The Day Glenn Greenwald Skyped Into My Law School Class

Comments
Slate Plus
Your all-access pass
May 13 2014 11:10 AM
Comments

The Day Glenn Greenwald Skyped Into My Law School Class

Arguing across an ocean with the author of No Place to Hide.

Glenn Greenwald.
Glenn Greenwald.

Jimmy Chalk

Last fall, I co-taught an ethics course at Yale Law School with Professor Denny Curtis. It’s a seminar in which we explore the obligations of lawyers, journalists, and the courts to provide the public with information.  The idea is to think through the responsibilities of lawyers to their clients, journalists to their subjects, and both to the public.

We spent one class talking about the Obama administration’s leak investigations. The basic questions up for discussion: When should the government investigate journalists? What tactics should the Department of Justice employ? We invited Glenn Greenwald, whose new book I wrote about today, to Skype in for the discussion. Greenwald, of course, is one of the journalists who broke the news about massive National Security Agency surveillance in the documents leaked by Edward Snowden. He’s also a lawyer. And he loves to argue. “I was struck by how much Glenn starts pugilistically, in a litigation pose,” one student remembers about the class, “but then relaxes into a freer conversation as he goes. I noticed this trend both over the course of the entire conversation and over each individual answer.”

He was open and free-ranging with the students. They asked about the central lessons of the government’s response to Snowden’s disclosures. And they wanted to know Greenwald’s response to the argument that Snowden had no business deciding on his own to leak. Greenwald, not surprisingly, completely disagreed. If I remember correctly, he talked about Snowden's leak as an honorable and necessary form of civil disobedience. He certainly made an impression on my students: Says one, “Other Yale Law students seemed more impressed when I told them Glenn Greenwald Skyped into our class than they would have been by visits from probably half the current justices on the Supreme Court.”

TODAY IN SLATE

Culturebox

The End of Pregnancy

And the inevitable rise of the artificial womb.

Doctor Tests Positive for Ebola in New York City

How a Company You’ve Never Heard of Took Control of the Entire Porn Industry

The Hot New Strategy for Desperate Democrats

Blame China for everything.

The Questions That Michael Brown’s Autopsies Can’t Answer

Foreigners

Kiev Used to Be an Easygoing Place

Now it’s descending into madness.

Technology

Don’t Just Sit There

How to be more productive during your commute.

There Has Never Been a Comic Book Character Like John Constantine

Which Came First, the Word Chicken or the Word Egg?

  News & Politics
The Slate Quiz
Oct. 24 2014 12:10 AM Play the Slate News Quiz With Jeopardy! superchampion Ken Jennings.
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 23 2014 5:53 PM Amazon Investors Suddenly Bearish on Losing Money
  Life
Outward
Oct. 23 2014 5:08 PM Why Is an Obscure 1968 Documentary in the Opening Credits of Transparent?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 23 2014 11:33 AM Watch Little Princesses Curse for the Feminist Cause
  Slate Plus
Working
Oct. 23 2014 11:28 AM Slate’s Working Podcast: Episode 2 Transcript Read what David Plotz asked Dr. Meri Kolbrener about her workday.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 23 2014 6:55 PM A Goodfellas Actor Sued The Simpsons for Stealing His Likeness. Does He Have a Case?
  Technology
Technology
Oct. 23 2014 11:47 PM Don’t Just Sit There How to be more productive during your commute.
  Health & Science
Science
Oct. 23 2014 5:42 PM Seriously, Evolution: WTF? Why I love the most awkward, absurd, hacked-together species.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.