Recent links of note:
“Amy Coney Barrett Strikes a Blow against Campus Kangaroo Courts”
David French, National Review Online
Conventional wisdom suggests that even the most basic investigative hearing should avoid trampling on a few rudimentary individual rights. Some essentials, if you will: the chance to present evidence in one’s own defense; access to the evidence upon which adjudicators base their decision; perhaps a modicum of decency and diligence on the part of those adjudicators, so that they might be, well, actually inspired to review the basic facts of the case report before the hearing. Per a unanimous decision by the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, Purdue University officials did an exceedingly poor job with allof the above (and more) in their handling of a campus sexual assault investigation in 2016. In short, the appellate court found that Purdue made its decision to suspend the accused (a male) before its in-house hearing even began. Forget a cross-examination: the university did not so much as require a formal statement from the accuser. Instead, a Title IX coordinator who spoke with her behind closed doors conveyed the accusation to the administration. Judge Amy Coney Barrett, who was on Trump’s shortlist to replace Anthony Kennedy, established a precedent of no small consequence by affirming that the plaintiff had a plausible case for gender-based discrimination under Title IX—the very statute that had been so clumsily wielded against “John Doe” in the first place.
Nowadays one tends to hear the word “Nazi” tossed around in conjunction with detainment centers or Tiki torches, but the Uffizi Gallery in Florence recently redressed an actual Nazi crime that had cast a shadow on one piece’s legacy during the seventy-three intervening years. For some time, a black-and-white reproduction of Jan van Huysum’s eighteenth-century Vase of Flowers has been hanging in the museum gallery in place of the original, on account of the greedy fingers of Nazi troops retreating from the Allied invasion of Italy in 1943. The actual painting, which eventually settled in a private residence, was almost returned to the Uffizi in 1991, post-German reunification. But complex legal proceedings and a dubious statute of limitations kept the Italians at bay. Not until January did the museum director Eike Schmidt—a German himself—reopen the case by publicly asserting that Germany had a “moral duty” to assist in the recovery of the painting. The subsequent wave of support from both sides ensured that arrangements for its homecoming could be successfully made.
“The British Are Coming Review: History as Enchantment”
Mark G. Spencer, The Wall Street Journal
Readers with patriotic zeal to spare this Fourth of July weekend might consider taking a look at The British Are Coming, the first installment in the historian Rick Atkinson’s anticipated Revolution Trilogy. The book covers the early stages of the Revolutionary War (1775–77) with not only a careful eye for detail but also a keen sense of the captivating power that war holds over the imagination. Atkinson writes that all soldiers in the war—American and British, patriot and loyalist—shared belief in “an ancient, squalid secret: that war was an enchantment, a sorcery, a seductive spectacle like no other, beguiling the eye and gorging the senses.” Accordingly, one can and should expect the scrupulous attention that Atkinson gives to the numerous battles in the war, with extensive accounts of each conflict as well as twenty-four intricate maps. But his reviewer, Mark Spencer, also extols Atkinson’s ability to juggle multiple narratives and his knack for “pithy character sketches—reminiscent of eighteenth-century historians David Hume and Edward Gibbon.” Spencer concludes: “It is difficult to envision a definitive account of the American Revolution. But that awareness only heightens one’s appreciation of Mr. Atkinson’s achievement here.”
From our pages:
“A Second City success”