Posts Tagged ‘law schools’

Scholarship gone right, and wrong

Old, new property law casebooks make for a contrast of doctrine versus indoctrination [Charles Rounds Jr., Martin Center] Former Yale dean Anthony Kronman’s latest book, The Assault on American Excellence, is a pointed critique of trends at elite universities [Caron/TaxProf; I reviewed one of Kronman’s earlier books back when] Shortcomings of present law school model leave dire need for alternatives [Mark Pulliam, Southeast Texas Record] “On the Ethics of Legal Scholarship” [Marquette Law Review symposium with Carissa Byrne Hessick, Paul Horwitz, and others]

How Charles Reich helped define the 1960s

If you’re looking for the enduring legacy of famed Yale law professor Charles Reich, I argue in a new Cato piece, it’s not so much to be found in his bestselling daydream of liberation The Greening of America as in his hugely influential work on government benefits as the “new property” of the administrative state. Excerpt:

Part of its ingenuity was in couching in seemingly sober and cautious terms an idea whose implications (especially welfare rights) were otherwise controversial, so as to appeal to moderates and also to the sorts of thinkers who would soon be termed libertarian. (The New York Times, in its obituary, says that “The New Property” article “defended an individual’s right to privacy and autonomy against government prerogative,” which sounds either Cato-ish or positively anodyne.) …

Reich’s remedies did not really operate to curtail big government, while they did advance the power and role within it of lawyers and those comfortable with legal process. In that way too, Reich outran his peers at capturing the spirit of his era.

Included: a discussion of the seeming, but in the end illusory, parallels between Reich’s early-1960s writing interests and those of economist Milton Friedman. More: anecdotes of Reich at Yale from Supreme Court Justice Sam Alito, via Josh Blackman. And a personal anecdote: classmates told me about this guy who’d roam the Old Campus engaging freshmen in long conversations, who was this famous author — but when he talked with my entryway-mates I happened not to be there, so I missed him.

Federal credit-reporting law may cover profs’ student recommendations

Now this is just bizarre: the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act is so loosely written that it may threaten professors with liability related to their writing of some student recommendations. In particular, the FCRA may apply if the recommendation ventures beyond direct experience, such as the student’s performance in class, to other pertinent information such as jobs the student may have held. In that case the professor or college might be legally obliged to furnish certain notices to students, which few or none currently do.

As a practical matter, because “the FCRA was designed to protect consumers from misconduct of credit bureaus and users of their information, it contains various protections that don’t fit well in the world of law school recommendations. For example, under 15 USC § 1681e, law schools would have to ask recipients of the recommendations (judges?) to certify certain things about their use of the information. Employers who based a decision at least in part on a recommendation would have to provide certain notices to the student, 15 USC § 1681m, after which students could obtain certain information from the school under 15 USC § 1681g. And so on.” [Jeff Sovern, Consumer Law and Policy]

Campus speech roundup

  • At UCLA as elsewhere, pledges and obligatory statements about diversity threaten academic freedom [Robert Shibley, Minding the Campus, Paul Caron/TaxProf, Christian Schneider, New York Post, earlier]
  • 2019, 1673, whatever: By calling ourselves “inclusive,” Cambridge explains, we mean “there is no place here for” those who fail to accept key tenets of faith and morals [Robby Soave] He “had just chosen to move from Australia, the country where he earned his degrees and spent most of his career, to China. Why? Because, as a researcher, he has more freedom in China.” [Peggy Sastre, Quillette] Heresy hunts in American academia aren’t exactly new, consider what happened fifty years ago to once-lauded “culture of poverty” anthropologist Oscar Lewis [Bryan Caplan]
  • Remarkable glossary of terms “intended to structure and referee conversations on campus” circulates at Amherst College, whose Office of Diversity and Inclusion has a staff of 20, more than one for every hundred of the institution’s 1800 students [Rand Richards Cooper, Commonweal via Christina Sommers] University of Michigan has at least 82 full-time diversity officers at payroll cost of $10.6 million, a sum would cover full in-state tuition for 708 students [Mark Perry on Twitter] At the University of Texas, diversity-related staffers cost $9.5 million annually [Derek Draplin, College Fix]
  • Some conservatives do their bit to undermine academic freedom when they try to get professors fired for bad speech unrelated to teaching and scholarship [David French, Robby Soave]
  • Law schools debate whether to be even more ideological, although the product of the academy is supposed to be knowledge rather than activism [John McGinnis responding to Samuel Moyn] Outcry after Emory Law School suspends professor who had uttered racial slur in context of critically describing others as using the slur [Paul Caron/TaxProf, more]
  • Rhode Island student drummed out of state college for not advancing “value of social and economic justice” can take his case to a jury, rules state’s high court; Cato Institute had filed amicus brief on his behalf [Ilya Shapiro and Patrick Moran]

October 10 roundup

  • “Heisman Trophy People Sue HeismanWatch For Using Images Of The Trophy And Stating Its Name” [Timothy Geigner, TechDirt]
  • At elite law schools, the days when a centrist liberal like Elena Kagan could offer a welcome to Federalist Society types are fast drawing to a close, writes Reihan Salam [The Atlantic]
  • Being able to link to federal court cases and legal materials would be huge: legislation from Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) “would require that the courts make PACER documents available for download free of charge” [Timothy Lee, ArsTechnica]
  • “UPDATE: Judge Rules Province Has No Duty to Recognize Bigfoot” [Kevin Underhill, Lowering the Bar, earlier]
  • First state with such a law: “California governor signs bill banning sale of animal-tested cosmetics” [John Bowden, The Hill]
  • North Carolina bar says lawyer “defrauded, deceived and embezzled funds from two mentally disabled clients who were declared innocent after spending 31 years in prison” [Joseph Neff, Marshall Project]

