Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Nifong in Law Reviews

The “Nifong effect,” obviously, will long outlast the lacrosse case. The N&O recently reported how Nifong’s behavior had affected the state legislature’s consideration of criminal justice legislation in this session. In February, Nifong was cited by different federal courts (in United States of America v. Humberto Fidel Regaldo Cuellar and Billy Slagle v. Margaret Bagley) as an example of a prosecutor run amok. And Nifong has begun to appear in law reviews, with at least five published articles discussing various aspects of the case.

With one important exception, these articles referenced Nifong in passing, as an example for the author’s main thesis. The exception—a review of the media’s coverage through the prism of feminist law—provides a troubling perspective on how the politically correct still are trying to fit the case into their metanarrative.

The most convincing of the five articles comes from Loyola (CA) law professor Laurie Levenson, a former federal prosecutor and frequent talking head on cable news legal affairs programs. Levenson’s article focused on the LA-centric theme of “celebrity prosecutions.” She offered two main lessons: that “high profile cases are more, not less, likely, to create conflict issues for prosecutors” and that “prosecutors must safeguard their objectivity when interacting with the media.” (39 Loy. L.A. L. Rev. 1237)

Each of the lessons,” she correctly observed, “would seem to apply to Nifong’s situation, which is only the latest high-profile case to emerge.” In words that could have described Nifong’s mindset, Levenson argued that “interaction with the media, the increased zeal ‘to win the big one,’ and the reluctance to decline a high-profile assignment increase the chances that a prosecutor will face a conflict issue . . . These are the types of issues that often require third party advice from, for example, an ethics expert in the prosecutor’s office. There is too much temptation for the individual prosecutor to justify his or her decisions as one made in the best interest of the case. A person not so invested in the case is often in a better position to make that decision.”

Of course, in the lacrosse case, Nifong frequently spoke of himself as the office’s ethics expert—perhaps one reason why he had such problems.

Levenson also realized that “the one thing that distinguishes high-profile cases from other types of cases is the amount of publicity they receive. It is nearly impossible for prosecutors to avoid interaction with the media in high-profile cases. However, prosecutors can—indeed are expected to—interact with the media in a responsible manner. To ensure this, the ethical codes set standards for trial publicity.”

Of course, in the lacrosse case, Nifong’s behavior provides a case study of how prosecutors should not interact with the media.

Levenson’s perceptive conclusion: “High-profile prosecutors must be ready for prime time. Their every move will be under scrutiny . . . It is actually quite surprising how often high-profile prosecutors find themselves in ethical dilemmas.”


Levenson’s article was the only one of the five that made its case convincingly. In the University of Richmond Law Review, Justin Curtis reasoned that “Double Jeopardy protection should be restricted to its proper scope by eliminating the protection in non-capital cases under very narrow circumstances: when new and compelling evidence arises post-acquittal that identifies the acquitted as the guilty party.”

Among Curtis’ arguments for reevaluating the Constitution’s preventing people from being twice tried for the same crimes: we live “in an age where the media and state bar disciplinary procedures serve as checks on prosecutorial misconduct.” According to Curtis, “An excellent example of this proposition is found in the so-called ‘Duke Lacrosse Rape Case.’”

Curtis obviously didn’t spend too much time reading the New York Times or the Herald-Sun, which served not as checks but as virtual cheerleaders for prosecutorial misconduct. And, indeed, in this highest-profile case of prosecutorial misconduct in modern American history, the State Bar acted immediately (rather than waiting until after trial) only because of a tie-breaking vote cast by the Grievance Committee chair.

Whatever are the appropriate lessons to take from Nifong’s behavior, ending double jeopardy because we have sufficient checks on unethical prosecutors isn’t among them.

Nor should the Nifong case reassure people, as Saby Ghoshray suggested in the New England Law Review, that “when jurors become empowered as a result of exposure to complex forensic evidence owing to their television viewing, it becomes easier for both the prosecution and the defense to present objective evidence in the form of forensic testimony, which levels the playing field of the criminal justice system.”

Ghoshray only brought up the Nifong affair in passing, when he noted that “jurors not only bring their cognitive framework and objective evaluation into the decision-making process, but they are also painfully aware that the wheels of justice take wrong turns and may be at the mercy of a manipulating police officer or a vengeful prosecutor.” He suggested that “an appropriate case” showing this point “is the heavily publicized case involving the Duke lacrosse students accused of rape.”

I wish what Ghoshray says were true. But it’s worth remembering that last November, the potential jury pool in Durham County elected Mike Nifong—suggesting that even though they were “painfully aware that the wheels of justice take wrong turns and may be at the mercy of a manipulating police officer or a vengeful prosecutor,” 49 percent of those who went to the polls basically didn’t care. That’s not a reassuring lesson.

