Law schools roundup

by Walter Olson on March 6, 2011

  • Looks as if ROTC will return to Yale and Harvard despite some misgivings at the latter institution over the military’s treatment of transgendered persons [Atlantic Wire, Weekly Standard; also see my Daily Caller interview]
  • California state bar urges U.S. News to factor racial diversity into law school rankings [Althouse]
  • Right-of-center commentators clash on Ninth Circuit nomination of Berkeley lawprof Goodwin Liu [Damon Root, Reason]
  • Odds of this resulting purely from chance distribution would seem pretty low: of 32 members of Congress who have Harvard degrees, 29 are Democrats [Stoll, Future of Capitalism]
  • Rather disrespectful review of new Ronald Dworkin book [Simon Blackburn, Times Higher Ed]
  • There’ll always be a legal academia dept.: “Multidimensional Masculinities and Law: A Colloquium” [UNLV/Suffolk via LaborProf]

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“10 Questions”: I’m interviewed by The Daily Caller
03.07.11 at 12:25 am

{ 6 comments }

1 Benji 03.06.11 at 1:11 pm

The bit on most Harvard congressmen being democrats implies a false causation – for this to matter, you have to assume any incoming Harvard class has a 50/50 split of democrat and republican, but it’d make sense that 29/32 of Harvard students are already leaning democrat. That’d still means the school is biased and caters to one viewpoint at the expense of others, but those are kinder accusations than saying they brainwash their students – you can’t indoctrinate people if they’re mostly all believers already.

2 Bob Lipton 03.06.11 at 1:59 pm

Can you brainwash a true believer? I believe you can. Schools, especially college, is where you learn the techniques of thinking and researching — and by a careful presentation of facts and methods at the relatively basic level, you can reinforce already held ideas: not just the “I already know what I know” but “I’ve been instructed how straw men who look a bit like you can be pitchforked.” I consider that brainwashing.

Bob

3 cgage 03.06.11 at 2:28 pm

Benji, first, correlation does not imply causation.

Second, if Harvard’s incoming undergrads do not have roughly the same spectrum of views as all potential undregrads (and they pretty clearly do not), the question becomes why not. Are Harvard qualified high school students inherently more liberal or are qualified students from the other end of the spectrum discouraged from applying (or even rejected) because they hold those views?

I think:
that they are subtly discouraged.

4 Bill Poser 03.06.11 at 4:33 pm

There are other possible interpretations of this statistic. The obvious one, though unpalatable to many, is that Democrats are smarter. Others include the possibility that Harvard grads who lean to the right choose not to go into public service, that they go into state politics rather than Congress, or that they choose forms of public service other than elected office. All of these are compatible with Harvard producing a majority of Republicans. In isolation you can’t infer much of anything from this statistic.

5 Mike 03.07.11 at 11:22 am

I believe a person’s “lean” (right or left) is well established before college.

6 William Nuesslein 03.08.11 at 9:28 am

I am no fan of Harvard. But I remember a debate among those seeking the Republican nomination for the 2008 election where three of the participants in the debate rejected the well established theory of evolution.

Are Republicans stupid? Some are; but so too are some Democrats. I see it as a contest between the region of the brain associated with syllogistic reasoning and the region of the brain associated with picking up religious dogma. Those societies with brilliant generals have an edge, but so too those those societies that have armies of guys who follow (not question) orders. It happens that SAT exams select for syllogistic reasoning. The modern Republican party is more a Religion built on sound bites.

Officials in Hawaii have stated that Barack Obama was born in Hawaii. That should settle the matter. The existence of a particular birth certificate would prove the matter, the lack of such a particular document doesn’t show that Mr. Obama was not born in Hawaii.

Workers at ground zero were in open air. Air on Manhattan is constantly replaced by the wind. Plus the EPA had all kinds of sensors. None of those showed problems with toxins. Therefore the 5,000 claims for 9/11 money must be bogus.

Our politics is depressing. OGH!

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