According to the Epoch Times, psychiatry professor Dr. Bandy Lee, who was fired from Yale University due to her “clinical judgement and professionalism,” is now suing the university for “unlawful termination...due to her exercise of free speech about the dangers of Donald Trump’s presidency."
Lee has a history of questioning former President Donald Trump’s sanity. She was the editor of a book on the subject, titled “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump," and, at one point during a congressional hearing, argued that Trump was so far gone that he should be committed to a mental hospital.
In 2020, she declared on Twitter that Trump’s insanity was contagious, as supposedly evinced by the behavior of his then-lawyer, Alan Dershowitz. She stated in the same post that all of Trump’s voters were disconnected from reality.
However, Dershowitz filed a complaint to Yale, writing that “Dr. Bandy Lee of the Yale Medical School has publicly ‘diagnosed’ me as ‘psychotic,’ based on my legal and political views, and without ever examining or even meeting me.”
Consequently, Lee found herself in hot water for breaking the American Psychiatric Association’s Goldwater Rule, which, according to Yale Daily News, “states that it is unethical for psychiatrists to comment on a public figure’s mental faculties in an official capacity unless granted permission or after a medical examination.” Lee’s membership with the Association ended in 2007.
She was advised to cease her diagnoses of Trump, but Lee ignored the university’s warnings and continued ranting against the now former president before finally being fired in May 2020.
Lee was informed by the chair of the Psychiatry Department that her refusal to observe the Goldwater Rule factored heavily into her dismissal, rather than the “political content” in her tweets.
“Although the committee does not doubt that you are acting on the basis of your personal moral code,” she was told, “your repeated violations of the APA’s Goldwater Rule and your inappropriate transfer of the duty to warn from the treatment setting to national politics raised significant doubts about your understanding of crucial ethical and legal principles in psychiatry.”
Lee, however, does not believe in the Goldwater Rule, and even referred to it as a “gag order.” Yale Daily News reported that Lee “believes the rule goes against her role as a psychiatrist ‘in light of her belief that Donald Trump posed a dangerous threat to this country and the world.’”
Her lawyers have stated that her actions are “clearly protected by the First Amendment and Yale’s guarantees of academic freedom.”
Unfortunately for Lee, the First Amendment stops short of allowing outright slander.