Finally, the law review of Brad Bannon’s law school, Campbell, recently published an article examining the balance between society’s right to the fair administration of justice and the free speech rights of criminal defendants.

Mattei Radu theorized that the ABA’s Model Rule 3.6—which gives defense attorneys the right to respond publicly to counteract the effects of bad publicity for which their clients aren’t responsible—“represents a compromise between competing positions and interests. As such, not surprisingly, it has many discontents. Admittedly, the rule is not perfect. Nevertheless, Model Rule 3.6 has been given an extremely difficult task and, all things considered, it has performed that task admirably.”

In theory, the lacrosse case should bolster Radu’s argument. The defense attorneys made perfectly appropriate use of motions and other public remarks to counteract some of the effects of Mike Nifong’s unethical behavior. Moreover, from the stand in Nifong’s ethics hearing, Brad Bannon gave a great example of how attorneys could use 3.6 appropriately: when he heard from the Times’ Duff Wilson that the paper was planning a pro-Nifong piece, he and other attorneys were within their rights to give Wilson information that might show the truth. And, once Wilson ignored this information, defense lawyers were within their rights to point out publicly where Wilson was wrong.

Unfortunately, Radu spent most of his time on Nifong’s remarks, not those of defense attorneys, and therefore never really showed why the lacrosse case illustrated the merits of Model Rule 3.6.

The only law journal article exclusively published on the case came in the Southern Illinois University Law Journal. That will be the focus of tomorrow’ post.

[A full-disclosure concluding point: in several recent comment threads, Group of 88 members or sympathizers have cited the concept of peer review to suggest that outsiders, including professors who do not specialize in the field, must refrain from describing--much less expressing any critical comments about--personnel, curricular, or publication-related matters in the academy. Under this school of thought, my comments on the above pieces should carry no weight, since I am not a law professor.]


Anonymous said...

No messing around with the framers. Nifong is truely a villan.

Gary Packwood said...

KC Said...

...A full-disclosure concluding point: in several recent comment threads, Group of 88 members or sympathizers have cited the concept of peer review to suggest that outsiders, including professors who do not specialize in the field, must refrain from describing--much less expressing any critical comments about--personnel, curricular, or publication-related matters in the academy.
Strange. Isn't this exactly what Nifong told the defense attorneys month after month after month about 'his' evidence?

Anonymous said...

I find it remarkable that law review articles are more clearly written and easily understood than the scholarly writings you have been focusing on.

Anonymous said...

To K.C. Johnson:

I trust your fairness and objectivity and know you will report fairly, especially in the legal arena, as you obviously have a brilliant legal mind. But if you are going to tell me that ANY law journal in America cited and quoted extensively from articles by Cash Michaels, I will take my ball and go home.

Repeat: Take ball, go home.


"An echo is K.C. Johnson mocking you ... you ... you." Greek Mythology. MOO! Gregory

Anonymous said...

Yeah, but 'something happened'.


Oh, right, the metanarrative happened.


The mainstream press, most conspicuously the New York Times, botched the story by imposing a race-gender-class narrative line. The facts were wrong, as Mr. Thomas said, but the narrative line was wrong too.

Anonymous said...

If Karla Holloway counts as a "professor of law" (as she apparently does) then so do you.

Fritz J. said...

Ah yes, the old chicken hawk argument. Since you are not a professor who specializes in their specialty, you are not allowed to express an opinion. Yet I'll bet that they feel they have the right to comment on politics, or the lacrosse case, or any of a number of subjects at which they have not demonstrated sufficient proficiency to be allowed to comment under that rule. In other words, free speech for me, but not for thee is what they are saying. By their standards they cannot comment on the Iraq war since they are not soldiers: they cannot comment on the president because they have not run for and won that office: they cannot comment on congress for the same reason as above: they cannot comment on any news articles because they have not worked as journalists, and so on. That argument is morally bankrupt and shows the person making it is unwilling to enter into honest debate because he or she knows it will only result in a loss. Of course they will not recognize that I am pointing to them with this comment because they are so egotistical that they cannot conceive that their moral purity could have a spot. In their own eyes they are smarter than everyone else, so how could they possibly be wrong. They crave respect, but there is nothing there to respect. They are to be pitied.

Anonymous said...

"Group of 88 members or sympathizers have cited the concept of peer review to suggest that outsiders, including professors who do not specialize in the field, must refrain from describing--much less expressing any critical comments about--personnel, curricular, or publication-related matters in the academy."

It's worse than that. What they really mean by "professors who do not specialize in the field" is "professors who disagree with them."

