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University of California Hastings College of Law




In 1977, I think it was, the Yale law faculty considered whether to bar recruiters who discriminated against gays and lesbians-most notably the military-from interviewing students on campus. With the faculty then dominated by liberal giants, one might think the ban would have been a matter of little controversy. But the liberals thought the matter complex, so many interests to consider, nuance, nuance everywhere.

Geoff Hazard was not a liberal giant of that faculty. He was a titan and stood in awe of no giant, liberal or conservative-and there were conservative giants on the faculty then too, albeit fewer in number. Geoff was conservative, in the true and now oh-so-rare sense of that word. A man who believed in the conservation of core principles, those worthy of a decent and free society. In stark contrast to his colleagues, all tangled up in the supposed complexity of the matter before the faculty that day, Geoff saw past all that. As always, he spoke succinctly: "The matter is simple. First, it was blacks, then Jews. Irish, Italians. Now gays." The discriminating entities should be banned from campus. And Geoff voted that way. Before I graduated in 1978, the measure passed.

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