Saturday, August 13, 2005

Sextonism Watch: University of Michigan Law School



And our first "winner" (from a nominator who asked not to be credited) in our on-going effort to purge ludicrous hyperbole from the legal academy is the University of Michigan Law School, which welcomes prospective students on a public web site with the following Sextonian overstatement:

The law comes alive [here] because of our faculty. Our scholar-teachers are of a quality and breadth unsurpassed in legal education. The grand stone walls of our School prove permeable, as for the past several decades our faculty has become internationally renowned for their interdisciplinary approach to the study of law and legal institutions. My colleagues display a broader range of academic interests and expertises than you will find in any other law school.

Since the bolded lines simply aren't true, and are surely known not to be true by everyone at Michigan, why say them?

Nominations for future Sextonism watches are welcome.

UPDATE:  The plot thickens, since alert readers have pointed out to me that the University of Pennsylvania law

faculty is [also!] unparalleled in the depth and breadth of their intellectual interests, the quality and magnitude of their scholarship, and their dedication to teaching.

Moreover, the Harvard Law School faculty is

home to the world's most intellectual interesting and diverse law faculty.

Now somebody here must be fibbing.

And don't forget, of course, that the UCLA law

faculty is [still] emerging as the strongest faculty in the country.

"Emerging," as Professor Brennan instructed us, is, though, a term of art here:

You don't appreciate the meaning of the word 'emerging.' 'UCLA School of Law is *emerging* as the strongest law faculty in the United States' has to be understood in line with such statements as:

'Saddam Hussein was an *emerging* threat to the United States.'

In other words, it's roughly a negation-operator, as in: 'Three is an *emerging* even number.'

Perhaps a similar gloss will explain how Michigan, Penn, and Harvard are all telling the truth about their faculties.

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