Brian Leiter's Law School Reports

Brian Leiter
University of Chicago Law School

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Friday, December 5, 2014

Nelson Mandela one year later

Professor Bernadette Atuahene (Chicago-Kent) writes:


Today is the first anniversary of Nelson Mandela's death.  He became an international icon because he chose reconciliation and forgiveness over war and vengeance.  There is no doubt that Mandela was a great man and a great leader.  But, now that we have mourned, it is time to take a critical look at his legacy.  When we scratch beneath the surface, we find that the political bargain that he brokered to bring an end to apartheid while avoiding massive bloodletting and economic disintegration is now falling apart.

Due to massive colonial and apartheid era land theft, when apartheid ended in 1994, 87% of the land was owned by whites although they constituted less than 10% of the population.  The bargain allowed whites to keep their land despite how it was acquired.  In exchange, blacks got the promise of land reform.  This year, South Africa celebrates 20 years of democracy and the state has transferred only about 10% of the land from whites back to blacks.  Whites have secure land rights while the promise made to blacks has gone unfulfilled.  Needless to say, many blacks are losing their patience


In one of the most impressive public opinion studies on land reform in South Africa to date, Professor James Gibson surveyed 3,700 South Africans and found that 85 percent of black respondents believed that “most land in South Africa was taken unfairly by white settlers, and they therefore have no right to the land today.”  Gibson’s most troubling finding was that two of every three blacks agreed that “land must be returned to blacks in South Africa, no matter what the consequences are for the current owners and for political stability in the country.”  According to Gibson’s data, most blacks, whether they live in rural or urban areas, see the land as stolen and want it back even if redistribution will provoke political unrest.  That is, land injustice has become a sea of oil waiting for a match. 


The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) are that match.  EFF is a newly formed South African political party led by former African National Congress (ANC) youth league president, Julius Malema.  The party’s foundational principle is “expropriation of South Africa’s land without compensation for equal redistribution in use.”  After only a few months of campaigning, EFF won 6.3% of the vote in the national elections this past May, superseded only by the 22% won by the main opposition party—the Democratic Alliance (DA).  To be sure, the ANC secured a safe majority by winning 62% of the vote, but the EFF’s success serves as a reminder of the consequences of its failed land reform program. 


Black South Africans can only be expected to be so patient.  If legal channels for correcting past land theft are not working, then they may resort to illegal or extreme measures to get their land back.  Although Mandela has died, we cannot bury his dream of a free and fair South Africa along with him.

December 5, 2014 in Of Academic Interest | Permalink

Thursday, December 4, 2014

What constitutes "retaliation" under Title IX?


In my other academic field, philosophy, there has been much discussion of the move by the University of Colorado at Boulder to fire a tenured philosophy professor (David Barnett) for "retaliation" against a female complainant in a sexual assault case.  A university investigation found against a male graduate student in philosophy (with whom Barnett had worked); Barnett conducted his own investigation of the university's investigation, and sent the University Chancellor a 38-page report alleging mistakes and misconduct in the university investigation.  (A copy of this report has not been made public to my knowledge.)

So what constitutes "retaliation" under Title IX?  Can alleging a university investigation was flawed constitute retaliation?  How does "retaliation" under Title IX interact with the First Amendment rights of faculty and students?  Any insight from readers would be welcome.

December 4, 2014 in Of Academic Interest, Professional Advice | Permalink | Comments (4)

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Three finalists for George Mason Deanship

They are:  Henry Butler (longtime member of the George Mason faculty), Jim Chen (Michigan State, and the former Dean at Louisville), and my colleague Todd Henderson (Chicago).  While Todd is a natural for a Deanship, his inclusion is clearly an effort to politically diversify GMU by bringing in someone to the left of most of the current faculty!

December 3, 2014 in Faculty News | Permalink

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Legal historian Mark Weiner wins $100K Grawemeyer Award for 2015


December 2, 2014 in Faculty News | Permalink

Monday, December 1, 2014

Still more Posner on Posner...

Saturday, November 29, 2014

In Memoriam: Jean Braucher (1950-2014)

Henderson Professor of Law at the University of Arizona, Professor Braucher was a leading scholar in the areas of contracts, bankruptcy and commercial law.  There is a memorial notice here.

(Thanks to Keith Rowley for the pointer.)

November 29, 2014 in Memorial Notices | Permalink

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Wilson Named Dean of Tennessee

Professor Melanie Wilson, the associate dean ofacademic affairs at Kansas Law, has been named the new dean of the University of Tennessee School of Law.  

November 26, 2014 in Faculty News | Permalink

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Cercone Named Dean of Indiana Tech

Indiana Tech School of Law has named Charles Cercone, currently the associate dean of faculty at Thomas Cooley Law, as its new dean.  

November 25, 2014 in Faculty News | Permalink

"Deep Disagreements: Philosophical and Legal Perspectives"

In Berlin in June.  There's also a call for papers.

November 25, 2014 in Jurisprudence | Permalink

Monday, November 24, 2014

Posner on Posner...