Letters to the Editor: 3-14-2018

Response to “Untangling the Immigration Debate”

Max Wagner’s piece on immigration[1] is misleading, false, and xenophobic. Under the guise of an educational series, Wagner makes unsubstantiated claims that only serve to promote harmful, inaccurate stereotypes and to further obfuscate the “debate.”

The Minority Rights Coalition and the below-signed affinity groups are deeply disappointed by the ignorance and xenophobia espoused by this letter to the editor, its author, and those who endorse its views. Our intent in writing this response is not to further engage in the “debate.” But we will call out xenophobia whenever it presents itself. We will stand together as a community in support of DREAMers, their families, and other minority communities.

First, Mr. Wagner asserts that “illegal” is a more accurate description than “undocumented” by falsely suggesting that “undocumented” begs the question: “Why don’t we just give them documents?” There was no logical connection between the two phrases. Furthermore, Mr. Wagner ignores the fact that many undocumented immigrants are here on valid visas but are overstaying their visas. Unlawful presence in the U.S. is a civil offense. Using the word “illegal” to describe civil offenses is contrary to the common usage of the word “illegal” and, therefore, not the more accurate term to describe undocumented aliens. His word choice of “illegal” is misleading at best. It elicits unsympathetic responses from readers who associate “illegal” with criminality or even violent felonies.

Second, Mr. Wagner attacks perception of DREAMers with false data and premises. Contrary to his claim that most DREAMers were teenagers when they came to the U.S., the average age when they arrived was six and a half years old, and 54 percent were under seven years old when they came to the U.S.[2] Next, Mr. Wagner further attempts to mislead the readers by conflating illiteracy and lack of English proficiency. A focus on English language skills and literacy is thinly veiled racism; he uses language as a proxy to target immigrants from non-English-speaking countries. But this conveniently fails to acknowledge the immigrants from predominantly English speaking countries, to whom this English argument would not apply. Furthermore, not speaking English does not preclude people from being productive members of society. As history demonstrates, English-only laws and literacy tests have often been used to single out racial minorities. It is simply inaccurate to conflate illiteracy with not speaking English.

Third, Mr. Wagner’s account of "chain(ed) migration" fails to clarify anything. We reject the term “chain(ed) migration” not for the reasons Mr. Wagner claims, but rather because the term is an inaccurate characterization of the complex process of immigration. The term has recently been used to foster fear about an uncontrolled influx of immigrants. However, the claim that “once immigrants are issued a green card, they can apply to bring members of their family over” is grossly incomplete and recklessly misleading. Most importantly, there is an annual cap of 226,000 visas per year for family visas.[3] Furthermore, green card holders can only apply for legal status for their unmarried children and spouses, while limited by the annual cap.[4] Notably, they cannot petition for their parents or their siblings. For U.S. citizens, even though there is no cap on applications for their children and parents, applications for siblings are also subject to the same annual cap.[5] The application process is restrictive and time-consuming. The term “chain” migration is excessively misleading.

 Mr. Wagner should do his research—and learn that you cannot back up a factual assertion with an opinion column—before he publishes his next “series” on any legal topic. His article fails to clarify the existing immigration debate and may actually confuse readers with no background on the topic.

 For minority students at UVa Law, this is not the first time, nor will it be the last, that our peers feel justified when their opinions and facts are actually ignorance and lies. Surely everyone is entitled to their opinions, but the problem surfaces when one presents misconceptions and false premises as statements of facts. From blatantly racist and xenophobic comments in class, to passive-aggressive dominating behaviors at firm events, to repeated questions of “no really, where are you from?” until the minority is forced to voice a foreign country as an answer. While we are often enraged and hurt, we cannot say we are ever surprised. This was a daunting reminder that many of our colleagues hold similar views and will soon enter a profession of authority. Unfortunately, many times that position is to govern over minorities. We are used to this and will continue to bear the burden. We will continue to respond intelligently. We will not be silenced. After all, many of us came to law school to gain the tools needed to change the world. To our allies, we thank you for the overwhelming support. Please help us reduce xenophobia everywhere. Speak up. We can all do a little more.

