Friday, April 6, 2012

Academics: Read This Judge's Question

Chief Judge Sandra Lynch, addressing a question to a federal lawyer during an appellate hearing this week:

"Are you arguing then that there is a per se rule that it is never, when it involves a criminal prosecution, there is never any possibility of an academic privilege?...It's not clear to me whether you are arguing that there is an automatic rule that the First Amendment can never trump a criminal prosecution, or whether you are saying in most cases a criminal prosecution is a sufficiently legitimate government interest to override any First Amendment claim being made."

The important part of the lawyer's answer: "I can't think of where it would."

Prosecutors and university lawyers will be citing these cases for decades. The outcome will echo long and loud.