Monday, November 11, 2013
Sunday, November 10, 2013
We last did this four years ago, so here's a new one, listing 21 faculties that might have some claim on being in the "top ten" (no doubt I omitted some faculties better than some of those listed, but we're aiming only for a "top ten" list as the outcome). Please don't participate unless you know something about the area! No school names are used, just lists of faculty writing in the area (broadly construed to include, e.g., civil rights and voting rights, federal courts, but not, e.g., administrative law by itself). A faculty name marked with an * indicates that faculty member is only part-time at the institution.
I'm afraid I can't add (or remove) names once the poll has started. If there are grievous omissions, let me know, and I'll note that when the final results are available.
ADDENDUM: As usual, I ask that no one link to the poll; if there is a link, the school(s) likely to be favored will be removed from the final results.
ERROR OF OMISSION: The faculty list including Chafetz, Dorf, Shiffrin et al. should also really have included Aziz Rana, John Blume, Laura Underkuffler and Sherry Colb--sorry about that error! Fortunately, it appears to have been the only significant one.
AND MORE: I am embarrassed to have carelessly confused the spelling of the last name of my terrific junior colleague Nicholas Stephanopoulos with that of the terrific Oxford legal philosopher Nicos Stavropoulos! In addition, Curtis Bradley could clearly be added to the list that includes Adler, Benjamin, Powell, Youn get al., as could Jack Knight, cross-appointed to law from political science.
AND AGAIN: The faculty list with Blasi, Bobbitt, Greenawalt, Greene et al. should have included Ariela Dubler as well!
Saturday, November 9, 2013
Michigan's Undergraduate Career Services Center compiles a useful list of testimonials by students happy to have gone to law school...
Friday, November 8, 2013
MOVING TO FRONT FROM AUGUST 25, 2011 (NO PARTICULAR REASON, EXCEPT CONFUSIONS ABOUT 'AD HOMINEM' STILL ABOUND IN CYERSPACE, AND THIS POST WAS POPULAR AT THE TIME)
We take a break from our regularly scheduled programming for a brief detour into a subject that is occasionally addressed in the philosophy blogosphere, and is standard fare in "informal logic" or "critical reasoning" classes: namely, the ad hominem argument, what it is, and why it is fallacious with repect to the truth of what someone says, but not necessarily with respect to whether they are reliable or whether one is justified in believing them. There was not a single fallacious ad hominem in my post last week, and while the fact that the random know-nothings that populate cyberspace didn't understand that, it was slightly more surprising that one or two law professors made the same mistake. So perhaps this can be an educational moment. (Those who already know what an actual ad hominem fallacy is can move on!)
"Paul Campos is scamming his school and his students" is an insulting statement, but it is not a fallacious ad hominem. Insults are not fallacious: they may be warranted or not, fair or not, but they do not, per se, involve the ad hominem fallacy. In its pure form, the ad hominem fallacy is the fallacy of arguing from a fact about the speaker to the falsity of what the speaker says. Consider:
Smith claims that heat will flow spontaneously from a cold object to a hot object.
But Smith is a notorious philanderer and drunk.
Therefore, it is false that heat will flow spontaneously from a cold object to a hot object.
In fact, what Smith said is false (he is denying one aspect of the Second Law of Thermodynamics), but the fact that he has bad personal traits does not show it to be false: the bad personal traits in question are irrelevant to the truth or falsity of whether or not heat will flow spontaneously from a cold object to a hot object.
In this case, the bad personal traits in question (sexual infidelity and alcohol abuse) are also irrelevant to whether Smith is a reliable source of information about thermodynamics: one can be knowledgeable about basic physics, and be a cheat and a drunk as well. Contrast that, however, with the following non-fallacious argument:
Smith claims that heat will not flow spontaneously from a cold object to a hot object.
But Smith says he knows this because it came to him in a dream.
