“Your blood will boil as the authors meticulously examine scores of cases where, in the name of political correctness, male students are sacrificed to the mob, with academic leaders happily serving as the hangmen,” Barr wrote in a blurb for the Kindle edition of the book, sold by Amazon. (Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos owns The Washington Post.)
Barr also praised the book by KC Johnson and Stuart Taylor Jr. for its critique of President Barack Obama’s Education Department, which Barr said “created a regime of kangaroo justice.” Male students’ lives were being destroyed by accusations of sexual misconduct without adequate evidence, Barr wrote in the blurb, first reported by NBC News.
The emergence of Barr’s praise of the book comes the same week Trump suggested the Justice Department “rescue” Supreme Court Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh from new allegations that he exposed himself to a female student at a dorm party while attending Yale University. The Justice Department does not handle most sexual assault investigations, though it does prosecute sex trafficking and child sexual exploitation.
The Justice Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Barr’s endorsement of “The Campus Rape Frenzy.”
Nadine Strossen, a professor at New York Law School and a former president of the American Civil Liberties Union, also endorsed the book when it was first published. Dorothy Rabinowitz, a member of the Wall Street Journal editorial board, and Alan Charles Kors, a professor emeritus of history at the University of Pennsylvania, endorsed a later edition.
Johnson told The Post that he and Taylor asked Barr to endorse their book because he previously had written a blurb for another of their books, “Until Proven Innocent: Political Correctness and the Shameful Injustices of the Duke Lacrosse Rape Case.” Barr called that book “a gripping, meticulous, blow-by-blow account of the whole grotesque affair ... exposing how vulnerable the prosecutorial system is to abuse and how ready the liberal media and PC academics are to serve as leaders of the lynch mob.”
The authors sought endorsements for “The Campus Rape Frenzy” from legal minds on both sides of the ideological spectrum because they wanted to make the point that fair treatment of defendants should concern people of all political persuasions, Johnson said. Barr’s endorsement, Johnson said, “shows that he’s at least not indifferent to civil liberties.”
“To the extent that he is agreeing with the argument of the book, the basic argument is that adjudications need to be fair and that the rights of everyone need to be respected,” Johnson said. “There is nothing in the book that suggests that universities should not take sexual assault seriously.”
In December 2018, Trump announced that he was nominating Barr as attorney general, replacing Jeff Sessions. Senate confirmation hearings were held in February, and Barr was confirmed by the full Senate on Feb. 14. It is his second stint as attorney general, having served in the George H.W. Bush administration.
Tom Mentzer, a spokesman for Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said the Democrats did not know about the blurb at the time of Barr’s confirmation hearings. A spokesperson for the committee’s Republicans did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Since “The Campus Rape Frenzy” published, Trump’s Education Department has sought to roll back Obama-era rules that outlined how K-12 schools and colleges had to respond to sexual assault allegations. The Obama administration said at the time that the 2011 guidance was merely clarification of the obligations schools already had under Title IX, which bars sex discrimination at federally funded schools. Critics said the guidance encouraged colleges to brand innocent students as rapists.
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has proposed a new rule that she said would restore balance between the rights of the accusers and the accused. The rule, proposed last year, narrows the definition of sexual harassment, decreases the cases that schools must investigate, allows colleges to create a higher legal standard for finding a student guilty and codifies certain rights for the accused.