January 04, 2022
The truth comes out: "Amy Wax is not woke."
That's the apt gloss by the funniest law professor on Twitter on the latest "wisdom" courtesy of Professor Wax. First she disparaged African-American students at Penn, now she's come for the "Asians" (with a jab at her least favorite racial group thrown in as well):
In the case of Asians in the U.S., the overwhelming majority vote Democratic. In my opinion, the Democratic Party is a pernicious influence and force in our country today. It advocates for “wokeness,” demands equal outcomes despite clear individual and group differences in talent, ability, and drive, mindlessly valorizes blacks (the group most responsible for anti-Asian violence) regardless of behavior or self-inflicted wounds, sneers at traditional family forms, undermines and disparages the advantages of personal responsibility, hard work, and accountability, and attacks the meritocracy.
I confess I find Asian support for these policies mystifying, as I fail to see how they are in Asians’ interest. We can speculate (and, yes, generalize) about Asians’ desire to please the elite, single-minded focus on self-advancement, conformity and obsequiousness, lack of deep post-Enlightenment conviction, timidity toward centralized authority (however unreasoned), indifference to liberty, lack of thoughtful and audacious individualism, and excessive tolerance for bossy, mindless social engineering, etc.
Soon the only students who can safely take her classes at Penn will be Jews and WASPs.
ADDENDUM: An opinion writer at a local Philadelphia magazine reviews the history of her remarks (as of 2019) and, predictably, called for Professor Wax to be fired. Penn Dean Ruger has issued an even stronger condemnation than before of her recent racist tirade (quoted above).
January 4, 2022 in Faculty News, Law Professors Saying Dumb Things | Permalink
September 13, 2021
Richard Painter (Minnesota) is an astonishingly dishonest person
Some readers will recall some posts from July about Twitter's most unhinged law professor. Remarkably, he continues to lie about me almost two months later, I guess because he's not used to getting any pushback on his unethical behavior. Here is a tweet from September 8 (although he's made the same false claim literally dozens of times over the last seven weeks!), which also included a screen shot of an earlier tweet of mine, lifted out of context from an exchange about academic freedom:
September 13, 2021 in Law Professors Saying Dumb Things, Richard W. Painter | Permalink
January 05, 2021
This didn't age well
January 5, 2021 in Law Professors Saying Dumb Things | Permalink
November 16, 2020
The dumbest law teacher in America?
Quite possibly. He's a lecturer, teaching skills courses, but not a member of the clinical or academic faculties at the University of Miami. Assuming he enjoys contractual protection for academic freedom (I don't know if he does), then he is protected from sanction by Miami for his extramural speech. There is no evidence that he has been sanctioned, only criticized. But in addition to being stupid and a provocateur, he seems to be a bit of a drama queen as well, claiming, without evidence, that he "will" be fired. There's now a mock twitter account that captures this aspect of the melodrama well.
UPDATE: Michael Froomkin (Miami) reports that lecturers are covered by Miami's academic freedom policy, which the university has not violated. Professor Froomkin makes some other interesting observations about this melodrama.
November 16, 2020 in Faculty News, Law Professors Saying Dumb Things, Legal Profession | Permalink
April 02, 2020
Adrian Vermeule, redux
So it appears the notorious tweets that we noted recently were not anomalous, as Professor Vermeule's latest public foray into morbid reactionary fantasies suggests:
[O]ne can imagine an illiberal legalism that is not “conservative” at all, insofar as standard conservatism is content to play defensively within the procedural rules of the liberal order.
This approach should take as its starting point substantive moral [sic] principles that conduce to the common good, principles that officials (including, but by no means limited to, judges) should read into the majestic generalities and ambiguities of the written Constitution. These principles include respect for the authority of rule and of rulers; respect for the hierarchies needed for society to function; solidarity within and among families, social groups, and workers’ unions, trade associations, and professions; appropriate subsidiarity, or respect for the legitimate roles of public bodies and associations at all levels of government and society; and a candid willingness to “legislate morality”—indeed, a recognition that all legislation is necessarily founded on some substantive conception of morality [even wrong ones, apparently!], and that the promotion of morality is a core and legitimate function of authority...
[C]ommon-good constitutionalism does not suffer from a horror of political domination and hierarchy, because it sees that law is parental, a wise teacher and an inculcator of good habits. Just authority in rulers can be exercised for the good of subjects, if necessary even against the subjects’ own perceptions of what is best for them—perceptions that may change over time anyway, as the law teaches, habituates, and re-forms them. Subjects will come to thank the ruler whose legal strictures, possibly experienced at first as coercive, encourage subjects to form more authentic desires for the individual and common goods, better habits, and beliefs that better track and promote communal well-being....
The Court’s jurisprudence on free speech, abortion, sexual liberties, and related matters will prove vulnerable under a regime of common-good constitutionalism. The claim, from the notorious joint opinion in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, that each individual may “define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life” should be not only rejected but stamped as abominable, beyond the realm of the acceptable forever after. So too should the libertarian assumptions central to free-speech law and free-speech ideology—that government is forbidden to judge the quality and moral worth of public speech, that “one man’s vulgarity is another’s lyric,” and so on—fall under the ax. Libertarian conceptions of property rights and economic rights will also have to go, insofar as they bar the state from enforcing duties of community and solidarity in the use and distribution of resources.
One hopes this does not mark the arrival of a "Harvard School" of constitutional fascism!
