I’ve got an op-ed in today’s L.A. Times (Walter Olson, “Slavery reparations: what happened?”, Oct. 31) based on a longer article forthcoming in City Journal. (The short answer to what happened: 9/11, public opinion, and the courts.)
The City Journal article is in turn a much condensed version of a draft chapter in my book-in-progress about the influence of the law schools. As I show in that chapter, there were few places where reparations enthusiasm burned hotter than in legal academia, with conferences and law review articles galore devoted to advancing the cause. The most prominent law school advocate of the reparations cause back then, Harvard’s Charles Ogletree, is back in the news these days because of his role as mentor (and, reportedly, chief advisor on racial issues) to Democratic candidate Barack Obama; he’s being mentioned as a possible civil rights chief in the next administration. Not surprisingly, Ogletree has had much less to say about the reparations cause this year than he did eight or nine years ago; I have a feeling that in an Obama administration he’d be under strict orders not to get near the issue, but of course I could be wrong.
We’ve covered reparations litigation extensively at Overlawyered.