Therefore, one is not justified in believing that heat will not flow spontaneously from a cold object to a hot object based on Smith's assertion.
In this example, what Smith said is, as it happens, true (it is now a correct statement of one aspect of the Second Law of Thermodynamics), but a personal fact about the speaker--namely, that the proposition came to the speaker in a dream--is a reason for not believing him, for not treating him as a reliable source of information about thermodynamics. Why? Because dreams are not reliable sources of knowledge about the laws of nature. So here we argue from a fact about the speaker--namely, that his putative knowledge came to him in a dream--not to the falsity of what he says, but to his reliability, to whether we are justified in believing him.
One final case to consider, which involves appeal to a fact about the speaker, but is also not fallacious:
Smith tells his classmate (falsely) that heat will flow spontaneously from a cold object to a hot object.
Smith is a malicious person, who will do anything to get an advantage over his classmates.
Here a fact about the speaker--his malice and willingness to "do anything" for personal advantage--is offered to explain his false statement, but it also arguably implicates his epistemic reliability as well: someone motivated mainly by malice and personal gain is probably not a reliable source of information about any subject that implicates his personal advantage and/or might satisfy his malice. But notice that this last argument presupposes the falsity of the statement in question (it is obviously false, to anyone knowledge about thermodynamics) rather than purporting to establish the falsity: it only explains the making of the false statement.
Back, now, to Campos the Scammer.
Thursday, November 7, 2013
This is illuminating. Of crucial significance about the recent drop (on all three fronts) is that there are more ABA-approved law schools now than there were just a dozen years ago.
UPDATE: Here's a list of ABA-approved law schools by year of approval--we've seen an increase of roughly 10% in the total number of law schools in just the last dozen years.
...once citation rates are normalized across disciplines. Marx is #1.
ADDENDUM: And Chicago is the only law school in the world to have two faculty in the "top 100" for philosophy! (You have to enter "philosophy" in the area space to see the results. Nussbaum clocks in at 26th, yours truly at 76th [how I ended up slightly ahead of Saul Kripke does, shall we say, raise some questions about the metric!])
Wednesday, November 6, 2013
I'm a bit late to this, but I just came across the New York Times story here. As Douglas Laycock (Virginia) notes, it's not really a religious liberty clinic, it's a "free exercise" clinic--indeed, more precisely, it's a clinic devoted to helping religious believers gain exemptions from laws that apply to the rest of us, both the non-religious and the religious who have no objections to a particular law. And given its dubious funding--from right-wing, pro-religious groups--its academic objectivity is in doubt from the get-go. Most surprising of all is how Lawrence Marshall, director of clinical legal education at Stanford, describes it:
"The 47 percent of the people who voted for Mitt Romney deserve a curriculum as well,” said Lawrence C. Marshall, the associate dean for clinical legal education at Stanford Law School. “My mission has been to make clinical education as central to legal education as it is to medical education. Just as we are concerned about diversity in gender, race and ethnicity, we ought to be committed to ideological diversity.”
So the academic rationale for this clinic is that Romney voters need a law school clinic, on the bizarre assumption, I guess, that the only people seeking religiously based exemptions from laws are Republicans.
As I've argued in my recent book, the law of religious liberty in the U.S. is not morally defensible: there is no reason only religious claims of conscience deserve special legal standing. So in that respect also, this new clinic defends a morally unjust status quo. A curious new clinic indeed!
November 6, 2013 | Permalink
Tuesday, November 5, 2013
Monday, November 4, 2013
My colleague Geoffrey Stone comments on the ideological clerkship hiring patterns of the conservative Justices. My anecodtal impression is that Justices Alito and Thomas, in particular, do not hire anyone without Federalist Society credentials, though I am happy to be corrected by someone with more information.
UPDATE: A colleage North Carolina writes: "Dana Remus clerked for Sam Alito a few years back, and she
is neither a Federalist Society member nor someone who identifies as a political conservative."