Westword's Michael Roberts recounts the arguments the state Supreme Court will be hearing today in the Ward Churchill case
--as told to him, of course, by Wart's lawyer, David Lane. Once again Roberts doesn't bother to ask CU if they might have a comment or two, either on the case itself or Lane's spin on same.
Roberts says the hearing "is slated to last an hour, with a ruling expected to following [sic] several months from now." Sheeeeeit. I'm going to be older than Wart before this is over.
The attorney for Ward Churchill told the Colorado Supreme Court this afternoon that the University of Colorado conducted a sham investigation to retaliate against the former professor for his controversial post-9/11 essay that compared some World Trade Center victims to a notorious Nazi.
Which Nazi was that, anyway? Been so long I kinda forgot. Oh, sorry, David Lane:
"First and foremost, is that if free speech cannot find a safe haven on a university campus, this society, in general, is in decline," attorney David Lane told the court during a one-hour hearing at the Colorado Capitol.
The D-blog is probably just ignorant (remove risible "probably"), but why one hour? Why not one day? A week? A month (like Wart's trial)? No doubt both sides could fill the time.
Anyhow, CU attorney Patrick O'Rourke, answering Lane, was a little more substantive:
But CU attorney Patrick O'Rourke said the university was well within its rights to fire Churchill."If you approach this case from a First Amendment standpoint, the university wins," O'Rourke said. "Here's why: It's absolutely clear under federal law that a governmental entity may discharge an employee for otherwise protected speech when then employee's conduct is disruptive to the operation of the entity.
Did CU take much more than a tiny stab at this argument during the trial? Don't think so. Weird.
Lane responded by saying that while the university fielded several angry complaints from citizens outraged by Churchill's speech, his employment didn't cause a disruption. He said that CU's firing of Churchill was to appease those angry about Churchill's essay, which was protected by the First Amendment.
"It was a torch light parade -- a march by angry citizens -- to Regent Hall all but armed with pitchforks, demanding that the monster, Ward Churchill, be turned over for immediate destruction," Lane said.
Perfectly accurate, except for the torches, the march, the pitchforks, and the "immediate destruction" (sigh).
Supreme Court Justice Greg Hobbs posed questions for both attorneys, asking O'Rourke whether a Vietnam-era professor who burned an American flag in protest of the war should be fired for upsetting others and causing outrage.
He asked Lane why CU should be forced to rehire Churchill if investigations found academic fraud in his work.
And our no doubt delightful reporter, Brittany Anas, doesn't tell us what either one answered. She does note that "Churchill dodged questions from reporters, saying that he'll comment on his appeal after the Supreme Court issues a ruling in the coming months." . . .
There's that word again: Months. Anas has more, but screw it. But be sure to watch the video at the top of the story of Chutch leaving the courtroom. How does one single person exude (yes, exude) so much sheer charisma?
*Retarded preposition replaced by correct one due to the cruel taunting of the Participle Police.