Anonymous said...

I got emotionally involved with this case for many reasons. One of the most compelling was that early on, just by connecting a few dots, I became convinced that Nifong, Gottleib, et al knew that these kids were innocent before they even went after indictments.
Maybe this sort of darkness makes the average DA nervous to hear about or even to think about. (I hope it makes them very nervous.)
But this case happened the way it did and prolonged study of it in the legal realm seems most likely. And what will sober academic Law people will say when they fully grasped how nifong tried to avoid researching the underlying facts..
Why oh why would he have chosen that path without a need to keep something big covered up.

Anonymous said...

To me, the best part of reading K.C. Johnson's blog is that I know he is trying very hard to provide honest and accurate reporting. Very precious, that.


"Government officials want to amend the Constitution to provide for the separtion of K.C. and State. Others have suggested they first attempt a trial separation." WASHINGTON POST (Aug. 14, 2007). MOO! Gregory

Anonymous said...

I think ending double jeopardy should be re-worded, e.g. to instead be permitting double jeopardy.

Anonymous said...

Is Curtis a Communist? He certainly has no respect for our Constitution!

Anonymous said...

We can sit in class and listen. We can be bullied. We can be lied about. We can be accused. We can be sent to prison. We cannot protest . . . America, right.

Anonymous said...

Poor KC. You are told that your summaries of Duke scholars are poorly done and then you over-react and say that the point is that you should refrain from expressing critical comments.

Since you are carrying around in your head a world-view that makes you the victim, let me put this simply: no one has claimed that you shouldn't criticize or critique. Your detractors say, instead, that the critiques that you offer are off-kilter, slanted, freighted with misdirection and obfuscation. When you are called on a point you resolutely refuse to concede and then ignore the criticism.

Your 'full-disclosure concuding point' is nonsense. You need to take a deep breath, go back and read the complaints that people have about hatchet jobs that you've done on scholars' work, and stop over-reacting and over-stating what are very serious though simple points.

There is a reason several posters said that they could no longer trust your assessments of people's work.

One of the reasons that I like Steven's contributions to this forum is that he leavens his criticisms of scholars with a measure of generosity of spirit towards their work. Colleagiality asks not that you not criticize but that when you do so you give the best version of your interlocutor's argument and engage with *that*. You refuse again and again to give anything except cursory summaries of scholarship with snide dismissals of its relevance or interest ("some people would think"), all in the service of ostensibly making a point about the need to be capacious in one's vision of the range of scholarship in the academy. (You offered that, at least, was one of your stated goals in a comment not too long ago.)

Your faults build up, one upon the other, until it becomes too exhausting and time-consuming to engage with your arguments: every summary must be double-checked, every gloss must be scrutinized to see what you've left out in the service of your cause, no criticism can be enaged as-is because the entire edifice you've built to support it is corrupted.

Oh, well, eh? You are preaching to your choir. You are caught up in the emotion of your own voice, which now, like at the end of this entry, has a strong note of self-pity. The only reason I post here is to let your readers know that not everyone agrees with you, and to let those readers who come here who disagree with you know that a dissenting voice has been raised. However faint that voice will be in the rabble of angry denunciations that will inevitably follow, it is still there, and I am sure will be heard--has been heard--by someone. Maybe even someday that someone will be you.

Anonymous said...

Justin Curtis should know too that the system is notorious for its inability and/or unwillingness to change or fix its decisions. Once guilty always guilty . . . it is worse than having a tooth pulled even to fix some of the most egregious cases.

Tim G said...

"Under this school of thought, my comments on the above pieces should carry no weight, since I am not a law professor.]"

And neither would theirs.

Anonymous said...

To 7:50am,

KC may certainly have his faults when he expresses his point of view, but he does have the cojones to post under his own name rather than hide and take potshots under the cloak of anonymity.

Ironically, I'm going to stay anonymous, but I'm no KC. Neither are you, I suspect. :-)

Anonymous said...

anonymous 7:50

Missed the point. It was a shot. Seven paragraphs of ad hominem attack.


Anonymous said...

To the 7.50:

Get ready moron, once KC's soon-to-be best-selling book hits the stands, idiots like yourself and your G88 comrades are going to get absolutely fried with the disinfecting light of public glare and scrutiny.

Squirming already, eh?! Just wait. Once the rest of the world sees you punks for the academic poseurs, racist bigots, and small-minded illiterates that you are, you're going really begin to squirm. I, and others, can wait for the end of your charade and academic shake-down act. Plying on white liberal guilt--as a career--can only take you so far and can only last so long. It's over--and you just better get ready for it.

Steven Horwitz said...

