In October, 2014, twenty-eight Harvard Law faculty members issued a statement strongly objecting to Harvard’s new Sexual Harassment Policy and Procedures. This open letter urges the Harvard Law faculty to consider this issue more broadly.
Dear Harvard Law Professors,
Thank you for speaking out for fairness in Harvard’s sexual harassment policies and procedures.
Please consider parallels with laws and procedures concerning domestic violence. Domestic violence emergency law doesn’t require judges to weigh carefully, ex ante, case-specific facts before suspending normal due process of law. Domestic-violence law gives everyone de facto liberty to suspend other persons’ civil liberties through ex-parte civil petitions. Domestic-violence rhetoric emphasizes the “cycle” of domestic violence, repeated battering despite the appearance of peace, hidden terrorism, and the ever-present threat of a fatal domestic assault. Socially constructed public belief in a perpetual, invisible state of emergency within other persons’ households has prompted broad public surrender of normal rule of law in considering claims of domestic violence.
The legal academy has provided very little critical analysis of the development of domestic violence emergency law. Please consider that law reviews have performed worse than other deliberative fields from 1986 to 2010 in a basic test of public reason concerning domestic violence. See:
Failure of public reason in the law profession in addressing domestic violence has contributed significantly to the rise of mass incarceration in the U.S. See:
Lack of respect for basic principles of law and good public reason in addressing sexual harassment and rape threaten to exacerbate major failings of domestic violence policies. Please consider how the new policy direction at Harvard relates to deeper problems in law and the legal profession.
Communicating with Prisoners Collective