April 2, 2020 in Faculty News, Jurisprudence, Law Professors Saying Dumb Things, Of Academic Interest | Permalink
March 05, 2020
What happened to Adrian Vermeule?
Here he is suggesting conservatives opposed to Trump should be sent "to the camps" and here he is defaming atheists. Bizarre.
UPDATE: He's apparently deleted his Twitter account in the wake of the former episode.
March 5, 2020 in Faculty News, Law Professors Saying Dumb Things | Permalink
November 12, 2019
Northwestern's Steven Calabresi has not covered himself in glory...
...with this bizarre opinion piece. These twitter responses are representative, and his colleague Steven Lubet has written at greater length about this.
November 12, 2019 in Faculty News, Law Professors Saying Dumb Things | Permalink
July 15, 2018
More fun with Akhil Amar
Several readers sent me this (a propos this).
July 15, 2018 in Law Professors Saying Dumb Things, Legal Humor, Of Academic Interest | Permalink
May 04, 2018
Some choice words from the founder of Thomas Cooley Law School, Thomas Brennan
The recent tax records show that school’s 88-year-old founder, Thomas Brennan, a former Michigan state Supreme Court justice who stepped down as Cooley’s president in 2002, has continued to be paid more than $329,000 a year as an emeritus professor even though he works only five hours a week. An audit released last year revealed that under his contract, Brennan is entitled to receive a salary “based on two times the salary of a Michigan Supreme Court Justice, plus certain other benefits, until his death.”
The school said Brennan was also unavailable for an interview. He has continued to speak out publicly, however, through his “Old Judge Says” blog, in which he offers commentary that might easily be perceived as anti-Islamic, homophobic and radically insensitive. In a 2016 post, he remembered with affection the blackface minstrel shows of his youth. He recalled how he and his brother performed in local minstrel shows in the Detroit area, “our faces blacked to the teeth.”
“In these days of political correctness, the whole idea of minstrelsy seems preposterous,” he wrote. “But the truth is that minstrelsy was fun.”
Other blog posts have criticized the move in Southern states to remove the statues of Confederate Army generals from public spaces. “Political correctness is running amuck,” he wrote. “The Civil War did in fact occur. And there were good people on both sides.” He has labeled Islam “a primitive belief system which comingles [sic] religious doctrine with civil law.” He described the 2015 Supreme Court ruling that guaranteed the right to same-sex marriage as “evil.” The decision, he said, meant that “our beloved nation will slide further toward Armageddon.”
Quite a racket the old parochial bigot has going!
May 4, 2018 in Faculty News, Law Professors Saying Dumb Things, Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest | Permalink
April 27, 2017
Ignorant bloviating about Whittier
I could not agree more with Northwestern Dean Dan Rodriguez:
Whittier's sudden closing is obviously a tough thing for current students and faculty. Perhaps the decision will be unraveled in the face of public pressure or via littigation. Yet there seems precious little basis to jump into a matter whose complex issues are essentially private, despite the efforts of many in and around the school to make this into a public spectacle. Perhaps bloggers should neither aid nor abet these efforts.
The hubris of the unknowing.
Sometimes Stephen Diamond (Santa Clara) has been a voice of reason amidst the mindless blather about law schools in most of cyberspace (and I have linked to him on a number of occasions over the years), but here he has completely missed the boat: the general legal market has been improving, true, but it is hardly mysterious why an institution would close a law school where far fewer than half the graduates even pass the bar. Diamond just politely ignores all the relevant facts about how this school's graduates have been faring, and, of course, is ignorant of the actual finances of the school.
But far more egregious is the presumptuous intervention of Robert Anderson, Associate Professor of Law at Pepperdine. Faculty members at Whittier are going to lose their jobs, and some may never work again as law teachers or work again at all. Yet Anderson has the audacity to scold them for not having taken an early retirement in the financial interest of the school. Seriously? Does Prof. Anderson pay the bills for any members of that faculty, does he know about their college-age children or their elderly parents or their chronic medical conditions that require a salary and a health insurance plan? Does he know that a job is not just a paycheck for many people (maybe not Robert Anderson), but a focal point of purpose and meaning in a life? Does he know that many did take early retirement a few years ago, and that others might have quite reasonably believed that the school's fortunes, now that both its faculty and student body were smaller, would rebound?
I'm sure Anderson doesn't know any of these things, he's just another blogging blowhard who has decided to use someone else's misery as an opportunity to attract some attention to himself. Anderson is guilty of far worse than unknowing hubris.
UPDATE: Some choice quotes from Prof. Anderson's posts:
"The reason Whittier is closing is because of intransigent, highly paid, unproductive law professors hang around for decades even when they haven't published anything or updated their courses since they were doing the Macarena."
"The unfortunate truth of this story [about Whitter] is that none of this needed to happen..... The number of retirement-age faculty was (and is) enormous, likely larger than it has ever been. If faculties had looked beyond their own personal financial self interest they could have easily contracted to meet the market demand and avoided the disastrous effects that have afflicted law students and now law schools. Sadly, the very faculty members whose institution provided them an outrageously rewarding career over many decades seemed the least likely to 'pay it forward' by helping to reduce expenses....Thus, the story of Whittier is a story of generational wealth shifting that is seen throughout tuition dependent law schools, and indeed throughout our country."
April 27, 2017 in Law in Cyberspace, Law Professors Saying Dumb Things, Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest, Professional Advice | Permalink