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September 30, 2019

This is a good year to be looking for a law teaching job

With roughly 90 schools interviewing candidates at the AALS hiring convention this coming weekend, and a record low number of job seekers, this is a good year to be looking for a law teaching job.   Best of luck to those readers interviewing in Washington, DC this weekend!

Posted by Brian Leiter on September 30, 2019 in Advice for Academic Job Seekers | Permalink

September 25, 2019

Danielle Citron (Boston University) is a 2019 MacArthur Foundation Fellow...

...along with 25 others.   Congratulations Danielle!

Posted by Brian Leiter on September 25, 2019 in Faculty News | Permalink

September 24, 2019

Trump nominee to the 9th Circuit has a record as an apologist for creationism

As a student at Harvard Law School fifteen years ago, Lawrence VanDyke (Trump's nominee) published an incompetent apologia for Intelligent Design creationism, under the guise of a "review" of a book shilling for creationism, in the Harvard Law Review.  I excoriated it on my philosophy blog, while further efforts by Mr. VanDyke to defend himself only resulted in his digging his hole deeper.

Of course, an intellectually disgraceful book review fifteen years ago shouldn't be disqualifying, but surely Senators will want to find out if Mr. VanDyke is still a shill for creationism and how that might effect his rulings.

Posted by Brian Leiter on September 24, 2019 in Jurisprudence, Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

September 23, 2019

Trial of two of the suspects in the Dan Markel murder begins today, and a remarkably forthright critique of Wendi Adelson and her family (UPDATED)

As Blog Emperor Caron reports, the trial of the suspected hitman and middlewoman in the Markel murder begins today, but even more remarkable is this piece by Professor Markel's friend Jason Solomon, titled "What Should Happen When Your Mom and Brother Murder Your Ex?," which, rightly indicts the awful behavior of Markel's ex-wife Wendi Adelson; an excerpt:

Since Dan’s death, his friends and family have watched and supported the prosecution of his killers, anxiously awaiting one of the conspirators to flip on Wendi’s mother Donna and brother Charlie so that justice can be done....


But there is another grave injustice in this tragic story. For the past three years, Dan’s ex-wife Wendi has denied Dan’s parents, Ruth and Phil Markel, the opportunity to visit and otherwise communicate with their grandkids. She has also changed their last names from Markel to her name, Adelson....


Wendi and Dan’s boys were robbed of the ability to grow up with a loving father. They deserve to know their paternal grandparents while they still can, to understand who they are and where they came from, to know they were not abandoned. We have seen in the immigration context the devastation that results when kids suddenly lose close family members without any explanation. Surely Wendi — an immigration advocate — knows this as well as anyone, and yet she separates families in her own life.


In the months ahead, Wendi and Dan’s boys — now 10 and 9 — are going to suffer a horrible tragedy all over again. They’re going to learn that Grandma Donna and Uncle Charlie — no doubt a big part of their lives right now — murdered their father. And when that happens, they’re going to need family: grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins who they know love them and would never do anything to hurt them. They have such family on their father’s side — and even Wendi’s older brother Rob’s family on their mother’s — but they never see them.


When Ben and Lincoln find out about what Grandma Donna and Uncle Charlie did, they will no doubt cut them off, likely for the rest of their lives. Will they turn on their mother too? Trust me, teenage boys do that to parents in the best of circumstances. They’ll read and watch everything there is, and question whether Wendi was part of the murder plot too.


I personally believe that Wendi had nothing to do with Dan’s death, as explained here....

But her boys are likely to try to draw clues from how she has behaved since his death. She changed their names from Markel, and now she has kept them apart from their father’s family. What message does that send? What message does it send that since learning definitively (if there was any doubt) of her mother and brother’s involvement three years ago, she has kept the boys in the middle of the criminal dysfunction that is her family, instead of setting boundaries and distancing herself to give the boys the emotionally safe life they deserve? Regardless of what she knew before the murder, her actions afterward make her an active participant in the family’s horrific efforts to wipe out any trace of their father from the boys’ lives.


Wendi still has time to fix this injustice of separating Dan’s parents from her kids, and help her kids survive and thrive in the longer-term. Ruth and Phil Markel have suffered enough at the hands of the Adelson family, and the boys are about to suffer more. It’s long past time to let the Markels have a relationship with their grandkids, and for the boys to reconnect with their father’s family. Time is running short for Wendi to preserve her relationship with her boys: once they find out what happened, the die will have been cast.