 Minority Rights Coalition at North Grounds; BLSA; JLSA; LALO; Lambda; SALSA; WOC

 Individual names: Lola LollieAkere (saa3cq@virginia.edu), Kendy Chan (kc4dd@virginia.edu), Michelle Chang (mc3qu@virginia.edu), Stephanie Chen (sac7js@virginia.edu), Leanne Chia (lec2tb@virginia.edu), Nellie Guzman (nmg2dc@virginia.edu), Amanda Lineberry '19 (avl5wk@virginia.edu), Elyse Moy (eam8cf@virginia.edu), Robbie Pomeroy (rap3fa@virginia.edu), David Wang (dw2an@virginia.edu), Calla Zhou (cz3dj@virginia.edu)

Response to Clark Hall

When I was a freshman at UC Berkeley, I came back to my dormitory one night to discover a swastika on my door. That was just the start. Over my years as an undergraduate, I routinely found swastikas and anti-Semitic scribbling, like the “kill Jews” I found in the library bathroom. I found Swastikas painted around town as well, and the city seemed in no hurry to remove them. The Daily Californian, UC Berkeley’s student newspaper, published anti-Semitic op-eds and cartoons on multiple occasions. A Jewish student was rammed in the back with a shopping cart during an anti-Israel event and subsequently had to seek a restraining order. As bills to boycott the Middle East’s only democracy, Israel, were debated by UC Berkeley’s student government, I heard Jews called Christ-killers and bloodthirsty child-killers. Old anti-Semitic conspiracy theories about Jewish domination of the media, finance, government, etc. were aired over and over again.

My experience is common for Jewish students in the University of California system. In recent years, swastika incidents have become commonplace, and at UC Davis, swastikas were even painted on the Jewish fraternity house. At UCSD, at a pro-Israel event, a student declared support for gathering all Jews in Israel, that they might be killed more easily. At UCLA, a Jewish applicant for the Student Council’s Judicial Board was asked whether being Jewish would get in the way of her doing her job. At UC Irvine, an anti-Israel mob harassed and chased a female Jewish student trying to enter an Israeli film event. The movement of hate against the Jewish state often predictably results in hate crimes, intimidation, and violence directed at Jewish students.

I bring all this up for a reason. On February 22, the Brody Jewish Center at UVa hosted an event in Clark Hall called “Building Bridges.” A panel of Israeli Defense Force reservists were to share their personal stories and answer questions from students. The objective was to humanize the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, offer students a chance to learn about Israeli society, and create a dialogue about peacemaking.

During the event, a group of students and non-students stormed in, yelling anti-Israel slogans and trying to intimidate Jewish students. The militants ignored entreaties to be part of the event and ask tough questions of the panelists. They continued harassing attendees until campus police were called, and then they finally dispersed. It is disturbing to see the anti-Israel hate movement’s campaign of violence and intimidation against Jewish students, which has become an established part of campus life at the University of California and other major universities, being brought to UVa.

It was still more disturbing to see the undergraduate Minority Rights Coalition deny the Jewish Leadership Council membership, on the grounds that one of the council’s five organizations was a pro-Israel group. Thankfully, this has not been an issue at UVa Law.

One of the main strategies of the anti-Israel hate movement is to try to drive a wedge between Jews and other minorities, suggesting that Jews are not a minority group in an effort to isolate Jews. The facts say otherwise. According to FBI statistics for 2016, the last year for which data is available, Jews were subject to more hate crimes per capita than any other minority group. And according to the Anti-Defamation League, in 2017 anti-Semitic incidents in the U.S. surged nearly 60 percent, the largest single-year increase on record. It is no accident that when the white supremacists came to Charlottesville to intimidate African-Americans and other minorities, one of their chants was “Jews will not replace us.”

Of course, when a culture of hate against one group is tolerated, the result tends to be the targeting of other groups as well. It was not a coincidence that while I was at UC Berkeley, there were numerous racist incidents targeting other minorities, including a fraternity hanging a noose outside their window for Halloween. And I’ll never forget my horror when I sat down at a desk in the UC Berkeley library to find “kill N*****s” written on it. 

Hate crime statistics bear out the connections between different forms of hate on the national level too. In 2016, 50.2 percent of racially-motivated hate crimes targeted African-Americans, and 54.2 percent of religiously-motivated hate crimes targeted Jews. These are strikingly similar numbers.

Benjamin Franklin once wrote “We must, indeed, all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately.” In the 1960s, Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel and Martin Luther King marched arm in arm at Selma, with Rabbi Heschel calling on Jews to “hearken” to Dr. King’s call for equality, and Dr. King denouncing anti-Zionism as a reincarnation of anti-Semitism. We need to rekindle the spirit of those times, and remember that all of us share a commitment to equality.

In the coming weeks, the UVa chapter of the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights and allied organizations will be partnering for two events. On March 19, veteran civil rights litigator Joel Siegel will speak about how Title VI and Title IX claims can be used to address race and sex discrimination in educational institutions. On April 4, civil rights scholar Alexander Tsesis of Loyola Law and Dean Kendrick will discuss campus hate speech and the First Amendment. We hope both events will spark a meaningful conversation about discrimination in educational institutions.


