Earlier, Opinio Juris posted in its pages an Open Appeal by Diane Desierto, a UP College of Law professor currently clerking with the International Court of Justice, regarding a “show cause” order directed by the Philippine Supreme Court on 37 members of the UP College of Law faculty who signed a statement denouncing the plagiarism and misrepresentation in the High Court’s April 28, 2010 Vinuya ruling and calling for the resignation of the majority opinion writer, Justice Mariano Del Castillo.
The response by two authors whose joint essay was among those plagiarized and twisted by the Vinuya ruling was swift and scathing. Prof. Evan Criddle (Syracuse) and Prof. Evan Fox-Decent, in a joint statement posted by Opinio Juris, called the Supreme Court order “an abuse of judicial power.”
In part, they said: “That a court would assert jurisdiction to sanction its detractors is, in our opinion, an abuse of judicial power. To the best of our knowledge, no court in a democracy has ever attempted to assert the kind of jurisdiction the PSC is asserting now against the UP College of Law.”
“Professor Criddle and I believe that it is not the place of a court to sanction individuals or institutions that have been critical of it,” the two professors said. “This principle is especially important in the case of a law school, where discussion of cases is an integral part of legal pedagogy. The idea that a law school or its members cannot express an opinion on a case is contrary to the best practices of law schools everywhere, and an affront to free expression.”
Find the full statement here.