September 22, 2016
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.
February 19, 2016
UPDATE: There's a longer article on this brouhaha here. I find I agree with a lot of what Mike Seidman (Georgetown) is quoted in the article as saying in the wake of this dispute. In general, institutions should not adopt positions; faculty should adopt positions. But the convention of recognizing and mourning the passing of a member of that community is so well-established that I don't think anyone could imagine that such official expressions mean that everyone in the community has the same views about an individual's life and career. I doubt there has been a more severe critic of Justice Scalia than my colleague Judge Posner, and yet Chicago, of course, also mourned Justice Scalia's passing and recognized his professional career, as one would expect. I am sure no one thinks this means that Judge Posner is now retracting his previous criticisms of Justice Scalia's jurisprudence!
October 08, 2015
October 06, 2015
MOVING TO FRONT FROM OCTOBER 2--UPDATED
Glenn Reynolds (University of Tennessee) leads the way as usual. President Obama is disgusted, as well should we all be. Reynolds's disgraceful irrationality on this subject is of longstanding. He really is "part of the problem."
UPDATE: A reader sends along this apt 2012 article about gun control. He writes: "This is an issue where there aren't really two sides to the debate that should be seriously considered. This is an issue where there are the facts about gun control and mass killings, and then there are awful rationalizations for the carnage offered by the likes of Glenn Reynolds. As someone who fills out the U.S. News surveys, I am factoring in to my assesment of the reputation of the University of Tennessee the "disgraceful" as you said antics of this facilitator of murder."
ANOTHER: William Page (Florida) sends along another apt piece, noting the utter insanity of thinking that it would contribute to public safety to have armed civilians in the middle of an unfolding crime scene.
September 25, 2015
(Thanks to several readers for sending this along.)
August 31, 2015
August 25, 2015
Paul Campos, who has admitted in writing that, as an academic, he is a "fraud," takes to the pages of CHE to question the scholarly integrity of an actual scholar, mostly through innuendo and repetition of points made already by Steven Lubet (Northwestern). Campos writes:
How did a book consisting of so many [sic] unsourced, contradictory, and improbable events get published by a prestigious academic press and praised to the skies by prominent scholars and intellectuals?
Quoting this line to me in an e-mail, a colleague elsewhere offered an answer: "Well, Paul, the same way you got tenure! Academia is weaker than people think." To be clear, the criticisms of the Goffman book are underwhelming (contrast this investigation, which largely supports Goffman), while the evidence, including his own words, that Campos is a malevolent fraud is overwhelming.
Looking on the bright side, I suppose it's a sign that the "law school crisis" is over that Campos has found a new bandwagon to join in his relentless quest to remain in the media spotlight.
April 13, 2015
Stephen Diamond (Santa Clara) has the details. He won't be missed, it's fair to say.
April 06, 2015
Somehow Paul Campos--fresh from his latest smear piece on Michael Simkovic--got an opinion piece in The New York Times reporting his latest discovery: namely, that state spending on higher education has increased, not declined over the last several decades. How did he arrive at this contrarian conclusion? By looking at absolute dollars spent on education and largely ignoring or downplaying the increase in the number of students during this time. (And nothing, as usual, about Baumol's disease, which is crucial to any serious understanding of higher education costs.) We already knew Campos was not exactly an intellectual giant, but this latest muddle disappointed even my low expectations. For more detailed discussion, see IHE and Slate. And for some actual data on the growth in student population, try this, and on the decline in state spending, this.
(Thanks to Michael Simkovic for suggesting the title.)
UPDATE: CHE collects more responses to this idiocy.
ANOTHER: Still more on this fiasco, which will hopefully mean we won't have to hear from this ignoramus in a major forum again.
January 06, 2014
Alas, my hopes for a Campos-free 2014 have been dashed. After the poll went up last week about whether to identify "dybbuk," the sexist cyber-harasser, I received the following e-mail from Campos:
From: Paul F Campos [mailto:paul.campos@Colorado.EDU]
Sent: Tuesday, December 31, 2013 11:03 AM
To: Leiter, Brian
I have been asked by somebody who has passed on (unsolicited) some potentially very embarrassing personal information about you to me, regarding your activities in cyberspace and some related goings-on in the real world, to make this information public, should you choose to “out” Dybbuk.
I am told by a colleague who teaches criminal law that this threat is blackmail (criminal "intimidation" as we call it in Illinois, or "extortion" or "criminal coercion" as it is in many other jurisdictions). I have no idea what fabrications Campos would produce this time, but there is nothing truthful he could post, and he knows it. (Remarkably, this is also not the first time Campos has tried to coerce another law professor with threats.)
Several law professors and lawyers I consulted thought that I should now absolutely name "dybbuk," since it would be wrong to give in to scurrilous threats like this. On the other hand, I noted last week some of my misgivings about identifying “dybbuk” (in the final update), and those misgivings remain; and while it is true that Campos and dybbuk are "cyber-buddies," as it were, I have no evidence that "dybbuk" put him up to this malevolent stunt ("dybbuk" is an actual lawyer, who probably knows blackmail when he sees it).
I'd be especially glad to hear from some of those originally skeptical about naming "dybbuk" how Campos's latest malfeasance should factor into a decision; others with thoughts on this matter are also welcome to post their thoughts: full name and valid e-mail address required. If you'd rather not comment in public, I understand--getting on the radar screen, even virtually, of these vile people can be unnerving. Anyway, if you prefer, feel free to e-mail me instead.
Thanks. (This is the first week of class, so please be patient if I do not respond in a timely way or if your comments do not appear right away.)
ADDENDUM: A couple of readers point out the link is to multiple statutes (including the "intimidation" statute); here's the relevant bit of the statute: "A person commits intimidation when, with intent to cause another to perform or to omit the performance of any act, he or she communicates to another, directly or indirectly by any means, a threat to perform without lawful authority any of the following acts...(3) Expose any person to hatred, contempt, or ridicule...." Meanwhile, the tweet by law professor Kevin Heller (Melbourne & London) pretty much sums up the reader reaction so far.
ONE MORE: An alert reader calls to my attention that "dybbuk" surfaced on one of the websites where he usually spends his time insulting and ridiculing law professors to make a "statement": "I had no prior knowledge of Paul Campos’s alleged [sic] email to Brian Leiter, and do not approve of it." I am inclined to believe him, partly for the reasons noted earlier. Meanwhile, thanks to other readers for their e-mails. The funniest response comes from a colleague at Penn whose subject-line read "Campos" and whose e-mail consisted of three words: "Oh my God." I do think some readers are having trouble believing he would do something this stupid--even "dybbuk" apparently can't quite believe it! Alas, it is true.
ANOTHER: A commenter below writes:
I thought you'd be interested to know that Mr. Campos has posted on JDU [a chat room] the following explanation for his e-mail: "I contacted Leiter because I assumed he would want to know that someone is trying to get me (and perhaps other people with media platforms) to participate in this person's scheme to embarrass him. And of course this person might act on his or her own." That's a ridiculous defense given the message he sent and given his clear hatred of you. Someone in the same chat observed, “In what world does Paul Campos give a shit about fucking Brian Leiter's reputation enough to inform him of a threat to release embarrassing information?”
This "explanation" is remarkably absurd: if Campos had wanted to warn me of danger, he would have assured me he would never publish such trash, would have warned me about the content, and alerted me to the person making the threat. I guess he now realizes the mess he is in--"blackmailing" another law professor from his university e-mail account--so he is floating this silly story as a trial balloon to see if anyone is stupid enough to believe it! Amazing.