Tuesday, February 11, 2020
Here. (The College Fix is part of the right-wing media-sphere devoted to attacking universities.) Here's the relevant part of my exchange with the student author, Troy Sargent, of the College Fix piece now deemed newsworthy.
Mr. Sargent: I am a reporter with the College Fix and appreciate you taking the time to answer my questions. What do you think of the underrepresentation of Christians in law? Are you aware of any other statistics regarding the religious beliefs of professors in other disciplines? Do you think this qualifies as "disparate impact"?
BL: Christian believers are overrepresented in the legal academy compared not only to other academic disciplines but compared to law professors in, for example, England, which even has an established Church. For data on the former, see this.
Mr. Sargent: What do you think of the below comparison Lindgren makes?
"For example, while 24 percent of law professors say that they “don’t believe in God” and another 18 percent “don’t know whether God exists,”among those in the general population who have graduate and professional degrees, only 5.4 percent do not believe in God and 10.4 percent do not know whether God exists."
BL: Again, this is a nonsensical comparison that shows nothing: law professors are not hired from "the general population who have graduate and professional degrees," they are hired from a limited number of elite law schools (see: http://www.leiterrankings.com/jobs/2009job_teaching.shtml), and many have PhDs in a handful of disciplines: Economics, Philosophy, History, Political Science, a couple of others. The "general population who have graduate and professional degrees" includes people with only Master's degrees, MBAs and degrees in public policy, public health, theology; it also includes many graduates of the country's hundreds of sectarian religious institutions.
In the last ten years, we've brought several dozen faculty candidates to campus to consider them for jobs; I can think of only one where I knew what the candidate's religious beliefs were. Otherwise, we have no idea, because a candidate's religious beliefs are irrelevant to their competence to teach and write about securities regulation, administrative law, evidence, civil procedure etc. etc. The only discrimination based on religious belief in law faculty hiring I'm aware of is the open discrimination by some religiously affiliated law schools against non-believers and/or those who have the wrong sectarian religious beliefs.