So what should happen when your mother and brother murder your ex? You try to make up for it, as best you can. Wendi Adelson can do better.


Accusing innocent people so publicly of murder would be textbook per se defamation.  Will a civil suit be forthcoming?  We'll see.  Wendi Adelson, in any case, really is a disgraceful human being.

UPDATE:   Jason Solomon writes:

I just wanted to pass along a bit more context for you (and your readers, if you think worth sharing).


I wrote the piece to support and help explain a petition that nearly 800 people around the world, including several law professors, have now signed asking Wendi to allow Dan's parents to see their grandkids; it is available here if others want to sign.  


The claim that Wendi's mother Donna and brother Charlie murdered Dan is not particularly controversial; prosecutors have said this and laid out overwhelming evidence in support. They have not yet been charged, and OJ was acquitted. I'm not sure any of them should be described as "innocent people" whom we can't say, publicly or otherwise, committed murder.  Of course prosecutors are not always right, but besides the evidence, the only connection between one of the hitmen (Garcia) and Dan is that one of the co-defendants, Katie Magbanua, dated both Garcia and Charlie Adelson. Probably not a coincidence.


The former torts professor in me feels obligated to point out that though you're right that my statements would be considered defamation per se, that just means the Adelsons wouldn't have to prove that my statements actually harmed their reputation (as you may know).  They would still have to prove that my statements are both false, which they probably don't want to litigate, and were made negligently or recklessly, which would be difficult given that I'm just repeating the prosecution's theory of the case. 

Posted by Brian Leiter on September 23, 2019 in Faculty News, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

September 20, 2019

Sorry for the light posting this week...

....I've been in Brazil giving keynotes at various conferences.  More next week!

Posted by Brian Leiter on September 20, 2019 | Permalink

September 18, 2019

Emory Law School moving to fire a tenured faculty member who mentioned the "N-word" (he didnt use it)

What a disgrace, this simply isn't a firing offense at a serious university with real commitments to tenure and academic freedom.  (The use-mention-distinction.)

Posted by Brian Leiter on September 18, 2019 in Faculty News, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

September 13, 2019

Employment lawyer with higher ed experience in Minneapolis area?

St. Cloud State University is poised to selectively fire tenured faculty in some targeted programs, pleading financial exigency, but in violation of its own rules and policies for such cases.   If any reader knows of a good employment lawyer in Minnesota, please shoot me an e-mail (bleiter@uchicago.edu):  time is of the essence!  Thanks.

UPDATE:  Many thanks for suggestions from several readers; the faculty member in question  now has legal counsel.

Posted by Brian Leiter on September 13, 2019 | Permalink

September 12, 2019

Top 40 law faculties according to readers of the blog

So with 214 votes cast, here are the results; I've added spaces to mark out schools that were "clustered" pretty closely together.


1. Yale University  (Condorcet winner: wins contests with all other choices)

2. Harvard University  loses to Yale University by 107–78


3. Stanford University  loses to Yale University by 154–33, loses to Harvard University by 153–34

4. University of Chicago  loses to Yale University by 154–37, loses to Stanford University by 96–90


5. New York University  loses to Yale University by 157–37, loses to University of Chicago by 105–81

6. Columbia University  loses to Yale University by 177–18, loses to New York University by 102–83


7. University of California, Berkeley  loses to Yale University by 184–9, loses to Columbia University by 149–40
8. University of Pennsylvania  loses to Yale University by 183–9, loses to University of California, Berkeley by 95–83
9. University of Virginia  loses to Yale University by 184–7, loses to University of Pennsylvania by 95–77

10. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor  loses to Yale University by 187–7, loses to University of Virginia by 87–86


11. Duke University  loses to Yale University by 189–5, loses to University of Michigan, Ann Arbor by 103–69


12. Georgetown University  loses to Yale University by 192–4, loses to Duke University by 106–69
13. Northwestern University  loses to Yale University by 189–6, loses to Georgetown University by 90–88
14. Cornell University  loses to Yale University by 189–6, loses to Northwestern University by 89–75

