The year 2012 marks the 100th anniversary of (Jesuit) University of San Francisco’s law school. The centennial will kick off with a convocation at the university’s St. Ignatius Church on September 19, and will continue through spring of 2013.
The convocation will be keynoted by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. In 2011, Kennedy joined a number of other prominent persons in producing supportive videos of the homosexualist Human Rights Campaign’s “New Yorkers for Marriage Equality” project. In his video, Kennedy referred to the understanding of marriage as between one man and one woman as “the last vestige of institutionalized bigotry that’s left in this country” and said, “we need to get rid of it.”
The redefinition of marriage is something near and dear to the hearts of those at USF Law School. USF Law’s Public Interest Law Foundation has made a nearly annual practice of honoring supporters of same-sex “marriage.”
In 2004, they honored then-San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, who had directing the county clerk of the city and county of San Francisco to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples–an action declared illegal four months later by the California supreme court.
In 2006, USF feted Kate Kendall, executive director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights.
In 2007, the university celebrated Elizabeth Cabraser, lead attorney for an amici curiae brief filed on behalf of 40 legal institutions with the California supreme court. The brief recommended the supreme court overturn Proposition 8. Cabraser donated $30,000 to the No on Proposition 8 campaign.
In 2008, USF honored Shannon Price Minter, legal director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights and SF Chief deputy city attorney Therese Stewart. The USF website said they were honoring the two because “…Minter and Stewart successfully argued before the California supreme court this year that same-sex couples have the right to marry.”
In 2009, the school honored California supreme court associate justice Carlos Moreno. Moreno was the sole California justice who voted to overturn the will of the people in the Proposition 8 case.
In 2011, the school honored San Francisco assistant district attorney Victor Hwang. Among the accomplishments listed on the public interest foundation’s 2011 Honoree webpage was Hwang’s: “… authoring and coordinating the filing of an amicus brief on behalf of the Asian American community in support of marriage equality…”
On November 9 this year the public interest foundation will honor David Boies. Boies is one of the lead attorneys in the Perry v. Brown case, (formerly known as Perry v. Schwarzenneger), which challenged the constitutionality of Proposition 8, passed in 2008 by a majority of California voters. Their challenge was upheld by the Ninth Circuit court of appeals. The Proposition 8 defense team then appealed to the U.S. supreme court. The U.S. supreme court is expected to decide whether or not to hear the appeal this Monday, September 24.
While Robert Kennedy, Jr. is thus representative of the school’s position on same-sex “marriage,” other facts suggest that, even allowing for the university’s predilections, they might have made a wiser choice.
Kennedy is an outspoken opponent of vaccination and, according to Wikipedia, wrote a 2005 article “alleged a government conspiracy to cover up connections between the vaccine reservative thimerosal and childhood autism.” The article was published in Rolling Stone and Salon.com. Both publications subsequently retracted the article “motivated by accumulating evidence of errors and scientific fraud underlying the vaccine-autism claim.” Wikipedia also reports: “As of January 2011, the original, uncorrected, version of the article was still posted on Kennedy’s website, including his factual errors which Salon had corrected.”
The misinformation is not harmless. On Monday, the San Francisco Chronicle reported 121 new cases of whooping cough had been diagnosed in the state of Connecticut. Whooping cough is one of those diseases that had been nearly eradicated, but is now making a comeback due to parent’s refusal to vaccinate their children. On September 10 the Chronicle had reported on a similar situation in the state of California.
Kennedy believes the Republicans stole the 2004 election. In a 2006 issue of Rolling Stone magazine Kennedy wrote: “After carefully examining the evidence, I’ve become convinced that the president’s party mounted a massive, coordinated campaign to subvert the will of the people in 2004.” Kennedy’s article was thoroughly debunked by Farhad Manjoo, on June 3, 2006 in Salon.com. Manjoo’s lengthy article can be summarized by his subheadline: “In Rolling Stone, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. argues that new evidence proves that Bush stole the election. But the evidence he cites isn’t new and his argument is filled with distortions and blatant omissions.”
For readers wishing to discuss these points with Kennedy, the university is offering an “Invitation for two to intimate post-convocation reception with Robert Kennedy, Jr.” A donation of $50,000 is required.