On Monday, March 21st, the Law Weekly obtained a Notice of Grievance filed by Law Center Professor Gary Peller against Dean William Treanor with the Georgetown University Grievance Committee. The Notice of Grievance alleges that Dean Treanor defamed Peller in retaliation for his criticism of Treanor’s public statement issued in the wake of the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia last month, and demands a public apology and retraction. The grievance is available in full here.
The grievance comes a few weeks after the flurry of emails that students received in the days following Scalia’s death. During this exchange, Peller, joined by Professor Mike Seidman, criticized Treanor’s tribute to Scalia, instead offering that “…the unmitigated praise with which the press release described a jurist that many of us believe was a defender of privilege, oppression and bigotry, one whose intellectual positions were not brilliant but simplistic and formalistic.”
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Deborah Steinberg is a current 1L at Georgetown Law.
As a proud millennial with the power of social media, I knew before the announcement from The New York Times that Justice Scalia passed away last week. My Facebook and Twitter feeds were covered in posts of mourning, posts of joy, and genuine inquiry into what was going to happen next. The majority of these posts came from my peers at Georgetown University Law Center.
Most of us did not even see Dean Treanor’s initial statement on the school’s website, as it was not sent to us directly and the majority of us do not regularly check the homepage. The first communication we got was the message from Professors Peller and Seidman. I logged into Facebook and saw a mix of reactions, ranging from “Who the hell are these guys?” to “Finally someone is speaking the truth!” Then we received the next email from Dean Treanor reaffirming his initial position. And then we received another email from more professors agreeing with him. Normally, I like getting email; but this was ridiculous.
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UPDATE: According to Above the Law, Professor Peller sent an email, “Mitigating Defamatory Assertions,” to all faculty, insisting that his initial message was not in violation of the Campus Broadcast policy. He revealed that he had communicated with Professor Barnett on the charge. The latest communication, sent by an faculty member, replies “Please, please, PLEASE stop. At the very least, please omit me from further communications.”
Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia passed away on Saturday, February 13 while on a hunting trip in Texas. Almost immediately, tributes poured out (including one from our Sports Editor) and controversy erupted over the man and his inevitable successor to the nation’s highest court. Controversy of a different sort broke out among Georgetown Law’s faculty as well.
It all started for Georgetown Law students with an e-mail sent on Tuesday afternoon, while students were enjoying a few days off and faculty were participating in the annual Faculty Retreat. The Campus Broadcast system, usually used for event announcements, invitations and policy changes, delivered the message from Professors Gary Peller and Mike Seidman to all members of the student body.
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Tagged news, scotus