Grumpy old editor here. In my day, commencement was a simple affair. You showed up massively hung over and baked in the hot sun for a few hours. Eventually someone begrudgingly called your name, and you received your diploma.
It was a simpler time. A time when you didn’t have to worry about whether or not the very venue of your graduation was unconstitutional. You didn’t have to worry about protesting your commencement speaker.
Ah, those were the days. But now it’s a different world. In Arizona, they are up in arms over racial profiling.
At Cardozo, new Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance will be giving the commencement address. You’d think that wouldn’t be a controversial choice, but oh you’d be wrong…
Cy Vance has been in office for like five months. But he hasn’t moved quickly enough for some students at Cardozo:
I am a member of the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law Class of 2010. Our commencement is Tuesday, June 1, and Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance is our commencement speaker. When Mr. Vance was running for DA, he expressed support for broader discovery practices in criminal prosecutions, as exist in the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Queens. Since he took office however, the practices have not changed.
Several members of the Class of 2010 are dissatisfied with this policy and took action to express that dissatisfaction. On Friday, May 28, we delivered to Mr. Vance an open letter describing our objection to his adhering to his predecessor’s discovery policies and expressing our hope that he would move swiftly to remedy what we believe to be both a failure to fulfill a campaign pledge and a policy that undermines the fundamental fairness of the criminal justice system. Fifty members of the Class of 2010 signed the letter. Also, at commencement on Tuesday, many members of the Class will be wearing buttons on our gowns saying “Open Discovery Now”.
You see what happens when you have a bunch of law graduates who do not have jobs lined up. The Devil makes work for idle hands.
I’ll not reprint the entire open letter, but I do find the impatience interesting:
During your campaign for New York County District Attorney you represented that you were in favor of broader discovery for criminal defendants. You have now held office for nearly six months and the discovery practice of your office has not changed.
Guys, the man has been in charge for five months — taking over an office that was held by the same man from time immemorial. He’s Cy Vance, not Jack McCoy.
And what’s with this outbreak of graduation protests? Don’t you guys have a bar exam that you should be preparing for?
Conn. Federal Judge: Religion and Graduation Don’t Mix [WSJ Law Blog]