Not Beyond Politics: What the Al Franken Revelation Can Teach Us About Teaching Justice

The past few days–let’s be honest, the past year–I’ve grappled with how to teach my law students about eradicating misogyny and sexual misconduct without politicizing my clinic, classroom, or law school.  The hard truth is that perhaps I cannot escape the “politicization” of our legal system.  The law, and justice, are after all built on a democratic system that relies on elections and appointments to assign power and mete out justice. I’ve become more open in the classroom, the clinic space, and all my student interactions about both my outrage and my optimism.  Like many, I remain outraged–and frankly, anxiety-ridden–about last year’s executive office results (I still can’t type certain words like “President” and “T#u#p” in the same sentence).  Still, I harbor optimism and pride about the political mobilization it has triggered.  One connection, I believe, is the wave of victims speaking out about sexual misconduct inflicted on them by powerful men.  Can we as law professors use these news bites as teaching material? Absolutely. Sexual misconduct is almost always criminal conduct, and its impact on the victims is wildly misunderstood. Beginning to understand it better is an obligation of our legal system, so we can devise better legal responses.  Only then can we heal as a nation of laws and of humans, incidentally and systematically.  Over on Prof. Carolyn Grose’s blog, she gives a law student the voice she deserves to discuss Al Franken and its impact on her and the law. It inspired me: http://profgrose.com/having-the-courage-to-love-like-grown-ups-thoughts-from-a-former-franken-staffer/

 

 

 

 

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