Anon at 750:

Thank you. I was "intellectually raised" to abide by the "Principle of Charitable Interpretation." It essentially says "assume your interlocutor is smart and well-meaning until the weight of the evidence is clearly otherwise." I also think it means one has an obligation as a reader to try to put oneself an author's shoes and see what he or she is trying to accomplish.

As for others who think KC and Stuart's book is going to somehow blow the lid off "the academic shakedown act," put your money where your mouth is.

As wonderful as I expect the book to be, I will take bets that:

1. It has nearly no impact on G88 type scholars and scholarship

2. It will, wrongly, be dismissed as a right-wing screed (and the racist and sexist rantings of commenters here will be used to support that claim).

3. In 3-5 years after publication, Duke's reputation and fundraising will have returned to pre-LAX levels.


If you want to change the culture of academia, you have to do what the G88 types did - a Gramsci-like long march. Send your kids to college with the exhortation to become a professor. Tell them to stick it out through grad school, keep their heads down and do excellent work, and get an academic job somewhere. And give money to universities who uphold the vision YOU have for higher ed and spread that word. That's how you get it done. KC's book will be a crumb bouncing off an elephant as far as academia goes.

Anonymous said...

Thanks KC

To Anon 8/14/07 7:50 AM
Your post is rather humorous. It resembles what would be expected of a guilty criminal defendant, as they scream to the world complaining that the prosecutor didn't include the mitigating circumstances in his presentation of the evidence.

Anonymous said...

A few questions: Why has Crystal gotten away scott free? Either she should be put in jail or a mental institution if to incompetent for jail. Also the falsely accused should sue the NY Time for every penny they are worth. The NY Times made up outright lies, slandered them over and over again, contrived stories to make them seem guilty when overwhelming evidence showed otherwise. When will they sue the NY Times, and other media sources such as Wendy Murphy and that blonde with the southern accent who wears to much makeup and puts words in peoples mouths. They should be sued as well. They crossed the line of irresponsible journalism and entered the area of malicious, vindictive, with intent to harm slander.

kcjohnson9 said...

While I'd like to disagree with Steve's prediction about the book's possible effect on the academy . . .

I fear he's dead-on correct.

The one possible effect could be among Duke alums--but here only because the administration has so whitewashed its behavior in official communication with alums. No one likes to be misled, especially when accompanied by a request to give funds.

Anonymous said...

The 'high roller' 9:25 wrote:

"KC's book will be a crumb bouncing off an elephant as far as academia goes."

Two words: Ward Churchill.

Steven Horwitz said...


If Duke's communication with alums has been that misleading, then I'm less confident in my third prediction. I will say, however, that it would take changing the minds of A LOT of small donors to really make a dent when there's so many big fish out there.

That said, many schools like to trumpet the "participation rate" of their alums. So the one way small donors can matter is that if enough withdraw, that participation rate could fall significantly, and that's something Duke might wish to avoid.

Anonymous said...

I disagree with your predictions Steve. As a member of the academy I was totally unaware of the level of scholarship in these programs. It's embarrassing, it reflects on us all. If *we* are not aware of the sorry state of affairs then parents certainly are not. I believe the book will have a positive impact.

To 9:28
Why has Crystal not been prosecuted? It can't be that she has information - no one would believe her. I wonder who has fathered all her children. Maybe a city official?

Anonymous said...

I have never seen a blogger continue to beat a dead horse over and over and over. When the civil suits get filed, or there is some actual news, ill check back, but this overkill on what is now irrelevant stuff makes me wonder how I can get a job as a professor. KC probably pulls down well over 100k a year to work 10-20 hours a week as a professor. Nice work if you can get it.

Anonymous said...

To 7:50
That was a quite a long post for not offering anything like a specific example of the mis-behaviour it ostensibly set out to reveal and criticize. KC has on a daily basis listed and described the specifics of the actions of his targets that offended his sense of academic justice.
Anon 7:50 has actually stumbled into creating another public example of PC/Academic Irony. He produced a lengthy screed consisting of hardly more than ad-hominem brick-bats accusing KC of offering only ad-hominem brick-bats.
If Mr. 7:50 had brought us a series of well encapsulated case-examples of KCs alleged mis-characterizations of others work, then a reader might have felt rewarded for having struggled thru to the end of what he wrote.
As for the Fate of Liberal Academia - I have no doubt that those folks can wall themselves off sufficiently to maintain their turf, at least for awhile. Whether or not they will retain much influence with a non-captive audience is a different matter.

Anonymous said...

To 7:50,
I appreciate your level tone and your appearance on these boards shows an apparent willingness to engage in discussion. Accusing KC of playing the victim card is humorous on a number of levels, especially in light of the ideological framework of the G88 which elevates victimhood to an academic discipline.

