Racial Controversy at Yale Law School

Later this month the Yale Law Journal will hold a symposium in New Haven entitled, “The Most Dangerous Branch? Mayors, Governors, Presidents and the Rule of Law: A Symposium on Executive Power.” Papers presented at the symposium will be published in a future edition of the Yale Law Journal. A paper authored by Kiwi Camara, the John M. Olin Fellow in Law and Economics at Stanford University, was accepted as part of the symposium.

Camara, a native of the Philippines, is a legal prodigy. He is often referred to as the “Doogie Howser of the legal profession.” He could read at age 3, skipped high school altogether, and graduated from Hawaii Pacific University with a degree in computer science at age 16. He took as many as 21 credits a semester, earning his bachelor’s degree in two years. Camara then went on to Harvard Law School where in 2002, at the age 19, he became the youngest student ever to graduate. After clerking for an appeals court judge, Camara accepted his fellowship at Stanford.

After Camara’s article was accepted by the Yale Law Journal this past fall, an anonymous letter to the editorial board related that Camara repeatedly referred to black people as “nigs” or “niggers” in his class notes that he had posted online while at Harvard Law School. Camara subsequently apologized for the remarks.

After Camara’s racial slurs were revealed, the editors of the law journal considered pulling his article from the journal and rescinding their invitation for him to participate in the symposium. But the student editors at the journal concluded that Camara’s article had been accepted solely on its merits. Citing a belief in academic freedom of expression, the editors decided to publish the article.

It remains to be seen if Camara will show up for the symposium scheduled for March 24-26. If he does, it is expected that he will be met by protesters.

Copyright © 2006. The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education. All rights reserved.