September 29, 2016
A good, substantive discussion of the Choudhry case at Berkeley and the values of due process that are at stake...
...by Rick Hills (NYU).
September 28, 2016
50 Best Law School Faculties in Terms of Scholarly Distinction, 2016 edition
Here's a list of 76 faculties that might have some claim on having one of the 50 strongest law faculties in terms of scholarly distinction (with apologies to any wrongly omitted). Have fun! Detailed ballott reporting will make attempts at strategic voting obvious, so don't! I'll call out your school! Remember, this is about the scholarly distinction of the faculties, so if all you know is the U.S. News rank, don't complete the survey, or choose "no opinion" for those schools!
BAD BEHAVIOR WATCH: Remarkably, 4 people have ranked Arizona State ahead of Yale! I wonder where they teach? By way of comparison, only 3 people ranked Columbia ahead of Yale (though 5 did give that edge to Berkeley)--at least this voting is defensible, depending on one's benchmarks for scholarly excellence. ASU is one of the top regional law schools in my judgment, but there's no honest ordering in which it comes out ahead of Yale. (I use Yale as the comparison only because that's easy to read off the data, since Yale is currently #1--when Harvard was #1, the pattern was similar.) If you want to get a sense of attempted strategic voting, take a look at how much schools lower down the list lose to Yale by: most lose in a shut-out, but several, including ASU, do not. Tsk, tsk!
September 27, 2016
ABA will *not* be suspended for one year from its accreditation role
Bullett dodged, for now! But I expect we will see more cases of the ABA being a bit tougher on law schools, especially those seeking accreditation.
Choudhry's lawyers file motion for a preliminary injunction against Berkeley's second disciplinary procedure against him
You can read it here: Download 2016-09-22 PL Motion in Support of Preliminary Injunction - Doc No 13.
I'm glad they've taken this step. Berkeley has been out of control in this matter, and needs a federal judge to intervene.
(Thanks to Sam Issacharoff for the pointer.)
September 26, 2016
Law school enrollment trends 2010-2015 in one state: Indiana
The Midwest was hit slightly harder by the downturn in applications than other parts of the country, but still this chart shows where we are from the 2010 peak, and also that many schools are recovering a bit. (2010, it is important to remember, was the peak for applications and enrollments.)
September 22, 2016
In Memoriam: Hans W. Baade (1929-2016)
Obituary here. I had the pleasure of being Professor Baade's colleague at the University of Texas for thirteen years, and learned much from his vast erudition--as well as enjoying his sly wit.
(Thanks to Tom Russell for the pointer.)
Tennessee Law Prof. Glenn Reynolds--aka, "InstaIgnorance" as I used to call him back in the day--has Twitter account suspended after encouraging motorists to run down protesters in Charlotte
Several readers have flagged this story for me. Reynolds is a benighted soul, alas. A criminal law colleague calls to my attention:
TN Code § 39-12-102 (2015)
(a) Whoever, by means of oral, written or electronic communication, directly or through another, intentionally commands, requests or hires another to commit a criminal offense, or attempts to command, request or hire another to commit a criminal offense, with the intent that the criminal offense be committed, is guilty of the offense of solicitation.
(b) It is no defense that the solicitation was unsuccessful and the offense solicited was not committed. It is no defense that the person solicited could not be guilty of the offense solicited, due to insanity, minority, or other lack of criminal responsibility or incapacity. It is no defense that the person solicited was unaware of the criminal nature of the conduct solicited. It is no defense that the person solicited is unable to commit the offense solicited because of the lack of capacity, status, or characteristic needed to commit the offense solicited, so long as the person soliciting or the person solicited believes that either or both have such capacity, status, or characteristic.
I doubt there will be a prosecution, but who knows? His real mens rea is more likely "dumb and insensitive" than "malicious."
UPDATE: Lawyer Jason Walta writes:
I'm kind of bemused by the seemingly shocked response of the chancellor and law dean. Have these people never met Glenn Reyonolds? Were they previously unaware that he's on faculty there?
The fact of the matter is that this stuff is Reynolds's entire métier, stretching back to when he called for vigilante executions of "looters" during Katrina or lauded William "Gosh I didn't mean to shoot my wife in the head" Burroughs as some kind of Second Amendment hero.
September 20, 2016
The turmoil at the University of Florida over its tax program
Blog Emperor Caron has been tracking this--one might start here. One peculiarity of the critical analysis of the tax program by UF faculty member Robert Rhee is that, in discussing the Sisk data on faculty citations, he fails to note (at least not that I saw) that tax is a low-citation field compared to corporate or constitutional law or just about every other field! That does lead me to wonder about the reliability of other parts of his analysis.
Meanwhile, the drama continues here, with Rhee replying to a colleague. I must admit, the spectacle of this debate about a school's program playing out on blogs is an embarrassment by itself. Between the Blog Emperor and the perpetually aggrieved Jeffrey Harrison (who naturally, has been weighing in on this affair), also a UF faculty member, Dean Rosenbury has her hands full! Florida was fortunate to get a Dean of this caliber, folks there should behave better!
September 19, 2016
20/20 report on the Markel murder and investigation
They did a nice job putting it all together. The only open question that emerges after watching this is: how many of the Adelsons will be indicted? I think it's also worth noting that the Tallahasee police really did an impressively, thorough investigation that solved this crime. In the aftermath, I heard a lot of bad-mouthing of the local police, but in fact it's clear they did outstanding police work. One crucial aspect of the rule of law is that serious crimes, like murder-for-hire, are thoroughly investigated and wrongdoers identified, and that seems to be what happened here.
September 15, 2016
Professor Choudhry sues Berkeley
Hardly surprising given Berkeley's bad behavior: in addition to his due process claims (where his claims, I think, are strong), he is also suing them for violating equal protection because of his ethnic and national status. I'm inclined to think that probably did not play a role in Berkeley's bad behavior, but he's quite right to make that claim under the circumstances.
UPDATE: I've now reviewed the complaint, which is nicely done. I think the equal protection claim is, in fact, a brilliant strategic move, since it puts at issue how Berkeley has treated Caucasian faculty found guilty of far worse violations of the sexual harassment policies of the university; if the lawsuit proceeds, all of that "dirty laundry" will be aired in public. This will give Berkeley additional reason to reach a settlement, quite apart from the fact that the renewed pursuit of Prof. Choudhry is obviously motivated by political considerations and an attempt to improve the University's legal status in the lawsuit brought by Ms. Sorrell, Prof. Choudhry's former assistant.