I am guessing you are on the board to defend the G88 from KC's inappropriate attacks and his failure to present all the arguments or to present his targets arguments in a charitable light. I would appreciate if you would use your time on the board to actually defend the G88 in any meaningful way instead of merely accusing KC of not playing fair. Feel free to address the lack of publishing among the G88, the marginality of their scholarship, or to defend their statements or actions that violate the faculty handbook. Or feel free to defend their preposterous notion that they want a 'dialogue', only to retreat behind their ivory walls and denounce anyone who would question them.

You ask for professional courtesy from KC. I will ask you why exactly one member of the G88 has shown their own students the courtesy of apologizing for intemperate and antagonizing political attack in a public forum. KC has every right to take these professors to task for their horrible behavior. Since they have chosen silence over dialogue, he is now skewering their lack of scholarship. KC is clearly demonstrating that there might be a link between a politicized academy and shoddy academic performance.

Duke is reaping the whirlwind, but anyone who has paid the least attention to academia over the last two decades knows the problems are inherent on virtually every campus.

I have enormous respect for KC and trust in his work after reading his blog for over a year as he has carefully and painstakingly covered every detail and aspect of a complicated story. You, the anonymous poster who suddenly appears and attacks KC, I do not know. I am willing to listen to defense of your friends. But merely calling KC unfair or bombastic will win you no points and no sympathizers.

Jack Straw

Anonymous said...

Dear 7:50:

I am intrigued by the style of the your post. Are you someone whose arguments in his/her normal setting carry so much weight that no underlying factual basis is required?

Now, I'm not saying that I agree, nor am I saying that I disagree, with your opinions and conclusions, 7:50. But, I do know that KC has provided substantive third-party factual support for his opinions and statements. I have been able to view the third-party factual support for arguments and make up my own mind. For the most part, after viewing the evidence, I find that I agree with KC's conclusions (and I recognize that this could be a consequence of philosophical bias).

But in the interest of fair play, I have a request.

To determine if there is anything (at all) in your assertions worthy of my belief, based not on your opinions, but on the elegance and proof of your argument...

Can you provide a single substantive, documented and referenced rebuttal to something that was previously posited and documented by KC -- one that doesn't rely on ad hominem attack?


Tom Inman

Anonymous said...

7:50 AM

"Colleagiality asks not that you not criticize but that when you do so you give the best version of your interlocutor's argument and engage with *that*."

What is your stance on grade retaliation?

Given Houston Baker's scholarly reputation and the fact he sent a letter of condemnation of its students to the Duke Administration, was it fair for him to do so? Why?

How is any 'forthcoming' book relevant to scholarly discourse?


Anonymous said...

We should remind the poster at 7:50 AM there is a difference between scholarship and poorly written fantasy.

Anonymous said...

Steven Horwitz, great post, I agree with your approach and conclusions. KC, I would also hope that there will be a groundswell of faculty concern, which might at least minimize the influence of G88-type faculty members. I for one cannot resist taking a cheap shot, hope my comments will not be used to reflect badly on KC's admirable work.

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:50am,
So, if I read the final paragraph in your post correctly, you are thanking those that disagree with KC for their collective noise, for "not waiting and for making [themselves] heard," and letting them know that you are listening?

I think I've heard that somewhere before.

Unless I misunderstood the reason for KC's expose on the G88, I thought he was simply informing us as to the direction of their respective studies, which all fit into the agenda that led them to infamy. I don't think anyone here particularly wants to read a formal scholar-on-scholar critique and I don't think KC ever stated that he would. For myself, as a Duke alum, it's enough for my checkbook and me to see where my money would be going.

Finally, for you to look down your nose at KC, from up on high, and complain of his bias is laughable. At least he has the integrity to stand by his words and to respond, whereas you and those of the same self-righteous ilk continue to sit in silence and refuse to communicate or respond in an open forum. To borrow from an alleged scholar, "it's [Tuesday] morning, time to confess." I won't hold my breath.

Anonymous said...

"Steven Horwitz said...
'I was "intellectually raised" to abide by the "Principle of Charitable Interpretation." It essentially says "assume your interlocutor is smart and well-meaning until the weight of the evidence is clearly otherwise."'

So was I. Ithink our disagreement is about what constitutes sufficient reason to revoke that assumption.

I believe the "Listening Statement" was sufficiently outrageous to to revoke the assumption for anyone who signed it.

I believe that continuing to publish in, read or cite the journal "Social Text" after Sokal experimentally demonstrated that it has no standards is sufficient reason.

