Among those who testified against marriage equality legislation before the Council of the District of Columbia was Washington & Lee University Law Professor Robin Fretwell Wilson. Wilson is also a member of the Virginia Marriage Commission, which is affiliated with the Family Foundation of Virginia, a Religious Right group.
Right Wing Law Prof Challenged on Deceptive Anti-Marriage Testimony
Councilmember David Catania has written Prof. Wilson a hard-hitting letter challenging her “blatant mischaracterization” and misapplication of previous court cases. Wilson said that court cases had required that police officers be allowed to claim religious exemption to avoid having to defend a casino or an abortion clinic, but according to Catania’s letter, she got the cases absolutely wrong.
Catania pulled no punches:
I am further concerned that your misrepresentations may not have been accidental or inadvertent. Rather, your purported legal analysis and ethical judgment appear to be clouded by your political agenda. You are a member of the Virginia Marriage Commission, an organ of the Family Foundation of Virginia. The Family Foundation’s stated goal is to promote the ideal that marriage “is the union between one man and one woman, [and] is an institution of God and a foundation of civil society.” One of your colleagues at the Foundation is Maggie Gallagher, one of this country’s most virulent opponents of marriage equality. The Foundation’s partners include other well known right-wing organizations including the Family Research Council, Focus on the Family, and the Alliance Defense Fund. In addition to opposing marriage equality, the Foundation opposes embryonic stem cell research, opposes the use of emergency contraceptives, and promotes the defunding of Planned Parenthood. Your failure to disclose your involvement with this organization, combined with your blatant misrepresentations before the Council, leads me to question the independence of your analysis.
Wilson’s uber-lame response, as reported by the Washington Post’s DC Wire was to call Catania’s letter “kind of nasty” and to say “it’s possible I misstated something.”
You think? She may have some other opportunities to defend her flawed testimony. Here’s how Catania’s letter ends.
In closing, I am concerned about the ethical implications of your behavior and strongly caution you to consider your professional obligations of competency and candor. The democratic process depends upon an honest dialogue and open disclosure. As a professor of law, you should know better.
And, as DC Wire notes, Catania did not restrict his letter to Wilson herself:
To make his point, Catania sent a copy of his letter to Robert A. Smolla, the president of Washington & Lee, and Rodney A. Smolla, the dean of the law school. He also copied the letter to the Chief Disciplinary Council for the State Bar of Texas, where Wilson is licensed to practice law.