PowerLine -> DOJ investigates Harvard for race discrimination + Today in . . . What the Hell?

PowerLine -> DOJ investigates Harvard for race discrimination + Today in . . . What the Hell?

Powerline image at HoaxAndChange

Powerline image at HoaxAndChange

Daily Digest

  • DOJ investigates Harvard for race discrimination
  • Profiles in Liberal Condescension
  • Today in . . . What the Hell?
  • The Diversity Fraud, Apple-Style
  • Court documents raise questions about Corfman’s account
DOJ investigates Harvard for race discrimination

Posted: 22 Nov 2017 04:13 PM PST

(Paul Mirengoff)The Department of Justice is investigating Harvard University’s use of race in undergraduate admissions. It has also warned Harvard that it is out of compliance with federal civil rights law because it has not provided documents the department requested.

The investigation concerns admissions policies that depress the number of Asians admitted to Harvard. Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color and national origin in programs that receive federal funding. Harvard receives federal funding.

Harvard has been sued by the group Students for Fair Admissions. The suit alleges that Harvard intentionally discriminates against Asian Americans in undergraduate admissions.

The plaintiff’s lawyer, in that case, welcomed news of the Justice Department’s investigation. He said: “Harvard’s Asian quotas, and the overall racial balancing that follows, have been ignored by our federal agencies for too long.”

Harvard, for its part, seems to be ignoring the government’s request for information relevant to the investigation. The DOJ complains that Harvard had not produced a single document it requested, despite a November 2 deadline.

As far as I can tell from the Washington Post’s report about the dispute, Harvard does not deny that hasn’t produced any documents. Instead, Harvard apparently argues (via its attorney Seth Waxman, the former Solicitor General of the United States) that it doesn’t have to produce the documents or, if it does, the production should be restricted to a subset of documents, with those redacted.

You can read the Justice Department’s response to Harvard’s arguments here. It seems persuasive.

The Department has given Harvard until December 1 to comply with its request for production. If Harvard doesn’t comply, the DOJ says it may file a lawsuit to enforce the University’s Title VI access obligations.

Compliance shouldn’t be difficult given the time that has already passed since the DOJ made its production request and given that Harvard apparently has produced essentially the same documents in the lawsuit mentioned above. It just comes down to whether Harvard continues to see itself as above the law.

I think what really underlies Harvard’s resistance is that the Obama administration tried to gave it a pass on its discriminatory admissions policies. The chief of the educational opportunity section in the Justice Department’s civil rights division under Obama said this week that the DOJ’s actions are unusual because federal education officials had already considered the issue of race discrimination in Harvard undergraduate admissions and decided not to pursue it. “It’s peculiar that you have a situation in which the Department of Education has dismissed a complaint and the Justice Department then decides to investigate under Title VI,” the former section chief said.

Actually, there is nothing unusual or peculiar about a new administration reversing the stance of a prior one on matters like this. Unless there is a procedural bar to the Justice Department’s investigation — and there does not appear to be any — Harvard’s real complaint is with the electorate, not with the Justice Department.


Profiles in Liberal Condescension

Posted: 22 Nov 2017 02:06 PM PST

(Steven Hayward)Ironically, once upon a time, liberals loved Winston Churchill, while many conservatives didn’t much care for him. Go back to the 1950s and you’ll see encomia to Churchill from Arthur Schlesinger and Isaiah Berlin (among others), and let’s not forget how much John F. Kennedy loved Churchill and was disappointed he couldn’t lure Churchill to the White House on Churchill’s last visit to the U.S. in 1961.

Meanwhile, many conservatives back then didn’t like Churchill. Robert Taft and other isolationists disliked that Churchill dragged us into another European war and then the NATO alliance after the war (a criticism revived more recently by Pat Buchanan.) William F. Buckley wrote harshly about Churchill at the time of Churchill’s death in 1965:

All those men who were moved by the martial rhetoric of Winston Churchill to go out and die also figure in any obituary notice of Winston Churchill, and they are not appeased by glossing over the final imperfection of Churchill’s life. . . May he sleep more peacefully than some of those who depended on him.

Buckley’s chief complaint was that Churchill gave in too much to Stalin and Roosevelt as if Churchill had unused plenipotentiary power (as WFB might have put it elsewhere) to have averted the post-war disorder. Buckley later revised his opinion of Churchill, largely under the influence of Harry Jaffa, as a certain recent book recounts.

