Harvard Law School Services Corporate Power, Gives Corporate Criminals and War Criminals Ovations, Nader Says

Ralph Nader told a group of Harvard Law students last week that Harvard Law School services corporate power and “invites corporate criminals and war criminals and gives them ovations at the law school.”

“Harvard Law School is not an institution that provokes any kind of consternation of fear among the power structure,” Nader said. “Just the opposite, it’s an institution that on the whole rationalizes corporate power, services corporate power brilliantly. It’s an institution that invites corporate criminals and war criminals and gives them ovations at the law school, whether they were involved in the sociocide of Iraq or the military industrial complex fraud that Eisenhower warned about as being a threat to our liberty.”

“A few hundred yards away is Malcolm Sparrow, a Professor at the Kennedy School of Government. Anybody hear of him?” Nader asked the students. “Now watch our culture. Anybody hear of George Clooney? See. Anybody hear of Taylor — what’s her name? Yeah, Taylor Swift? Malcolm Sparrow is the nation’s expert on computerized billing fraud and abuse in the healthcare industry. His minimal estimate is $300 billion a year — ten percent of all health care spending. Never discussed in elections. Hardly discussed in Congress. He has testified once in awhile and they thank him and he packs his bags and comes back to Cambridge. You should invite him here. And he can tell you why the country doesn’t seem to be upset about it — fraud on Medicare. Non enforcement of the laws is rampant.”

Nader said that when he was a student at Harvard Law School in the 1950s, Dean Erwin Griswold, “told us that at Harvard Law School, there are no glee clubs.”

“And we all knew what that meant,” Nader said.

“It’s very hard to get out of the cocoon of law school classes,” Nader said. “When I was at the law school, you’d be at the dorms, and go eat at Harkness Commons and go to Langdell Hall. Going to Harvard Square was a like a trip abroad. It was extremely parochial. They call them silos now. But the law school knew what it was doing. It was a powerful acculturation force. The law school wanted us to become sharp by becoming narrow. They didn’t quite put it that way. But that’s the way it turned out. And they wanted us to have our own pantheon of heroes — mostly judges. They weren’t advocacy lawyers for the poor and the deprived. As a result, we went through three years almost completely tone deaf by your standards today.”

“When I was here at the law school, there were no classes on corporate crime,” Nader said. “And believe me, there was corporate crime in those days. To the extent that they even mentioned it, they called it white collar crime. You know, a teller cheating a bank. But not the banks cheating millions of people.”

“The curriculum was a reflection of the job market. The top salary was $7,500 — but the tuition was only $1,000 a year. The curriculum reflected the job market.  We could learn about collapsing corporations, but nothing about collapsing tenements. We had a course called creditors’ rights — not debtors remedies. We had a course called landlord tenant. We kept waiting to get to the tenant.”

“Is the law a lie?” Nader asked.

“Is the law a lie when you study it as it is on the books but you don’t study it as it plays out in the corridors and arenas of raw power? The law’s mission is to restrain, direct, channel or eliminate, raw, cruel vicious power. If the law has any meaning, it has to connect with justice and fairness. Without the law meaning justice and fairness, what does it mean? It means it becomes an instrument of oppression itself, as many poor people have seen in the criminal justice system. It means that as an instrument, it becomes the opposite of what it should be. It becomes an instrument to concentrate more and more corporate power in fewer and fewer hands so that it begins to emerge as a maturing corporate state.”

“What is the purpose of the Harvard Law School?” Nader asked. “You know who knows? The corporate giants. They know exactly what the purpose is. It is to provide endless relays of lawyers to service their interests, who justify not taking their conscience to work.”

Nader urged the students — “do not minimize yourselves and sell your talents to go to work on lucrative trivia or destructive retainers.”

“Do not do that under any circumstance. You will feel rotten about it. You will be in your thirties and forties and you will hate your work, even though the monthly check is very nice.”

“Supplant your campus small talk with big talk. Look up from your stupid smart phones and see the horizons before you. Experience the life of joy and justice.”


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