Bearing False Witness: The Clinton Impeachment and the Future of Academic Freedom

University of Pennsylvania Law Review

Posted: 29 Oct 1999


By signing letters about the constitutional standards governing impeachment, an issue most of them know very little about, many academics placed partisanship and self-interest above all else. The logic of academic freedom, however, cannot be squared with academics who see celebrity and power as more important than the pursuit of truth. At the least, academic freedom conveys the message that scholars who speak out on public issues know something about those issues. When academics join forces to send a purely political message, their reputation as truth seekers will diminish and, with it, their credibility. That day has not yet arrived. But it is fast approaching. For this very reason academics must hold politically motivated professors accountable for abusing academic freedom. [Note: Cass Sunstein has written a response to this paper, "Professors and Politics," which will appear in the same issue of the University of Pennsylvania Law Review.]

Suggested Citation

Devins, Neal, Bearing False Witness: The Clinton Impeachment and the Future of Academic Freedom. University of Pennsylvania Law Review, Available at SSRN:

Neal Devins (Contact Author)

William & Mary Law School ( email )

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