Derrick Bell has a flair for the dramatic exit. The one that made him famous was his highly publicized decision in 1990 to leave his tenured position at Harvard Law School, where he had been the first black scholar ever hired. Bell quit after Harvard refused to offer tenure to a black woman he supported. But Bell had done the same thing at the University of Oregon six years earlier. And he had made the same threat at Harvard ten years before that. And back in 1959 he had quit the first job he ever held, at the Justice Department, over a matter of principle.
In early February 1984 E. Robert Wallach, a close friend and legal adviser of Edwin Meese, paid one of this occasional visits to the Bronx headquarters of the defense contractor Wedtech, a company that has since grown infamous for bringing and corrupting its way to fabulous success. Only a few weeks before, on January 23, President Reagan had announced the nomination of Meese to replace William French Smith as attorney general.