04 March 2010

Once again, I am happy I'm not French -or- When Law Professors Fight

It's not every day that someone makes the US judicial system seem reasonable and restrained.
The Big Questions | Steve Landsburg | Criminal Law

On June 25, 2010, Professor Joseph Weiler, editor of the European Journal of International Law, will stand trial in a French criminal court for running a mildly negative book review on a journal-associated website.

The book in question is The Trial Proceedings of the International Criminal Court by the Israeli law professor Dr. Karin N. Calvo-Goller. According to the reviewer the main part of the book “simply restates the…relevant parts of the ICC Statute.” This rehashing, he adds, is particularly unproductive since a large part of the volume consists of a reprint of the Statute itself.

The author, Dr. Calvo-Goller, disagrees, and has instigated a case of criminal libel against the editor, Professor Weiler.
What a litigious twit.
Dr. Calvo-Goller (who is, after all a law professor) concedes in a letter to Professor Weiler that she is aware of the extent of freedom of expression under the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. (Professor Weiler teaches at NYU, well within the boundaries of that country.) However, she notes, “the extent of that freedom ends where its exercise damages the reputation of an individual.”
No. No no no no no. No it does not. You don't have a right to people thinking your book is great any more than you have a right to everybody thinking you're pretty and smart and talented. People don't have to like you. Grow some thicker skin. Grow some balls. GROW UP!

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Professor Weiler has invited letters of indignation and support to be sent to EJIL.academicfreedom@gmail.com, preferably via attachments on letterhead indicating your affiliation. He has also requested scanned or digital copies of book reviews which are at least as critical as the one in question so as to illustrate that this kind of thing happens all the time.

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