Posts Tagged ‘law schools’

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]

Accreditation process pulls law schools leftward

Mark Pulliam at Liberty and Law explores a theme I raised in Schools for Misrule: the ABA accreditation process for law schools is ideologically fraught and pushes the schools toward certain prescribed views of social justice. Even for well-established, high-ranking schools the process can be an arduous one, propelled by “what the ABA euphemistically calls ‘site visits,’ but would more commonly be referred to as compliance inspections.” And the standards are not neutral — in particular not Standard 206, which establishes “diversity and inclusion” as one of the association’s accreditation desiderata. Under that standard, site visitors and reviewers investigate the institution’s “commitment” to diversity, evaluating that commitment in light of the “totality of the law school’s actions and the results achieved.”

Schools are required, for example, to “create a favorable environment for students from underrepresented groups” The vagueness and open-endedness of such standards — might it contribute to a less favorable environment, for example, for a school to be short on course offerings or visiting speakers in a given identity-related area? — is sure to “invite subjective application, prompting schools to ‘over-comply’ to avoid an adverse finding.” No wonder schools cluster at the safe end by maintaining well-staffed diversity and inclusion departments, prioritizing demographic over intellectual diversity in faculty hiring, and cultivating attention to identity categories in student life. The piece kicks off what Pulliam says will be a periodic series.

May 2 roundup

Campus puritanism, cont’d

If the WSJ paywall kept you from reading my piece last month on Yale admissions and social justice, an unpaywalled version is now up courtesy of the Cato Institute.

Related: “Then, he asked me what my ‘exit plan’ was. He explained that there were certain safe ways to exit the building.” Later: “‘A student shouted out “F–k the law.” This comment stunned me. I replied, “F–k the law? That’s a very odd thing. You are all in law school.”‘” Josh Blackman speaks at CUNY Law School, the city-sponsored law school dedicated to one particular and controversial ideology, that of “public interest law.” [Blackman’s blog post; Robby Soave, Reason; William Jacobson, Legal Insurrection; Eugene Volokh (“seems like an organized attempt to keep Blackman from speaking…The protesters’ standing on the same stage as the speaker, I think, would also not be tolerated for other events”); Eric Turkewitz (“Is their training so shoddy that they don’t grasp there are differences of opinion on how a law or the constitution is read?…Why are they afraid of words?”)]

Also related: Keith Whittington of Princeton speaks at Cato on his new book, “Speak Freely: Why Universities Must Defend Free Speech” [Ilya Somin, Jonathan Adler]

April 11 roundup

  • For best effect, read it aloud: “Do YOU appear in the form of water droplets? Are YOU found on grass and windows in the morning? If so you MAY be dew condensation.” [Andy Ryan]
  • “Bezos could get out of Trump’s kitchen by telling the editors and reporters at his newspaper to shut up about the President.” [John Samples]
  • Wave of ADA web-accessibility suits hit banks: “N.Y. lawyers sue 40-plus companies on behalf of blind man in a month” [Justin Stoltzfus, Legal NewsLine] More: Jonathan Berr, CBS MoneyWatch;
  • “Law schools should not continue hiring faculty with little to no practical experience, little to no record of scholarship, and little to no teaching experience. ” [Allen Mendenhall, Law and Liberty]
  • U.K.: “Couple claiming compensation for food poisoning exposed by holiday selfies” [Zoe Drewett, Metro]
  • Federal judge: “every indication” that prominent Philadelphia personal injury firm “essentially rented out its name in exchange for referral fees” [ABA Journal]