Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Blast from the past: when a Harvard 3L's racist email made national headlines...

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Canadian Association of University Teachers passes motion of censure of University of Toronto...

...for permitting outside political interference in the appointments process at the Law School.  CAUT censure means all faculty are discouraged from attending conferences at Toronto, collaborating with faculty there, etc.  A shame the Law School's misconduct may bring this sanction down on the entire university in six months. (Earlier coverage.)

December 9, 2020 in Faculty News, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

Monday, December 7, 2020

It's a good thing the President of the AALS doesn't really matter to legal education...

...or there would be reasons to be quite worried about some parts of the recent missives from current AALS President Darby Dickerson (who is also Dean at UIC John Marshall Law School).  In the past, I have commended to the attention of readers some of Dean Dickerson's advice, so these recent statements come as a surprise to me.

To be clear:  there is much that Dean Dickerson says that is sensible and decent, and it's shocking to learn, e.g., that some doctrinal faculty do not treat their clinical or legal writing colleagues with appropriate respect and courtesy.   So, too, greater job security is a good in any line of work, academic or otherwise; no doubt so many academic or "doctrinal" faculty enjoy it only because the ABA mandates it.

But to refer to the existence of different jobs and positions, with different qualifications and expectations, as a "caste" system is just a rhetorical trick, harnessing the pejorative connotation of "caste" to raise doubts about a system of differing qualifications, expectations and authority.  Is it a "caste" system that in a hospital the doctors have different professional status, differential educationl and professional attainments, and different responsibilities and authority than nurse's aides?  Is it a "caste" system that PhDs in chemistry with tenure have different responsibilities and authority than the post-docs or research technicians in their labs?  Unlike real caste systems, a chnage in status is possible with a change in education, experience, and accomplishments.  The only real question is whether the differing qualifications, responsibilities and authority are justified, not whether they are a "caste."  But there is not even the pretense of a substantive analysis and critique of the division of labor and responsibility in Dean Dickerson's letter.  (Surely it is not mysterious, for example, why clinical and doctrinal faculty should have more responsibility and control over the school and its curriculum than, e.g., adjuncts or staff who are not lawyers?)

(I'll just note, as an aside, that the idea at the conclusion of Dean Dickerson's letter that law schools should be "transformed" into "anti-racist institutions" [as distinct from being non-racist ones that comply with equal opportunity laws] would portend a massive violation of the academic freedom of all faculty (for example)-- just as transforming law schools into "anti-communist" or "anti-capitalist" institutions would.   Law schools exist to train lawyers and produce knowledge about the law, not to promote extraneous social goals, even meritorious ones.)

December 7, 2020 in Faculty News, Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest, Professional Advice | Permalink

Thursday, December 3, 2020

Dorf v. Sunstein (and others) on SCOTUS's striking down of the NY public health regulations affecting houses of worship

Professor Dorf is on a roll!

December 3, 2020 in Of Academic Interest | Permalink

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

I talk about the Supreme Court and legal realism... Brain in a Vat, where I also learned a bit about South African constitutional law.

December 2, 2020 in Jurisprudence, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Trump lawyer Joe DiGenova should be disbarred...

Dorf v. Epstein on COVID...

Monday, November 30, 2020

"The Roles of Judges in Democracies: A Realistic View": the podcast...

...with Professor Brian Frye (Kentucky), regarding this article.  My thanks to Professor Frye for inviting me to discuss it!

November 30, 2020 in Jurisprudence | Permalink

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Justice Amy Coney Barrett, newest member of the super-legislature...

...delivers for her constituents, i.e., religious conservatives.   This is why she was chosen, it had nothing to do with intelligence or legal competence:  it was so she would exercise her power as a super-legislator on behalf of issues dear to religious conservatives, public health or the general welfare be damned.   Governor Cuomo should declare the Court mistaken, and ignore the ruling. After all, if Justice Ginsburg had not died, this case would have come out the other way, as everyone knows.  Her appointment in Samarra should not change constitutional law, a proposition even conservatives who profess commitment to the rule of law might agree upon.

November 26, 2020 in Jurisprudence, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

Monday, November 23, 2020

The Constitutional Court of South Africa: the building

A lovely tour from former Justice Albie Sachs, a brilliant judge and a deeply humane and courageous man, a kind of jurist utterly foreign in the highest reaches of the U.S. legal profession in recent years.


November 23, 2020 in Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest | Permalink