I believe that still taking Marx and/or Freud seriously is sufficient reason.

I believe that making clearly fallacious arguments on a continued basis is sufficient reason.

It used to be very hard for me to give up the presumption of good faith, whcih resulted with my wasting a lot of time trying to point-by-point refute trolls and their non-internet equivalents. The unfolding of the Duke Lacrosse Burning has shown me many, many examples of indisputible stupidity and bad faith among academics. As a result my threshold for revoking the assu,mption of good faith is much lower than it once was.

In particular, based on my observations membership in a Womens Studies or African-Amreican Studies program is not quite sufficient reason to revoke the assumption, but is sufficient reason to seriously question it.

Anonymous said...

I am really beginning to enjoy reading the posts from those who disagree with KC or have negative things to say about him or his writings. Anytime KC posts something they think is improper, incorrect, misleading, etc there they are to call him on it and ask that he retract it or correct it.

It really reminds me of how I felt when I read the words, "what happened to this young woman."

Anonymous said...

7:50 Good writing - the "side walk psych profile" of KC is way off base.

Anonymous said...

Please don't get depressed Dr. Johnson! Think about those students during Nazi-Germany that tossed leaflets out windows to fall on the campus square.

What chance did they have of stopping a huge war machine ? But I bet they saved a few, Which is all you can hope for and which is more than most of us have every done.


Anonymous said...

To the 7:50 troll, Floyd sez:

"The new Madden 2008 video game was released this morning, please scurry on over to the Blockbuster and pick yo self up the special Flying Mayan Phallus edition for marginal scholars."

Anonymous said...

'"KC's book will be a crumb bouncing off an elephant as far as academia goes."

Two words: Ward Churchill.'

After years of effort Ward Chrchill is finally off the University of Colorado's faculty. He leaves with several hundred thousand dollars of "compensation" in his pocket. The same people who hired him and gave him tenure in the first place are going to be the ones choosing his replacement.

Gotta go with Steve Horwitz on this one. The intellectual corruption of academia is huge problem with a lot of inertia.

Anonymous said...

To Steven Horwitz and KC:

I tend to agree with Steve's predictions. One factor that we cannot yet assess and that might play an important role in the next few years is the effect that these revelations have on the rest of the faculty. It might be nothing, or it might be that a lot of pissed off people take notice of the different standards. If that happens, it's anybody's guess how things go at Duke.

Anonymous said...


Be brave, be strong and remember ALL we have come through.

I don't expect the walls of Women's Studies, AA and all that sort to crumble immediately but change is in the wind. KC's book will pick up the wind speed.

Remember Ronald Reagan "Bring down that wall!" It happened.

I had moments of doubt that we would hear the word innocent but we DID.

We will hear sooner than later Brodhead has accepted another position~maybe in Mongolia :).

Anonymous said...

I may have missed it, but have not read anywhere that Ward got "compensation", let alone hundreds if thousands of dollars.

Anonymous said...

Agreed, the book might well have significant impact. Who's to know?

And Debrah, you've won the best dramatic actress award for blog performance. You can come on back now and kiss and make up. ;))

One Spook said...

In following this Blog nearly since its inception, I find Jack Straw's reply at 10:29 to be the best comment I have seen to date.

Thank you, Jack.

Many of you have presented my major concern, that of this 7:50 poster's ad hominem attacks and lack of examples cited --- I'll not add to that.

But what really struck me was this 7:50 poster's reference to Professor Horwitz, gushingly using the familiar "Steven" (the old "good professor/bad professor ruse):

One of the reasons that I like Steven's contributions to this forum is that he leavens his criticisms of scholars with a measure of generosity of spirit towards their work.

I mean no disrespect but, unless I overlooked it, Horwitz has not provided any "criticism of scholars" to the degree of KC's parsing of the "scholarship" of some of the Klan of 88 we've seen here.

But that fact didn't prevent Horwitz from replying,
"Thank you. I was "intellectually raised" to abide by the "Principle of Charitable Interpretation."

Please. It is painful to see a man dislocate his elbow patting himself on the back.

The words and actions of this Klan of 88 abetted efforts to railroad three innocent men into jail. I believe we are way beyond a time when discourse with these charlatans needs to be "charitable." Is it not obvious that their agenda-driven "scholarship" is dangerous? Where then is a requirement that we tell them to go to hell in a manner that they look forward to the trip?

KC has provided an honest, fair and candid assessment of the "work" of members of the 88, and not one commenter has offered any reasonable argument to the contrary.

I'm not opposed to "edgy" and off beat, non-traditional ideas surfacing in the academy.But, if "peer reviewers" and other members of the academy had identified in frank terms what this so-called "scholarship" was at the outset, we would not be where we are today with these poseurs in positions of power and influence in our universities.

