I’m speaking in downtown Baltimore this Thursday at 12 noon about my most recent book, Schools for Misrule. I’ve given versions of this talk many times around the country but I think this marks the first time I’ve done so in my own state of Maryland. It’s free and lunch is served, but you’ll need to RSVP to the Federalist Society Baltimore Lawyers’ Chapter. Details here.
I’m back from a speaking swing through Nebraska. At the University of Nebraska College of Law in Lincoln, I spoke about food and drink paternalism as exemplified by Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s initiatives in New York, with Prof. Steven Willborn providing a counterpoint from a more liberal perspective. At Creighton University Law School in Omaha, I spoke (as I often do) on the ideological state of the law schools, drawing on my 2011 book Schools for Misrule, with commentary from Profs. Ralph Whitten and Sara Stadler.
Both events were well attended but I was especially pleased at the strong turnout for the talk in Lincoln on food and the nanny state, a new speech I hadn’t tried out before on a general audience. Here’s a description:
The public is increasingly in revolt against “nanny state” interventions, from Mayor Bloomberg’s attempt to limit soda sizes in New York, to efforts to ban Happy Meals in San Francisco. Some thinkers dismiss concern about paternalism as merely trivial and personal, not on a par with issues acknowledged as “serious” such as police abuse, free speech, surveillance, and the proper functioning of the legal system. Left unchecked, however, the project of paternalism quickly generates very serious problems in each of those other areas: it gives police and enforcers great arbitrary power, hands a special government megaphone to some speakers while stifling others, funnels uncomfortably personal information into government hands, and fuels abusive litigation. No matter what you think of potato chips, if your interests are in liberty and good government, you should be paying attention.
I’m next scheduled to speak on the food police Sept. 23 at a Heritage Foundation panel discussion with Baylen Linnekin, Nita Ghei, and J. Justin Wilson, hosted by Daren Bakst. Details here. More on my fall speaking schedule here.
As much as any other institution, the Ford Foundation has shaped the modern American law school, having provided key backing for developments such as clinical legal education, public interest law, identity-based legal studies, and transnational law. Whether you agree or disagree with Ford’s ideological thrust — and as a libertarian, I regularly disagree — it’s a pretty remarkable set of accomplishments. I give an overview and brief history in this new article for the Capital Research Center’s Foundation Watch, adapted from my book Schools for Misrule. (cross-posted from Cato at Liberty; welcome readers from George Leef, NRO)
- “New Study: U.S. Legal System Is World’s Most Costly” [Daniel Fisher, Ted Frank on Chamber/NERA study]
- “Madoff lawyers collect $700 million in fees” [CNN Money]
- “How insurance substitutes for regulation” [Omri Ben-Shahar and Kyle Logue, Regulation, PDF]
- On the Founders’ concept of rights as embodied in Declaration of Independence [Ray Hartwell, American Spectator; and thanks for reference to my book Schools for Misrule]
- “A Glass Half Full Look at the Changes in the American Legal Market” [Benjamin Barton, SSRN]
- Oooh, a whole WordPress site devoted to ripe-for-rediscovery social scientist Edward Banfield [Kevin Kosar: Edward C. Banfield, An Online Resource]
- “Q. How does one go from editing an adult magazine to practicing law?” [Susannah Breslin interviews Dan Kapelovitz]
- “If a law school held a conference on intellectual diversity and the panels really were intellectually diverse …You can bet your last nickel it was sponsored by the Federalist Society.” [Bainbridge, Nick Rosenkranz and more, Harvard Gazette; my 2011 book Schools for Misrule]
- Washington Law Review takes one step to counter another problem addressed in Schools for Misrule, lawprofs’ conflicts of interest [Bainbridge]
- BC dean: law schools should adopt residency model from medical education [Vincent Rougeau, ABA Legal Rebels via Paul Caron/TaxProf]
- Missouri police union head, under fire for Facebook comments, is also constitutional law prof [Mike Riggs]
- Some say drive for slave reparations is defunct, but U.Va. conference confirms many legal academics still haven’t given up on it [Alfred Brophy via Bainbridge]
- “Academy’s Heavyweights Opine on Law Schools’ Problems” [WSJ via Legal Ethics Forum]
- “Board of Regents to Investigate $5.5 Million in Forgivable Loans to University of Texas Law Profs” [Caron]
A letter to the ABA signed by 67 big names in legal education [Caron/TaxProf] comes to conclusions about the economic organization of law schools very similar to those I reached two years ago in the relevant section of Schools for Misrule (not claiming any particular prescience on my part, others had made a similar case before and the signs were clear enough to anyone who would look). Their recommendations:
Legal education cannot continue on the current trajectory. As members of a profession committed to serving the public good, we must find ways to alter the economics of legal education. Possible changes include reducing the undergraduate education required for admission to three years; awarding the basic professional degree after two years, while leaving the third year as a elective or an internship; providing some training through apprenticeship; reducing expensive accreditation requirements to allow greater diversity among law schools; building on the burgeoning promises of internet-distance education; changing the economic relationship between law schools and universities; altering the influence of current ranking formulas; and modifying the federal student loan program. As legal educators, it is our responsibility to grapple with these issues before our institutions are reshaped in ways beyond our control.
- U. Miami: “Law School Email Draws Fire Amid Hotly Contested Retention Election for 3 Top Florida Judges” [ABA Journal, earlier on election]
- Janet Jenkins sues Liberty U. School of Law, charging assistance to custody-nappers; school describes suit as baseless [ABA Journal, earlier on Miller-Jenkins custody case]
- “Maybe a lawprof is not what you want in a politician. And yet, Bill Clinton was a lawprof. So was Hillary Clinton. And there are different types of lawprofs. They don’t all listen, give ground, and offer complex caveats!” [Ann Althouse]
- “Former law student became a chronic litigant” [Boston Globe]
- Andrew Morriss on Tamanaha’s Failing Law Schools [Liberty Law]
- “Institute for Humane Studies Webcast on the Pros and Cons of Law School” [Ilya Somin]
- Fred Rodell knew: reasons not to write law review articles [Matthew Salzwedel, Lawyerist] What a rising law professor should put in a book review [Pierre Schlag via Prof. Bainbridge]
- Bradley C.S. Watson on law school progressivism [National Review, pay site, mentions Schools for Misrule]
The Associated Press covers the pending lawsuit against the University of Iowa by Teresa Wagner, who believes she was shot down for a job teaching legal writing because of her outspokenly conservative views (earlier here, here, and here). A federal trial starts Monday in Davenport, Iowa.
One sentence misses the mark slightly in conveying my views. As I should have taken pains to make clear, the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision, as a decision, is by no means sacrosanct in legal academia; law professors both right and left, young and old, criticize it often for its reasoning, as a political blunder, and on other grounds. What is a good bit less common — and especially rare among younger academics aiming for tenure offers at law schools with no religious affiliation — is a passionate stand against abortion in itself, like Ms. Wagner’s.
The university, for its part, disclaims political bias and apparently intends to argue that Ms. Wagner did not perform as well at the interview stage as her lawyers contend. As I told the AP, while I have no doubt that political bias is rife — in 2007, Iowa’s law faculty is recorded as having had 46 registered Democrats and only one registered Republican — I have severe doubts that the courts will improve matters by peering over the hiring committees’ shoulders. (& TaxProf with links; Des Moines Register “Juice”; Prof. Bainbridge)
You mean there might be than one legitimate point of view on vote-integrity legislation? Hans von Spakovsky spots some ideological assumptions going unquestioned at the Association of American Law Schools, and mentions the larger pattern as sketched out in Schools for Misrule [National Review]