But the negative “climate” at Harvard is not solely related to #MeToo’s influence. A shift in the culture of political liberalism is also part of the story.
With conservatives asserting their First Amendment rights in cases seeking to push back against the power of big government and a politically correct legal establishment, liberals have lost faith in the defense of civil liberties for their own sake. Justice Elena Kagan has complained of conservatives’ “weaponizing” the First Amendment, as if it were valid only if used in the service of the Left. The American Civil Liberties Union, once the stalwart defender of the free-speech rights of Nazis as well as labor unions, has recently signaled that it will not expend resources defending anyone associated with a cause that the liberal group opposes.
The result is an atmosphere where the actions of John Adams — the legal defense of the despised — either are impossible or result in serious censure.
Ironically, Sullivan and Robinson recently left Weinstein’s team owing to a schedule conflict. But the damage to their reputations at Harvard is already done.