Higher education roundup

  • Administrators at University of Southern Maine, a public institution, hastily yank course that offered credit for harassing Sen. Susan Collins on Kavanaugh nomination [Dennis Hoey, Portland Press Herald, USM press release] Some colleges would rally around an alumnus nominated to the high court, while others would maintain institutional neutrality. At Yale a large faction demanded a commitment to opposition [Peter Schuck, Minding the Campus; related Twitter thread (“2018: the year of weaponizing college friendships”)]
  • Canadian university suspends economics professor without pay for publishing journal article documenting colleagues’ publication in questionable scholarly journals [Douglas Todd/Vancouver Sun, paper]
  • Q. How many lampooned academics does it take to appreciate the Helen Pluckrose / James Lindsay / Peter Boghossian grievance studies hoax? A. That is *not* funny [Alexander C. Kafka, Chronicle of Higher Education rounding up reactions]
  • Notwithstanding “enforcement will be consistent with the First Amendment” disclaimer, language in U.S. Dept. of Education Office for Civil Rights ruling could pressure universities to restrict some criticism of Israel [Eugene Volokh]
  • “As many as one in three students at some elite colleges have been officially designated ‘disabled.'” [Garland Tucker, Martin Center] “ADA in the Classroom: Suitable Accommodation or Legalized Cheating?” [Ari Trachtenberg, 2016]
  • “Taking the Bar Exam as a 46-Year-Old Law Professor” [Orin Kerr]

Feds and states bless ABA’s gatekeeper status in law school accreditation. Why?

The American Bar Association (ABA)

has been granted monopoly status over the accreditation of law schools by the U.S. Department of Education (for purposes of determining eligibility for federal student loans) and nearly all state supreme courts (for purposes of determining eligibility to take the bar exam). Monopoly status is inevitably prone to abuse, and in recent decades the ABA has gone far beyond its original mission of establishing minimum standards for legal education to protect the public. Professor John Baker maintains that “the ABA is an ideological organization forcing its ideology into the standards on accreditation.”

I found while researching my book on legal academia, Schools for Misrule, that the ABA’s and AALS’s (Association of American Law Schools) role as accreditors has had far-reaching structural effects on law schools and probably ideological effects too, as well as restricting competition and discouraging innovation. I agree with Mark Pulliam that the federal government and states should refrain from artificially promoting these groups’ gatekeeper role or, worse, conferring monopoly status on them [Law and Liberty]

September 12 roundup

  • Peer-to-peer car sharing platforms could reduce the costs of car usage, unless elements of rental car industry manage to strangle it through regulation [Jonathan M. Gitlin, ArsTechnica on Illinois Gov. Rauner’s veto of a bill to cripple startups] Are we headed toward a legal requirement that cars be designed to sense that a driver has high blood alcohol and not function then? Does it matter whether the car is self-driving? [Nicole Gelinas]
  • “11th Circuit rages against ‘incomprehensible’ shotgun complaint, concludes lawyer’s intent was delay” [ABA Journal]
  • Quackery and bluster define the lawsuit filed by NY, MD, NJ, and CT attorneys general against Congress’s curtailment of state and local tax (SALT) deduction [Reilly Stephens; more, Howard Gleckman, Tax Policy Center]
  • “Conservative/Libertarian Faculty Candidates Are Hired By Law Schools Ranked 12-13 Spots Lower Than Equally-Credentialed Liberal Applicants” [James Cleith Phillips via Paul Caron/TaxProf]
  • Coming next week: I’m set to host and moderate a Sept. 20 forum at Cato in D.C. on the Indian Child Welfare Act. Featured are three lawyers who have been involved in high-profile ICWA litigation, Timothy Sandefur of the Goldwater Institute, Matthew McGill of Gibson Dunn, and Charles Rothfeld of Mayer Brown and Yale Law School [details and registration; event not livestreamed, but video to be posted later]
  • And now for something completely different: “Charles Evans Hughes and Chevron Deference” [Gerard Magliocca]

June 27 roundup

  • Judge orders Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach to take CLE lessons as sanction for disclosure and discovery missteps [Lowering the Bar, Jonathan Adler]
  • In 7-2 decisions, Supreme Court of Canada finds it “proportionate and reasonable” limitation on religious liberty for Ontario and British Columbia to refuse rights of legal practice to grads of conservative Christian law school which requires students to agree to refrain from sex outside heterosexual marriage [Kathleen Harris, CBC, Caron/TaxProf, Trinity Western University v. Law Society of Upper Canada, Jonathan Kay/Quillette, earlier on Trinity Western]
  • “Gratiot County, Mich. officials foreclose on 35-acre parcel worth $100k over unpaid $2k tax debt. They sell the property for $42k and keep $2k to cover the tax bill—and keep the other $40k as well. District court: ‘In some legal precincts that sort of behavior is called theft.’ Motion to dismiss denied.” [John Kenneth Ross, “Short Circuit” on Freed v. Thomas, United States District Court, E.D. Michigan]
  • UK: “Obese people should be allowed to turn up for work an hour later, government adviser recommends” [Martin Bagot, Mirror]
  • “Law Schools Need a New Governance Model” [Mark Pulliam, and thanks for mention]
  • “Until 1950, U.S. Weathermen Were Forbidden From Talking About Tornados” [Cara Giaimo, Atlas Obscura]