Today's news is raging with the story of how a big-mouthed "journalist" has taken POTUS' award of the Medal of Freedom to Rush Limbaugh as an occasion to accuse the great American as a "racist." The story reminded me of a piece I wrote several years ago:
Recently, while considering the use and abuse of the word "racism," I
was reminded of an episode that occurred while teaching constitutional
law [in New York]. For over 20 years I eviscerated the Supreme
Court Heart of Atlanta and McClung cases, tying most of my
students who agreed with the Court in logical knots and exposing the
result-oriented, dishonest, and indefensible majority opinion. Not
surprisingly, some of those students felt themselves aggrieved.
Paraphrasing today's vernacular, they considered my deconstruction of
the majority opinions worse than a mere "micro-aggression"! As I recall,
they considered it what today would be called a "macro-aggression"--
and worse, in a "safe space" no less, the hallowed halls of academe. (In
those days, there was no First Amendment roped-off area across the
One semester, soon after a two-hour class
devoted to the cases, I received an invitation to visit the Dean. After
the requisite small-talk, the following colloquy occurred:
Dean: I've had a group of your con law students in here complaining that you're a racist.
I stared at him, dead silent.
At least fifteen seconds passed.
Holzer: Well what?
Dean: Well, what about what they said?
Dean: Well, don't you have anything to say?
Dean: If someone called me a racist, I'd sure want to deny it.
Holzer: No doubt.
More silence, longer this time.
Dean: So you're not going to deny it?
Holzer: Deny it? I'm not even going to acknowledge it.
Dean: Well, I guess that's it.
I stood up and left.
He never mentioned the subject again.
(For those with the stamina to read my excoriation of the Heart of Atlanta and McClung cases, please see