One Spook

Anonymous said...

You possess a great capacity for sleuthing. Horwitz has played no role at all. I tend to agree with you that some of the rats are coming out of their holes lately. So much "advice" for Professor Johnson, as well as criticism.
He takes it all in stride. Mark of a real man who knows what he's doing.

Steven Horwitz said...

Aw, you're all talking about me...

Look, I haven't pretended to give a critical assessment of the content of the G88's work. I HAVE criticized their behavior toward their students in no uncertain terms.

What I have done is try to at least imagine why others might take their work seriously.

But if you insist, and if it's necessary for me to demonstrate to the skeptics that I'm not a G88 butt-kisser (one look at my cv online should dissuade you of that), someone pick a prominent paper by one of the G88 social scientists for me to read and review. I'll be happy to do it.

Anonymous said...

Just look at the list of people who've reviewed Professor Johnson's book. Read what they have to say. This is not an ordinary campus produced story put into print, and from what I have been reading here the last few days from his detractors and critics, EVERY PROFESSOR AROUND IS EITHER JEALOUS OF HIM OR SCARED TO DEATH THAT THEY ARE IN IT!

Anonymous said...

To the always anonymous 7:50 am and others,

Here, AMac provides a wonderful tutorial for any G88 member in good standing (or G88 aspirant or G88 apologist) in the art of effective blog commentary.

But more importantly, upon successful completion of AMac’s course, a G88’er could, of course, use the end product to “punch-up” an otherwise embarrassingly thin resume′ of “scholarly” publications.

Anonymous said...


Can you please dispense with Klan of 88? It sounds stupid mostly.These people should not be compared to lynchers, as much as you think they should.

As to effect of KC's book--what Taylor and Johnson have going for them is this equation:

preferential treatment (PT) + lowered academic standards (LAS)= racism (R) + rush to judgment (RJ)

PT + LAS = R + RJ

If anyone takes the time to study the state antidiscrimination referenda in places like California, you'll know that the people are getting fed up with preferential treatment for blacks.

What happened at Duke is a natural consequence of affirmative action.

One Spook said...

Steven Horwitz at 2:23 replies:

" ...I'm not a G88 butt-kisser ..."

Maybe that reply might have been better added to the acceptance of that poster's compliment.

And, I had previously read your CV; you most assuredly ARE a capitalist, sir!

With respect to "Charitable Interpetation," I probably have too much anger about these issues to extend even a modicum of civility to this Klan of 88.

My bad.

One Spook

Jamie said...

The 88 brought scrutiny upon themselves by signing on to that repulsive listening statement (and then lying about the statement's intent). They richly deserve whatever unease they feel: it was a heckuva lot more than unease that they wished upon the LAX accused.

Why look at their "scholarship"? Rather, why would one not? To claim that the 88's ideological prejudices had nothing to do with their signatures on that statement is simply preposterous.

Anyway, if KC's criticism is so poor and pointless, why not ignore it? Or, if his profiles are unfair, why not take out an ad and attack them?

As for why these profiles may seem to some like beating dead horses, well... those mangy horses are not dead, and there are 88 of them.

Anonymous said...

"What I have done is try to at least imagine why others might take their work seriously."

I understand, and I can see how taking that as a defense is a misinterpretation of what you're doing.

But to my taste what the activity described above is not very interesting. It's kind of like trying to figure out why some people take Scientology seriously.

I'd much rather hear your views on whether you believe you should take them seriously, whether the rest of the university should take them seriously, and by what mechanism a university should decide who to take seriously.

Anonymous said...


Okay, here is your assignment if you want to accept it:

L.D. Baker. "Profit, Power, and Privilege: The Racial Politics of Ancestry." Souls: A Critical Journal of Black Politics, Culture and Society vol. 3 no. 4 ( 2001.): 66-72. [pdf] [abs]

A pdf can be found at Lee Baker's website.


This blogger will self-destruct in 10 seconds...

Anonymous said...

Very good. I'd like to hear something honest from Horwitz as well. Not some blasé doom and gloom on Johnson's book.
(Wishin' and hopin' that it won't make any difference after people have read it.)
Cloak and dagger, I'd say.

kcjohnson9 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
kcjohnson9 said...

I should note:

I'm profiling other members of the Cultural Anthro. department, and the following week, to conclude the series, the highest-profile member of the 88, Bill Chafe.

But I consider Baker--unlike many in the Group--to be a serious scholar. It's also worth noting that he has, at least, made conciliatory remarks about the statement, even if he hasn't apologized, and therefore has gone further than any other Group member but Arlie Petters.