Today, of course, it is liberals who dislike Churchill, starting with Exhibit One—Obama removing the Churchill bust from the Oval Office and sending it back to the British embassy.

Which brings me to today’s New York Times review of Darkest Hour, the biopic of Churchill in May-June 1940 starring Gary Oldman that opens in theaters today. The Times reviewer, A.O. Scott clearly doesn’t like Churchill, because of imperialism or something. . . Scott never quite makes entirely explicit. But it is clear that, like most egalitarian liberals, Scott clearly doesn’t like human excellence, which is why the repairs to the impulse to belittle not only Churchill but the Britons of 1940:

And like “The King’s Speech,” Mr. Wright’s film is a serviceable enough historical drama. But like “Dunkirk,” it falls back on an idealized notion of the English character that feels, in present circumstances, less nostalgic than downright reactionary, and as empty as those ubiquitous “Keep Calm and Carry On” internet memes. Rather than invite the audience to think about the difficulties of democratic governance at a time of peril, the filmmakers promote passivity and hero-worship, offering not so much a Great Man Theory as a great man fetish. . .

Churchill’s resolve, like the bravery of the soldiers, airmen and ordinary Britons in “Dunkirk,” is offered not as a rebuke to the current generation, but rather as a sop, an easy and complacent fantasy of Imperial gumption and national unity. Standing up to the Nazis, an undeniably brave and good thing to have done, is treated like a moral check that can be cashed in perpetuity. “Darkest Hour” is proud of its hero, proud of itself and proud to have come down on the right side of history nearly 80 years after the fact. It wants you to share that pride, and to claim a share of it. But we have nothing to be proud of.

“But we have nothing to be proud of”?? Seriously? I suppose it might make a good motto for the New York Times. I imagine Scott is another of those media grandees who hangs around Elaine’s wondering why so many Americans have come to despise people like him.

I urge all Power Line readers to go see Darkest Hour this weekend to juice up its opening numbers, and perhaps also to boost Oldman’s candidacy for best actor at the next Academy Awards. I’m planning to see the film on Friday, after which I’ll be putting down a long piece about Churchill in cinema and the various actors who have played him over the years, going all the way back to Simon Ward in Young Winston in 1971. Fortunately, I just got my new glasses today, just in time:


Today in . . . What the Hell?

Posted: 22 Nov 2017 12:04 PM PST

(Steven Hayward)Just when you think things can’t get any weirder, they do:

GOP rep apologizes for lewd photo shared on Twitter

Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) is apologizing for not using “better judgment” after a nude photo of him surfaced on social media earlier this week, The Texas Tribune reported Wednesday.

Barton’s acknowledgement that he appears in the photo emphasizes that the women he was involved with in the past, one of whom may have shared the photo, were above the age of consent and willing participants.

“While separated from my second wife, prior to the divorce, I had sexual relationships with other mature adult women,” Barton said in a statement.

“Each was consensual. Those relationships have ended. I am sorry I did not use better judgment during those days. I am sorry that I let my constituents down,” he continued.

Okay, so it’s not a sexual harassment or sexual assault case, but jeebers. (Though perhaps there will be more to this story. How did these texts get out except by one of the women he was involved with, who may be bitter about Barton for some reason, since he acknowledges that these relationships—plural, note—have all ended.)

TMZ has posted the actual pic with, thank God, some editing, but I still don’t advise it unless you have fully digested your lunch.


The Diversity Fraud, Apple-Style

Posted: 22 Nov 2017 10:59 AM PST

(Steven Hayward)Remember our items about how Apple Corp. fired its black vice president of diversity for saying white people could actually be diverse, too? Well, guess what? The story gets even crazier. I’ll just let this pitch-perfect report Michael Harriot from The Root tell it:

I am not saying that God, the universe, Rihannayoncé or whoever you worship as a higher power is petty, but in one of the most hilarious twists of fate ever, Apple’s vice president of inclusion and diversity, Denise Young Smith, who once whitesplained how hiring 12 white, blond, blue-eyed men could actually be seen as promoting diversity, has been replaced.

By a blond, blue-eyed white woman.

I’m not laughing. That’s how it sounds when I clear my throat.

In October, Young Smith was roundly criticized for her feeble attempt to change the definition of diversity when she told a group of international business leaders, “There can be 12 white, blue-eyed, blond men in a room and they’re going to be diverse, too, because they’re going to bring a different life experience and life perspective to the conversation.”

As John mentioned before, Apple’s new slogan appears to be: Think the Same™ And don’t forget to keep your Virtue Signal turned up to 11.


