The Contrarian

McAdams Owes Victory to WILL

MU professor reinstated, was represented by Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty.

By - Jul 6th, 2018 10:51 am
John McAdams

John McAdams

The welcome John McAdams victory is not a David v. Goliath story.

It is instead a reminder of the pivotal role of public interest law firms in fighting for key principles — in this case the rights of an individual who otherwise would have been smothered by the full legal and political clout of Marquette University.

The Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty (WILL) is a relative newcomer to the scene. In operation for less than a decade, it has scored one victory after another in advancing “the public interest in the rule of law, individual liberty, constitutional government, and a robust civil society.”

In WILL’s words, it pursues that honorable agenda “in partnership with like-minded individuals and organizations – often our clients – who are committed to classical liberalism and constitutional government. We recognize that these ideals are neither Democratic nor Republican, but American.”

The McAdams victory will resonate nationwide. It’s hard to overstate the impact, particularly for academic intellectuals — such as McAdams — who don’t march to the numbing drum of current campus orthodoxy. A university president who fails to read today’s decision does so at his or her institution’s peril.

Today’s decision comes more than two decades after another public interest law firm — The Institute for Justice — stood up for Milwaukee parents seeking the right to choose the school attended by their children. Throughout the 1990s, IJ fought one effort after another by Wisconsin’s Department of Public Instruction to throttle the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program. After prevailing twice in the Wisconsin Supreme Court, IJ and others carried the fight to the US Supreme Court. It argued successfully for principles that allow parents in publicly-financed choice programs to choose sectarian or non-sectarian schools. Tens of thousands of Wisconsin families now benefit as a result. Nationally the number is in the hundreds of thousands.

To those who share WILL’s commitment to freedom and the rule of law it can be easy to take its presence for granted. That would be a mistake. In savoring today’s outcome it is important to never forget that without WILL — and others such as IJ — fundamental principles and rights would be at risk.

13 thoughts on “The Contrarian: McAdams Owes Victory to WILL”

  1. Bill Kurtz says:

    This is an honest question, not a troll. How can government intervene here in the governance of a private school? I should add that while I’m a liberal my sympathies would largely be with McAdams, especially if this involved a public university.



    Good question. The issue here was whether MU violated its contract with John McAdams. The answer was yes.

  3. matt says:

    The actual issue is whether the people who finance WILL are the same people that finance the Supreme Court campaigns of all the “conservatives” who thought it was important for the SUPREME COURT to take such a trifle of a contracts case.

    The last time an unfunded poor person got a breach of contract case in front of the Supreme Court was…..

  4. matt says:

    I’m sure George Mitchell and Rick Esenberg have a lot of thoughts about how the Supreme Court has rules preventing lawyers from talking about what a corrupt clown show the state Supreme Court has become, but it is prudent not to mention it.

    Because, as this state shows, the First Amendment is only for asshole professors and bigoted cake makers.

  5. Crazy Chester says:

    Rather a pyrrhic victory for all involved. Marquette’s “compliance” only means that they’ll be changing this policy in future contracts, codifying the (mysterious) gap that the court found in it for McAdams to slither through. Rather than opening up “free speech” (in their bizarre interpretation) this extrajudicial ruling will only stifle it.

    Not to mention, of course, the hypocrisy of the blatantly obvious judicial activism by these so-called conservatives. What else will they “read into” contract law and the Constitution?

  6. Lucy Cooper says:

    Ok George you get your victory lap.

    But I think it is important to note that WILL is primarily funded by the right wing Bradley Foundation. And that WILL picks its cases accordingly to attack government and any liberal causes. Rick Esenberg is an excellent lawyer – not trying to take that away from him.

    But he is one arm of a right wing push to reshape the law and control the courts by pouring money into judicial races.

    Lucy Cooper

  7. Eric J. says:

    -McAdams should suffer the same cyber bullying / hate measures that he inflicted on Abbate when he returns to Marquette .
    -Maybe someone will put his home address or his office location on campus on Facebook.
    -Maybe his contract needs to be renewed shortly.
    -” Who knows “

  8. RT Both says:

    So this is “not a David v. Goliath story”? You got that right, Mr. Mitchell. Because with all the right-wing dollars filling WILL’s coffers, it is a Goliath unto itself.

  9. Troll says:

    I am surprised that university faculty will not stand up for free speech freedoms. If you do stand with the left on all issues that they deem correct. You are racist and a hate monger.

  10. Mary Kay Wagner says:

    McAdams was fired because a panel of his peers concluded that he violated his contract with Marquette University when he publicly went after Abate, a student. Yes Abate was a graduate student and teaching assistant. However, there are protocols for addressing concerns about graduate students’ teaching. McAdams chose not to follow those protocols. Instead, he took the opportunity to publicly shame her and in the process threaten her life. This is just one more case in which the rules don’t apply to conservatives.
    As a Marquette alumni, I was glad to see Marquette stand up for ethical treatment of students including graduate students. I hope that with McAdams’ return, Marquette will limit his contact with students. He has demonstrated that he doesn’t care about their well being; only his right to humiliate them.

  11. Crazy Chester says:

    Mary Kay Wagner – isn’t it funny that conservatives often rail against those seeking relief from the courts, but applaud now when they prevail against a private entity’s decision by going to those same courts?

  12. Jeff Weiner says:

    Consistent stupidity from WILL!!!

  13. PMD says:

    Conservatives: we need to make it easier for universities to fire professors and we need to erode tenure protections. Except for right-wing bully professors of course.

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