Steven Horwitz said...


Assignment received, accepted, downloaded, and printed. It's short enough to read this evening and write up a few thoughts in the morning.

kcjohnson9 said...

To clarify on the 3.32:

Baker's a member of the Cult. Anthro. Department, and some of the questions in his scholarship mirror Chafe's. The purpose of the Group profile posts is to avoid duplication as possible.

Anonymous said...


I purposefully picked a short one.

But please, analyze that piece in the context of market dynamics and equilibirum concepts applied to racial tension juxtaposed against capitalist profit motives, power politics and privileged possessions. (Haha -- but only partially kidding!))

Also, why did the white interloper in Hawaii focus on sugar cane and not pineapple?

Anonymous said...

I know it seems a "pile-on" on Professor Horwitz, but I can't help but take a running leap myself. I am concerned with your definition of "racisim" and how that definition may "chill" speech on this blog or elsewhere.

Is it racist to request that people take a second look at diversity quotas or diversity hires?

Is it racist to suggest that other people were racists?

Is it racist to say that an academic work is poorly written and/or basically useless?

Is it racist to ask a Black person to apologize?

Is it racist to ask a White person to apologize?

Is it racist to ask a Lesbian or Gay person to apologize?

Is it racist to expect a person to refrain from hypocrisy?

Is it racist to use the word "lynch" for something other than the lynching of African-Americans from 1860 to 1940?

If you answered "yes" to any of the foregoing questions, my follow-up questions are:

1. Is that just your opinion, or is it codified somewhere I can fact-check?

2. Isn't it racist (or genderist) to think that the Klan of 88 have so little backbone that they cannot take the scrutiny or the heat?

It is amazing to me that, for over a year, K.C. Johnson has stood toe-to-toe with 87 other academics in a battle of ideas, and the 87 have yet to land a single blow. It's like varsity versus the JV, except you would expect 87 JV players to smear just one varsity player.

As for the "crumb bouncing off an elephant" remark, there are greater stakes than just Duke University or even "academia." I expect K.C. Johnson's book to sell very well in Durham and at some universities, but I also expect it will be a NATIONAL bestseller. People in California and on the United States Supreme Court who have yet to act will read it. Synergy, my man!


"In the year 2525, if K.C.-borg is still alive. If PC can survive...." Zager & Evans. MOO! Gregory

Anonymous said...


I answered yes to 8 out of 7 of your questions.

Do I get extra credit?!!

Anonymous said...

Inman, your extra credit questions:

1. Is it misogynistic to question a Duke professor for grading based upon a student's use or non-use of a jock strap?

2. Is it racist to call into question the character of a person of one race who called people of another race, "farm animals"?


"In the year 3535, K.C.-borg is still alive, PC has already died ...." Zager & Evans. MOO! Gregory

Anonymous said...

JLS says...,

These writers in law reviews are of course missing the entire point.
Despite whatever the technical bar charges were, Nifong was sanctioned because:

1. He took action against people he could have easly and should have known were innocent.

2. He took this action to racially inflame Durham to win an election he was about to lose.

Had he not done 1 and 2, that is had their actually been a crime his statements to the press would not have led to him being sanctioned. So all this talk about ethics and talking to the press is beside the point.

As far as commenting on the work of scholars. Even though the 88 gangsters position has little merit in their disciplines, it has even less merit in the case of law reviews that are editted by students.

Anonymous said...

His wife should bear some responsibility as well. There is more than enough evidence that she was the main Nifong-for-DA strategizer.
That creep is full of the "women's issues" and "race issues" agenda.

Anonymous said...

Gregory @ 6:54

I've struggled with the extra credit questions, but I'll give it my best.


1)Jockey straps are confining and accordingly are not appropriate symbols in a free thinking world. But brassieres are also confining and accordingly confinement cannot be the basis upon which a judgment is made. So my answer is this: the square root of four is two.

2)Farms are nice places to raise kids. Goats, in a specieist perspective, are like people. Their offspring are kids. Young goats can be taught to race on command. Accordingly, kids are racist farm animals. QED.

Anonymous said...

There is no evidence that Cy was the strategizor, Just quess work. the woman has never said one word in public. Nifong needed no help in persecuting these guys - just his own arrangance and brain.
As it looks like most people are not going to be called to testify -the "who will plead the fifth" votes are probaboy way off,

Anonymous said...

7:14, please use the "g" key when writing words like "guess". You and some others have been using the "q" key.

Very disturbing, unless you need glasses or something.

Anonymous said...

11:31 Who Cares? this is a blog - not a term paper. Disturbing is starving and abused childre - not a stupid misspelling.