15. University of California, Los Angeles  loses to Yale University by 192–1, loses to Cornell University by 95–79


16. University of Texas, Austin  loses to Yale University by 193–0, loses to University of California, Los Angeles by 100–69


17. Vanderbilt University  loses to Yale University by 186–1, loses to University of Texas, Austin by 92–63


18. University of Southern California  loses to Yale University by 185–0, loses to Vanderbilt University by 99–42


19. Washington University, St. Louis  loses to Yale University by 183–0, loses to University of Southern California by 88–52
20. Boston University  loses to Yale University by 185–3, loses to Washington University, St. Louis by 80–67
21. University of California, Irvine  loses to Yale University by 188–1, loses to Boston University by 81–67
22. George Washington University  loses to Yale University by 187–1, loses to University of California, Irvine by 78–70

23. University of Minnesota, Minneapolis-St. Paul  loses to Yale University by 183–0, loses to George Washington University by 75–63


24. Emory University  loses to Yale University by 186–1, loses to University of Minnesota, Minneapolis-St. Paul by 78–60
25. University of Notre Dame  loses to Yale University by 180–1, loses to Emory University by 73–69
26. Boston College  loses to Yale University by 180–2, loses to University of Notre Dame by 78–60

27. Fordham University  loses to Yale University by 185–2, loses to Boston College by 73–65


28. College of William & Mary  loses to Yale University by 180–2, loses to Fordham University by 73–55
29. University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign  loses to Yale University by 178–0, loses to College of William & Mary by 64–60
30. University of California, Davis  loses to Yale University by 180–0, loses to University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign by 60–57
31. University of Iowa  loses to Yale University by 180–0, loses to University of California, Davis by 70–53
32. University of Wisconsin, Madison  loses to Yale University by 175–0, loses to University of Iowa by 66–57

33. Cardozo Law School/Yeshiva University  loses to Yale University by 174–6, loses to University of Wisconsin, Madison by 67–63


34. George Mason University  loses to Yale University by 178–3, loses to Cardozo Law School/Yeshiva University by 72–49
35. Indiana University, Bloomington  loses to Yale University by 172–1, loses to George Mason University by 58–56
36. Ohio State University  loses to Yale University by 173–0, loses to Indiana University, Bloomington by 57–48
37. University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill  loses to Yale University by 182–0, loses to Ohio State University by 65–50
38. Arizona State University  loses to Yale University by 173–3, loses to University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill by 65–56
39. Brooklyn Law School  loses to Yale University by 169–6, loses to Arizona State University by 61–57
40. Florida State University  loses to Yale University by 176–1, loses to Brooklyn Law School by 59–56

UC Hastings trailed Florida State by ten votes, and Alabama trailed Hastings by 3 votes.

Unfortunately, this looks a lot like the U.S. News overall rank, which is a nonsense number, although there are notable exceptions:  e.g., NYU coming out ahead of Columbia, but also places like George Mason, Brooklyn, and Florida State (but San Diego not making the top 50 was a sign of the pernicious influence of US News).  You can get an idea of which school's voters tried to get a strategic advantage by ranking their school ahead of Yale, as 6 voters for Brooklyn and Cardozo each did (while only 2 Fordham voters did so).   Condorcet largely washes out that kind of voting, but it may have some effect, I can't say for sure.

What's really needed is a survey that presents evaluators with faculty lists, rather than school names--perhaps down the line!  Or if someone else wants to try it, I can help publicize and/or offer advice.

Posted by Brian Leiter on September 12, 2019 in Rankings | Permalink

September 11, 2019

Justice Thomas's jurisprudence of race

Interesting article, that called to my attention some things I had not known.

Posted by Brian Leiter on September 11, 2019 in Of Academic Interest | Permalink

September 10, 2019

Top 40 Law Faculties in terms of scholarly distinction, 2019 edition

We haven't played this game in awhile, so here it goes:  66 choices in an attempt to find "the top 40".  Don't participate if your knowledge of law schools is limited to what you learned from USNEWS.com.   Only participate if you have an informed opinion about the scholarship these faculties produce.   Feel free to choose "no opinion" for faculties you don't know much about.  And have fun!

Posted by Brian Leiter on September 10, 2019 in Rankings | Permalink