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Of Cops and Bumper Stickers: Notes Toward a Theory of Selective Prosecution

11 Pages Posted: 8 Jul 2008  

Richard Delgado

University of Alabama - School of Law

Date Written: June, 27 2008


The author, Professor Richard Delgado, takes as his point of departure a remark by the chair of the University of Colorado committee that voted academic sanctions against Ward Churchill. This essay explores the role of retaliatory motives in academic misconduct cases. In Churchill's case, Colorado authorities delved deeply and painstakingly into Churchill's publications only when it appeared that the state could not fire him from his tenured position for his inflammatory remarks on the victims of the 9/11 tragedy. What bearing should the investigation's relation to the hue and cry that led to it have on its own legitimacy?

Professor Delgado examines various possible frameworks for analyzing cases like these and argues that the committee chair's way of seeing the matter was the incorrect framework.

Keywords: civil rights, academic freedom, academic sanctions, fair employment practice, freedom of speech, First Amendment, Ward Churchill, University of Colorado

Suggested Citation

Delgado, Richard mname, Of Cops and Bumper Stickers: Notes Toward a Theory of Selective Prosecution (June, 27 2008). Syracuse Law Review, Vol. 57, p. 175, 2007; U. of Pittsburgh Legal Studies Research Paper. Available at SSRN:

Richard Delgado (Contact Author)

University of Alabama - School of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 870382
Tuscaloosa, AL 35487
United States

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