopez, Stephen Rosenbaum, Joseph Sax, Marjorie Shultz, Norman Spaulding and Stephanie Wildman.

The Times ad was paid for by People For the American Way Foundation, a Washington D.C.-based political action committee.


Home | Search | Archive | About | Contact | More News

Copyright 2001, The Regents of the University of California.
Produced and maintained by the Office of Public Affairs at UC Berkeley.

Comments? E-mail