Law Professors

Several law profs land on watch list of academics who advance 'leftist propaganda'

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Eye and magnifying glass

Harvard law professor Mark Tushnet says he isn’t bothered by his inclusion on a conservative group’s new watch list of leftist professors.

“It’s not a big deal,” Tushnet tells the Harvard Crimson. “It comes with the territory.”

Tushnet is among nearly 200 professors on the “Professor Watchlist” created by the group Turning Point USA. The list aims to “expose and document college professors who discriminate against conservative students, promote anti-American values, and advance leftist propaganda in the classroom.” The New York Times, New York Magazine and the Chronicle of Higher Education have stories.

The watch list targets Tushnet for a May 2015 blog post saying conservatives lost the culture wars, and it’s time to take a hard line with the losers.

Critics told the Times that lists like the one created by Turning Point USA are intended to intimidate professors from speaking out.

Some professors on the list told the Times that the descriptions of their views and statements were inaccurate. The list relies on conservative outlets such as Campus Reform for many of its listings, and its descriptions sometimes appear to exaggerate the professors’ statements.

Other critics created parody submissions to the list on Twitter, suggesting Albus Dumbledore from the Harry Potter series and the professor from Gilligan’s Island. And at least one professor complained that he was “appalled” because he wasn’t included on the list.

Professors on the list with legal connections include:

• University of Pennsylvania law professor Regina Austin, for espousing critical race theory.

• John Jay College of Criminal Justice professor Gloria Browne-Marshall, for saying “Southern white radicals” fought the Obama administration’s health care law.

• Bioethicist Arthur Caplan, accused of comparing Trump’s tactics for gaining support to those used by Hitler.

• Ohio State University law professor Joshua Dressler, for saying that some people believed U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz’s statement about New York values might have been anti-Semitic.

• Georgetown University law professor Gary Peller, for criticizing the “unmitigated praise” for Justice Antonin Scalia in a law school press release mourning his death.

• University of California at Berkeley law professor John Powell, accused of saying the Bush administration took money away from protecting levees in New Orleans because the structures were protecting black people.

• Indiana University clinical law professor Fran Quigley at the Robert H. McKinney School of Law in Indianapolis. He criticized the Indiana Republican agenda in an op-ed and wrote that Haiti represents “a tea party fantasyland” with its rock bottom minimum wage, deforestation and virtually nonexistent public safety and government health care.

• George Mason University professor Craig Willse, who opposed renaming the university’s law school after Justice Antonin Scalia.

• University of California at Los Angeles law professor Jonathan Zasloff, accused of stating on social media that Republicans were catering to their KKK core of old, angry, white Southern men with reactionary views on race.

Updated on Dec. 2 to add that Fran Quigley is at IU’s Indianapolis law school and to clarify Dressler’s statement.

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