Senator Ted Cruz has responded toThe New Yorker’sreportthat he accused Harvard Law School of having had “twelve” Communists who “believed in the overthrow of the U.S. Government” on its faculty when he attended in the early nineties. Cruz doesn’t deny that he said this; instead, through his spokesman, he says he was right: Harvard Lawwasfull of Communists.
She went on to explain that “the Harvard Law School faculty included numerous self-described proponents of ‘critical legal studies’—a school of thought explicitly derived from Marxism—and they far outnumbered Republicans.” As my story noted, the Critical Legal Studies group consisted of left-leaning professors like Duncan Kennedy, who is a social democrat, not a Communist, and has never “believed in the overthrow of the U.S. Government.”
Among those who have taken issue with Cruz’s castigation of the Harvard Law School faculty are his former law professor, Charles Fried, who is a well-known Republican and former Solicitor General to Ronald Reagan. In his 2010 speech, Cruz had said there was only “one” Republican on the faculty, but his former professor, Fried, toldThe New Yorkerthere were at least four, including himself. A spokesman for Harvard Law School, Robb London, also described the school as “puzzled” by Cruz’s allegations.
Cruz’s spokesman called it “curious” thatThe New Yorkerwould cover Cruz’s speech “three years” after he gave it. But Cruz’s hostile questioning of Obama’s nominee for Defense Secretary, Chuck Hagel, and insinuations about Hagel’s loyalties had provided a fresh context for looking more closely at the nature of the accusations he has leveled at political opponents. Observers like Senator Barbara Boxer wondered if they were seeing a revival of McCarthyism. Judging from Cruz’s speech—and, now, his defense of it—it’s a good question.