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Harvard Is Punishing a Law Professor for Representing Harvey Weinstein, And They Should be Ashamed

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File

A strange and unsettling thing is happening at Harvard.

Harvard Law School professor Ron Sullivan Jr. is being removed from his deanship at the school’s Winthrop House. His wife, Stephanie Robinson, who is a lecturer in the law school as well, has also been cast aside.


According to The New York Times, “They were the first African-American faculty deans in Harvard’s history.”

What crime could they have committed to deserve what is obviously a demotion? The answer should alarm anyone who values the American legal system.

Sullivan and Robinson are being punished because Sullivan joined the legal team representing the disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein last year, and social justice warriors on campus think that means Sullivan is somehow complicit in Weinstein’s alleged crimes.

Like everyone else in the world, these Harvard students think Harvey Weinstein is a grotesque pig. Unlike everyone else, the students think that somehow disqualifies him from due process under the law.

Apparently, no one has informed the best and brightest at Harvard that everyone accused of a crime in the United States is presumed innocent and is entitled to legal representation.

For months, students at the school have been calling for the firing of Sullivan. He was even subjected to a so-called ‘Climate Review’ earlier this year. What Ron Sullivan and his wife have been subjected to is a disgrace, and Harvard should be ashamed for folding to a campus mob.


Maybe the ‘woke’ students on campus haven’t heard, but law professors often take on high profile and controversial cases because they’re, you know, law professors.

Legal scholars have a tendency to want to write and teach about historic cases.

In the 1980s, there was a notorious murder appeal case which involved a wealthy socialite named Claus von Bulow. He was defended by the highly respected Harvard Law School professor Alan Dershowitz. It was covered on network news almost every night. Dershowitz even wrote a book about it which was ultimately translated into the 1991 film “Reversal of Fortune.”

In the movie, which you should watch if you haven’t seen it, Dershowitz cross examines a student who objects to his representation of von Bulow with an eloquent defense of our legal system and the importance of having a capable lawyer.

The Harvard Crimson reports that over 50 law professors at Harvard, including Dershowitz, are standing behind Sullivan. That is encouraging, but what accounts for the disconnection from our legal system by the student protesters?


Do we really live in a society where some people object to legal representation for certain defendants simply because they don’t like them and will demonize legal scholars who lend their expertise, often for academic purposes?

No one in their right mind would defend what Harvey Weinstein is accused of doing. The charges make him look like a despicable human being. He is still entitled to a capable defense and neither Ron Sullivan, nor his wife, should be punished for Sullivan’s decision to provide it.

This singling out of Sullivan seems like an attack on the very foundation of our legal system, but what do I know?

I didn’t go to Harvard.

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