Thursday, November 3, 2011

Things I Have Read Recently and Not Liked

This Above the Law column on a cert petition in a First Amendment case, in which plaintiff is a teenager who couldn't run for student council secretary because she referred to administrators at her school as "douchebags" on her LiveJournal blog. Your humble correspondent's initial knee-jerk reaction was, "Exhibit 2,114 of why I am a libertarian and not a conservative."

And then my immediate post knee jerk reaction was... it's interesting that a post at a law blog would hit the theme of professionalism so hard. You'll notice that plaintiff Ms. Doninger's sin, in this columnist's eye, was that this behavior would be inappropriate in many professional environments. Indeed it would be, and I doubt that anybody seriously disputes that the loss of the school secretary position is important in the greater scheme of things. But the actual doctrine regarding how schools may regulate off-campus speech in the Internet age is far from settled, and untangling the relevant precedent is actually quite interesting. Yet the ATL columnist opts to wave that inside instead for snark along the lines of "Bet she's going to grow up to be the kind of lawyer who wears ballet flats when pumps are really called for." It reminds me of much of what I disliked about law school: the near obsession with the mannes and mores of becoming a Professional coupled with low levels of interest in the law itself.

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