Court documents raise questions about Corfman’s account

Posted: 22 Nov 2017 09:45 AM PST

(Paul Mirengoff)Here in the Washington D.C. area, polite society has reached a judgment on the allegations against Roy Moore and moved on. Mitch McConnell, a political enemy of Moore, rendered the verdict. “I believe the women,” he said. He didn’t tell us what facts he had reviewed or why he believed all of them.

Ivanka Trump, who has a brand to protect, concurred, declaring:

There is a special place in hell for people who prey on children. I’ve yet to see a valid explanation, and I have no reason to doubt the victims’ accounts.

Doug Jones, Moore’s opponent in the Alabama Senate race, has converted this pronouncement into an effective political ad. The president’s daughter may help the Democrats pick up this seat.

Ms. Trump’s statement raises more questions than it answers, though. First: Is there a special place in hell for 30-somethings who date 17 year-olds? Without condoning the practice, I think most of us can agree there isn’t.

Second: Did Ivanka devote enough time and study to discerning “a valid explanation” or to finding evidence that would give her “reason to doubt the victims’ accounts? Her statement isn’t so much a rush to judgment as a rush to virtue signaling.

It turns out that there is substantial reason to doubt the account of Beverly Young Nelson. The evidence she presented — a yearbook allegedly inscribed by Moore — appears to have been doctored.

Leigh Corfman is the only other person to have accused Moore of anything beyond dating and/or wanting to hang out with girls in their late teens. She did not make her allegations of molestation for 38 years, until just before an election with national implications. She has had a rocky life and does not seem particularly stable.

Ivanka Trump feels this is “no reason” to doubt Corfman’s account. Maybe not. But now, there is documentary evidence that may provide such reason.

That evidence consists of court records. Recall that, in Corfman’s account, Moore first encountered her outside a courtroom in which her mother was to appear at a custody hearing. Her mother asked Moore to wait with her, and he allegedly used the opportunity to get her phone number. After that, Moore allegedly called her multiple times, arranged two meetings, and attempted to arrange a third.

The alleged phone calls all were made to the mother’s house (Leigh remembered taking them on a phone in her bedroom, but her mother says there was no phone in that room, which is almost surely correct). The alleged encounters all began with Moore picking her up in that neighborhood.

The Washington Post, which broke the story, says the court hearing occurred in February 1979. Aaron Klein of Breitbart News pinpoints the date — February 21, 1979.

Here’s what the Post did not tell its readers. At the hearing, a judge ordered that Leigh Corfman move out of her mother’s house and take up residence with her father by March 4. In making this decision, the judge noted that Corfman had exhibited “certain disciplinary and behavioral problems.”

Did Roy Moore cram all of those alleged phone calls, encounters, and attempted encounters into the 12-day period before Leigh Corfman moved to her father’s house (assuming the court order was adhered to)? It’s possible. If Moore was obsessed with the girl, he probably would have moved fast.

Still, it would have been nice if the Post had presented the timeline to its readers. Then, Mitch McConnell, Ivanka Trump, and the rest of us could have evaluated the question of timing.

It would also have been good to know that Corfman had exhibited “disciplinary and behavioral problems” sufficient to swing a custody dispute before ever meeting Roy Moore. This information is relevant in at least two ways.

First, it may go to the reliability of Corfman’s account of what (if anything) happened between her and Moore. If Corfman was significantly troubled in February and March of 1979, can we trust her statement of what allegedly happened during this period? Or might she be inventing or embellishing?

Second, Corfman told the Post that her life spiraled downward after her alleged encounters with Moore. We now know that she had serious issues before then.

This doesn’t mean things didn’t get worse. Indeed, we would expect them to get worse if Moore behaved as Corfman says he did.

But there is evidence that things actually got better for her. According to Klein:

On May 5, 1980, which would have been after any alleged encounters with Moore, Wells [Corfman’s mother] filed a new petition to take back custody of her daughter. That petition stated that Corfman’s “disciplinary problem has improved greatly.”

(Emphasis added)

Based on this statement, the judge agreed that Corfman’s mother should be granted custody.

Does this prove Corfman is lying about Moore? No. But taken as a whole, Klein’s report makes me question her account. The points Breibart raises should be weighed before reaching a conclusion about what, if anything, happened between Corfman and Moore back in 1979.

Assuming Mitch McConnell, Ivanka Trump, or anyone else in Washington or in the mainstream media is still interested in the facts.


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