Baruch Nutovic '19




A Debate on Abortion at UVa Law

This year, I have been extraordinarily fortunate to serve on the board of Advocates for Life at UVa Law, a pro-life educational and advocacy student group. Although most of our activities focus on advocacy and necessarily promote pro-life arguments, last year we decided to take on one event dedicated wholly to the “educational” end of the spectrum. On Tuesday, March 20 at 11:30 a.m., we will host that event, cosponsored with The Federalist Society: a debate on the ethics of abortion in Caplin Pavilion.

As the word “debate” implies, the event will involve two speakers, each presenting what is in her respective mind the strongest arguments for or against the legality of abortion. The speakers, Nadine Strossen and Stephanie Gray, will each have the opportunity to build a complete case within the confines of a timed debate.

Both speakers are exceptionally qualified, and I am deeply grateful to each for her willingness to come speak. Nadine Strossen is currently a professor at New York Law School. Her scholarship, though varied, has recently focused on free speech. Through her long involvement with the ACLU—she served as president from 1991 to 2008—she has also gained intimate familiarity with other regulatory and civil liberties issues, including abortion-related issues.

Stephanie Gray, a Canadian based in Vancouver, is the founder of the pro-life outreach group Love Unleashes Life and a co-founder and past executive director of the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform. Gray travels widely speaking about various topics related to abortion and, among many other recent engagements, delivered a presentation for Google’s “Talks at Google” series last year. She has built a career in apologetics and, like Strossen, is a sought-after speaker.

Both Gray and Strossen have participated in numerous debates on abortion, but they will debate each other for the first time next Tuesday!

Both women have agreed to address ethical, moral or philosophical arguments and not legal arguments, about which any student could quickly become informed through reading cases or treatises. The sole goal of the event, from Advocates for Life’s perspective, is to raise important normative questions that students, faculty and other attendees can—and should—continue to debate amongst themselves.

To that end, I extend a very warm invitation to all members of the UVA Law community to come hear the debate. Most law students have some opinions about the regulation of abortion, and I believe the educational value of the event will rise with the number of different views raised during Q&A after the debate. Both speakers have told me personally that they are very eager to hear and respond to your questions. I hope many of you will take advantage of this rare opportunity to hear two of the best!


Betsey Hedges '18

When All You Want to Do Is Moot

My team had just finished the first round of a national moot court competition. I looked at my phone for the first time in hours, and GroupMe had blown up. Apparently, someone had written an incredibly biased, hate-filled article about immigrants in the Law Weekly. Questions and comments were flying as people discussed how We (not a typo, meant to be a capital We)[1], the people of color at UVa Law, should respond.

I read through all of the messages, but I didn’t know what to say. I didn’t even have time to think about what to say—the competition wasn’t over yet, and I needed to focus on prepping for the next round. But of course, that’s easier said than done. How does one shift their attention to an ultimately pointless argument about a fake case when actual racism and xenophobia are happening?

I didn’t spend months working on this problem to give up now. I prepped for the next round, went in, and did my best. We went back to our hotel and prepped for the next day. We got up, got ready, and went out to wait for the shuttle to the competition. While we waited, I looked at my phone, and again, GroupMe was blowing up. I scanned through the messages and saw pejorative terms like “stolen” and “vandalism” as people discussed what had happened that night.

Once again, I was distracted from the competition that I spent months prepping for. My white teammate, only meaning the best, told me not to worry about it and to focus on the competition. Ultimately, I pulled through and we finished the competition as best we could, but it was difficult to not let my thoughts drift back.

What was most striking about this experience was how entirely unsurprising it was. Time and time again, people of color and other minorities are forced to go through the motions of law school while having to deal with events that are incredibly tolling on our mental and emotional health. Every day, we have to walk through the halls of an institution built by slaves, past pictures of all of the white men who came before us, and literal dick pics. We are told to concentrate on our grades and journals and jobs and résumé boosters, but people don’t seem to understand that all of that is inherently more difficult when you are not a cis-gendered heterosexual white male. We are told to learn the laws of our country, but they are all written by old white men to benefit old white men. We are told not to overcommit ourselves, but we can’t simply ignore the needs of our communities and the affinity groups associated with them, so we add those on top of everything else.

No matter how hard we try to be good law students, something inevitably comes up that tears away our focus and makes all that we do that much harder, even when we’re hundreds of miles away and all we want to do is moot.


Courtney Tonks Koelbel '19



[1] Capitalization in original – Eds.


