It’s rare but ever so refreshing when social justice warriors are told to shove it. It should happen more often.
So hats off to the University of Alabama School of Law (its former and once again name) for returning a $21.5 million donation to Hugh Culverhouse Jr. after he had called on businesses to boycott the state and students to boycott the university and law school that he was bankrolling. The law school also ditched the name The Hugh J. Culverhouse Jr. School of Law and returned to the name it long held before the Culverhouse largess and his attack on the school and state.
What led to this incoherent action on the part of Culverhouse, a Boca Raton real estate attorney, investor, and philanthropist, was the very strict anti-abortion law passed recently by the Alabama Legislature and signed into law by Alabama Governor Kay Ivey. Informed TAS readers know the strictest-in-the-nation law criminalizes almost all abortions and has about as much chance of surviving judicial review as Tuscaloosa has of enduring a blizzard on Independence Day. Hugh Jr. was not amused and, curiously, took it out on the law school for which he has been a mega-sugar-daddy, and which had about as much to do with passing this hopeless law as the Dallas Cowgirls did.
“As a lawyer, I cannot countenance a law school, especially one which bears my name, teaching state law that I believe to be wrong both constitutionally and morally,” Culverhouse said in one of the biggest non-sequiturs of the new century. “No accomplished law professor would join a law school which teaches law that is proudly unconstitutional.”
These statements are almost knee-buckling in their ignorance. You’d think a guy like Culverhouse, a law school graduate smart enough to have the resources to contribute $21.5 million, would also be smart enough to know that the law he so strenuously objects to was not passed by the Alabama law school but by the Alabama Legislature. Numerous of the law school’s professors have been quoted by numerous publications saying they don’t agree with the law and don’t believe it will stand. The Alabama law school is not teaching this law, and how curious of Culverhouse to think it is. I’ve always suspected the bar exam is too easy. This is further proof.
It was just a matter of days between when Culverhouse started warning the world off of Alabama and its misguided (according to him) law school that the law school board of trustees met, made their decision, wired the money back to Culverhouse, and took his name off the law school. The only possible hedging came after the quick action when university officials said their action was not directly motivated by Culverhouse’s boycott statements. University spokeswoman Kellee Reinhart said the board acts as a “direct result of Mr. Culverhouse’s ongoing attempts to interfere in the operations of the Law School.” Apparently Culverhouse has a history of being a buttinsky. Not unheard of among lefty big donors.
The university’s insistence that their action did not result from Culverhouse’s boycott statements is curious, and can be taken with a handful of salt big enough to give one high blood pressure. But the law school board’s quick and unequivocal action demonstrates the members’ courage of conviction. Courage at the cost of $21.5 million. At least Alabamians, regardless of their views of abortion and the recent almost-certainly-doomed law, cannot say of board members that, “We know what they are, and we know what their price is.”