September 29, 2004

Beria's Lesson for HLS

[Update: The plagiarism problem is, in fact, Tribe's. The use of the Beria quote, and the implicit assault on the good name of Harvard Law School and its academics is by fellow Harvard professor, Alan Dershowitz]

Apparently Laurence Tribe is going around quoting Lavrenti Beria to the effect that all Harvard Law School professors are vulnerable to some charge or another and that the administration at HLS (or is it law schools in general) can bring down any one of them at any time by design. The really stunning part is that this is viewed as a viable defense by Prof. Tribe in his own plagiarism scandal.

Prof. Tribe (for those who haven't followed the scandal) has admitted to lifting without attribution a small passage from another professor's work in the field of constitutional law. Among his several defenses, he used Beria's famous line "Show me the man, and I'll find you the crime". This line has always been taken to mean that the purposeful complexity of Soviet law made everybody a criminal by design, that lawful compliance with the state was impossible.

The entire staff of HLS should be scandalized at this accusation on their honor and professionalism. Those paying tuition should seriously be taken aback as well. What are they paying for?

HT: Pejman Yousefzadeh

Posted by TMLutas at September 29, 2004 08:52 AM