Strict Scrutiny For Libel

110th Show Theme A Product of Exacting Selection

At the heart of the University of Virginia Law School’s annual stage comedy event, the Libel Show, is a secretive conclave whose existence is known only to a select group of insiders. Each year, the theme that unites the show’s sketches is selected, in rigorous secrecy, by high-ranking members of the Libel organization, known to themselves as “the Junta.”

That process, which the Law Weekly has learned is known internally as the “theme party,” takes place every September 30 under conditions much like the in-group gatherings that produce Popes and U.S. presidential candidates. This year’s theme was no different—and it’s already generating surprise and anticipation around the Law School.

Not only was the Charlie’s Angels theme a surprising one in an age characterized more by idealized nostalgia for the Eighties than the Seventies, when young Millennial viewers, according to market research carried out this year by SurveyMonkey, are more likely to assume that “Farrah Fawcett” is a kind of avocado toast than a middling actress, it was also a bold choice in the era of #MeToo. Adapting a show well known even in its own time for coarse innuendo, lingering bath scenes, and plots less driven by sharply written repartee than by “jiggle-TV” slow-motion closeups of the bodies of its protagonists promises to be a challenge for Libel’s production team. How well the conceit of three women overqualified to follow the orders of a millionaire with a speakerphone plays to Generation #Twitter remains to be seen. But now, less than two weeks from the show’s opening night, the Law Weekly has exclusively obtained almost 300 of the themes rejected by this year’s Junta, revealing for the first time the rigor of the theme party selection procedure, and the length of the long odds Charlie’s Angels really ran to emerge as this year’s theme. “Just running your eyes down the column doesn’t really give you a real appreciation of how much effort goes into separating out a theme that really makes the grade,” commented one theme party attendee, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss internal matters. “You really have to read each one out loud, as we do, preferably in a group, to get the full effect.”

Rejected Themes:

Friday Night Libel

The Forty-Year Old Libel

Talladega Libels


Dial "L" for Libel

Sympathy for Lady Libel

Throw Libel From the Train

Slander: Or the 120 Days of Libel

Libel, She Wrote

Libel the Bailiff

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Libel Show

My Fair Libel

McCabe and Mrs. Libel

An Inconvenient Libel

Libel: Redemption

My Dinner with Libel

All Libel on the Western Front

Do the Libel Thing

Dances With Libels

A Serbian Libel

Libel Rublev

Come and Libel

2001: A Space Libel

The Libels of Navarrone

Libelminer's Daughter

The Handmaid's Libel

Libel, the Beloved Country

Libel on the Roof

A Short Film About Libel

Smokey and the Libel

Libel of the Fireflies

When Libel Met Sally

The Umbrellas of Libel

Libel the Gallant Pig

The Luck of Barry Libel

Guess Who's Coming to Libel

Mad Libel Beyond Slanderdome

Breakfast at Libel's

The Heart Is A Lonely Libel

The Big Libelowski

Stand and Libel

Bill & Ted's Excellent Libel

A Clockwork Libel

Libel On A Hot Tin Roof

A Streetcar Named Libel

Zack And Miri Make A Libel

The Libel King

It's A Wonderful Libel

The Libels of Others

For A Few Libels More

Some Like It Libelous

Libeling in the Rain

Libel Runner

The Bridge On The River Libel

Libel, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels

Tokyo Libel

Mr. Libel Goes to Washington

The Passion of Joan of Libel

Libel Without a Cause

No Country for Old Libel

Libel Me If You Can

Chitty-Chitty Libel-Libel

The Man Who Shot Libel Valance

Who's Afraid of Virginia Libel?

The Libel in Winter

It Libeled One Night

Touch of Libel

La Dolce Libel

The Libel Before Christmas

Libel in the Shell

This Is Libel Tap

In the Heat of the Libel

Stalag Libel 13

The Manchurian Libel

Libel is The Warmest Color

But I'm A Libeler

Libelers Don't Cry

Brokeback Libel

Libel Me by Your Name

Love And Pain And The Whole Libel Thing

Aguirre, the Wrath of Libel

Arsenic and Old Libel

Au Revoir Les Calomnies

Libel With Bashir

Straight Outta Libel

Libels from Iwo Jima

Let the Right One Libel

Back to the Libel Part II

O Libel, Where Art Thou?

Hedwig and the Angry Libel

Faster, Pussycat! Libel! Libel!

Invasion of the Libelsnatchers

A Few Good Libels

Who Framed Libel Rabbit?

