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University of Illinois drops late Chief Justice John Marshall from its law school

‘Our university continues to be a place where diversity, inclusion and equal opportunity are supported,’ said the chancellor

John Marshall Law School is being renamed the University of Illinois Chicago School of Law starting July 1, because the American judge for whom it is named owned and sold slaves.

Marshall was the fourth chief justice of the United States Supreme Court. He served from 1801 to 1835 and established the principle of judicial review.

The news release by the University of Illinois Chicago included a statement by Chancellor Michael Amiridis, assuring all parties that the decision had not been made lightly:

The university has arrived at this new name following a thorough and carefully studied process that included input from all corners of the institution and beyond, considered issues of racial injustice and aimed to ensure that our university continues to be a place where diversity, inclusion and equal opportunity are supported and advanced.

The release also said that a task force, a “6-1 membership recommendation,” and the law school faculty all agreed that the Marshall name should go.

In a May 23 unsigned editorial, The Wall Street Journal charged that there are other motivations for removing the Marshall name at this time, unrelated to slavery or racism. These unstated motivations have to do with progressive skepticism of the current Supreme Court.

“This autumn the Supreme Court will begin what could be its most consequential term in years, with abortion and gun rights on the docket. Marshall’s insight that an independent judicial authority could serve the national interest by balancing against political authorities is as relevant as ever,” The Wall Street Journal editors wrote.

“Some progressives want to throw that out the window, and instead intimidate the Court into their desired policy outcomes. Maybe that’s the real reason they want us to forget Chief Justice John Marshall,” the editors added.

MORE: Law school claims exam question that offended students is not protected by academic freedom

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About the Author
Jeremy founded three of the Real Clear Politics family of websites and has covered subjects ranging from religious trends to space travel to an armed standoff, for hundreds of publications. His books and comic books include The Warm Bucket Brigade: A History of the Vice Presidency, William F. Buckley, and Movie Men. Jeremy graduated from Trinity Western University, where he served as an editor for the Mars Hill newspaper.