December 14, 2005  ·  Lessig

The New Jersey Assembly has voted 63-5 to enact a law to remove any immunity for negligence in hiring in any case involving sex abuse. Essentially the same bill had been passed by the New Jersey Senate last year. The bill goes to a committee to resolve the small differences. It is expected the Senate will vote tomorrow to concur in the Assembly’s action. The bill will then go to Acting Governor Codey for his signature. It is expected he will sign the bill before Christmas.

The Trenton Times has an editorial rightly praising the actions of the Assembly. But my praise goes to the person who, in my view, more than anyone, brought this matter to a decision.

John Hardwicke is the plaintiff in the case I argued (and which remains pending). But beyond his own case, he has devoted everything in the last few years of his life to getting the law fixed. Movements for justice require this sort of person. Change never happens without them. This change would not have happened, in my view, had John not done everything he did.

There are countless children who will never know to thank this man. Thankfully. But here’s one father who does.

Update: The Senate has passed the bill, 39-1. It now goes to the Acting Governor.

  • Doug Lichtman

    Thanks are owed to you as well, Larry. This was an important fight, and one that others might not have been so brave to fight so publicly. We disagree from time to time on issues, to be sure, but this is one of a million examples where your work is genuinely inspiring, even to quasi-critics like me. So, thank you.

  • Chris

    Great news, what a great early Christmas present for parents everywhere.

  • Alexandra

    Dearest Professor,

    I cannot say how happy I am to hear this news. It is a true victory, not only for you and John, but also for the little children that are relying on us to protect them now, and in the future.

    Well done Professor and well done John!

  • three blind mice

    well, it’s not all good news. note that the new jersey catholic conference and the state bar association opposed the bill on the basis that it would “open the door to costly lawsuits that would curtail the ability of charitable institutions to help those in need.”

    the catholic church still has not come correct. the culture that cultivated the criminal exploitation of children is still there: unchanged, unbowed, any unapologetic.

    the nj bar association is – as usual – simply out of touch with ordinary people.

    there are miles left to walk.

  • Alexandra

    All Things Beautiful TrackBack The Victory Of ‘Lost Innocence’:

    Stanford Law Professor Larry Lessig is a personal hero of mine, and someone I have long admired, not only because he has been championing for the freedom of speech on the internet, but because he had the courage to stand up and make his experience known. Today, the great news came in from The Professor: “The New Jersey Assembly has voted 63-5 to enact a law to remove any immunity for negligence in hiring in any case involving sex abuse…”