Fear and Libel in Las Vegas

From Here to Libel

Libel of Arabia

The Last King of Libel

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Libel

A Hard Day's Libel

The Muppet Christmas Libel

Libel or High Water

What We Do In The Libels

West Side Libel

Libel’s 11

Dawn of the Libel of the Apes

The Libel For Red October

A Fish Called Libel

An American Libel in London

Snow White and the Seven Libels

Sixteen Libels

Libel Hard With a Vengeance

National Libel's Christmas Vacation

Last Libel of Christ

The Libel who Wasn't There

The Meaning of Libel

House of Flying Libels

Picnic At Libel Rock

The Libel of Drunken Master

And Now For Something Completely Libelous

Zatoichi: Blind Libeler

Women on the Verge of A Nervous Libel

Libel and Kumar Go to White Castle

The Man Who Libeled Too Much

The 36 Chambers of Shao-Libel

My Little Libel Show Can't Be This Cute!

Gochuumon wa Meiyokison Desu Ka?

Attack on Libel

The Opening of Misty Libel

Deep Libel

Debbie Does Libel

The Three Libels of Eve

The Devil in Ms. Libel

All About Libel

Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Libel (But Were Too Afraid to Ask)

Jeanne Dielman, 23 quai du Calomnie, 1080 Bruxelles

Last Libel in Paris

My Own Private Libel

The Double Libel of Véronique

Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Libels

The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Libeler

The Accidental Libellists

The Triumph of the Libel

Song of the Libel

Birth of a Libel

Gone With the Libel

The Libel Man (this is a twofer at least)

A Libel Runs Through It

They Call The Wind Libel

The Old Man and the Libel

Gilligan's Libel

Howl's Moving Libel

Trading Libels

The Libel Trap

Romancing the Libel

Libel 2: Electric Boogaloo

A Libel In The Sun

How I Libeled Your Mother

Libel Police

Bubblegum Libel: Tokyo 2040

Sex, Libels, and Videotape

Libelous in Seattle

The Prime of Ms. Jean Libel

The Libel of Apu

Three Billboards Outside Libel, Missouri

The Shape of Libel

Libel Out

Bang the Libel Slowly

Our Libel In Havana

The Pink Libel Strikes Again

Around the World in Eighty Libels

The Libel Potemkin

Why We Libel

30 Seconds Over Libel

Libeling Miss Daisy

The Color Libel

Cool Hand Libel

Libel Farm

Blazing Libels

The Man From L.I.B.E.L.

The Libel Always Rings Twice

Libel Indemnity

St. Elmo's Libel

The Man With the Libel Arm

You've Got Libel

Charlie and the Libel Factory

Honey, I Libeled the Kids

Stop! Or My Mom Will Libel

On the Libelfront

Libels Wide Shut

Libel Snowblood 2: Love Song of Vengeance

Violent Libel

Libel Royale

The Year of Libeling Dangerously

Merry Christmas, Mr. Libel

My Big Fat Greek Libel

How Green Was My Libel

Libel: the Professional

A Tree Grows in Libel

Libel At Bernie's

Daddy Longlibels

Edward Libelhands


The Squid and the Libel

20,000 Libels Under The Sea

The Best Years of Our Libels

Django Unlibeled

Libel By Me

Into the Libel

There Will Be Libel

The Deer Libeler

The Libel of the Sierra Madre

Libel History X

My Side of the Libel


3:10 to Libel

Shakespeare in Libel

Libel vs Libel

Sophie's Libel

Libel Day's Journey Into Night

The Libel of Emile Zola

Libel on the Bounty

Seven Libels for Seven Libelers

The Six Million Dollar Libel

Five Nights at Libel's

Four Libels and a Funeral

Three Libels in the Fountain

2 Libels 2 Libelous

One Flew Over the Libel's Nest

Zero Dark Libel

Chariots of Libel

Close Libels of the Third Kind

How to Succeed in Libel (Without Really Trying)

Libeling For Godot

Libel Came the Stranger

Citizen Libel

Philadelphia Libel

It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Libel

In the Realm of the Libels

Of Mice and Libels

American Libeler

The Libels of Wrath

The Libels of Cherbourg

Libel, She-Wolf of the SS

Tuskegee Libelmen

Those Magnificent Men In Their Libel Machines

Field of Libels

Libel Doesn't Live Here Anymore

How To Lose a Libel in 10 Days

Butch Cassidy and the Libel Kid

Libel at the Museum

The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Libel

Sweet Sweetback's Liibeeeeelous Song

Three the Libel Way

Cornbread, Libel and Me

Libelz ’n the Hood

Death Libels a Horse

Libel of the Flying Guillotine

The Texas Chainsaw Libel

Straw Libels

The Hurt Libel

Defamation: Libel on the Street





Libel on 34th Street

How the Grinch Stole Libel

It's the Great Libel, Charlie Brown


David Ranzini '20