This week I welcome Lara Bazelon back to the show. Lara is a lawyer, a professor of law, and the author of several books, including the excellent novel A Good Mother. Lara is also an energetic free speech advocate who has taken some principled stands that have, at times, put her at odds with other progressives.
We begin by discussing Lara’s decision to represent a college student, “John,” who had been found culpable for the alleged rape of a fellow student. Lara explains how the Title IX regulations under which John was investigated unfairly stacked the deck against him. These regulations, while providing needed protections for women, can also allow for unfair results that can potentially destroy the lives of the accused without giving them a chance to defend themselves. As a feminist, Lara is committed to defending women’s equality, but she is also uncomfortable with the ways that some progressives seem willing to sacrifice free speech in the name of equity. This has led her to work with pro-free speech organizations that have, among other things, defended Amy Wax against Penn Law’s attempt to fire her. Lara finds many of Amy’s statements odious, but she does not believe Amy should be silenced. She’s even found common cause with conservatives with whom she has worked to overturn wrongful convictions.
Lara is proof that, even in our current political environment, principled conservatives and progressives can act together in good faith to achieve some common goals. I admire her courage and conviction, and I’m very curious to know what all of you think.
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Featured Content from City Journal
Joanna Williams discusses how the concept of a motherhood pay “penalty” indicates a society with misplaced priorities.
0:00 Lara’s critique of Title IX adjudications
9:29 Why Lara defended a college student accused of rape
19:17 Lara’s cross-examination of the accuser
26:45 The trouble with “Believe Women”
36:11 What the Trump Administration got right about Title IX
39:26 Why Lara supports Amy Wax’s freedom of speech
50:25 Does Glenn still feel marginalized?
56:58 Finding common ground amidst political tribalism
1:01:12 Lara’s work on racial disparities in sexual assault cases
Links and Readings
Lara’s new book, Ambitious Like a Mother: Why Prioritizing Your Career Is Good for Your Kids
Lara’s book, Rectify: The Power of Restorative Justice After Wrongful Conviction
Lara’s keynote address at FIRE’s 2022 Student Network Conference
University of San Francisco’s Juvenile & Criminal Justice Law Clinic
Penn Law Dean Theodore Ruger’s letter to the Faculty Senate regarding Amy Wax
The Academic Freedom Alliance’s letter in support of Amy Wax