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Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
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Thursday, June 15, 2017

Newspaper Editorializes Against GOP Senate's 30% Cut To UNC Law School Budget As 'Petty Revenge Politics' Against Gene Nichol

North Carolina LogoFollowing up on my previous posts (links below):  News & Observer editorial, Cutting the UNC Law School Budget Is a Clumsy Attempt to Quiet a Critic:

The state Senate proposes to cut 30 percent of the school’s state appropriation, or $4 million. ... The proposed cut isn’t aimed at Martin Brinkley, the respected and affable dean who took over in 2015 after a successful career in corporate law. Brinkley is a North Carolinian who moves well among Republicans and Democrats and he’s most interested in preparing law students for careers.

Rather, the proposal seems to squarely target Gene Nichol, another unquestionably brilliant faculty member. ... That’s not responsible budgeting. It’s petty revenge politics, and at its worst, it’s a dangerous attempt to muffle free speech in a place where it should thrive. If anything, his outspokenness spurs more intelligent debate from the right as well as the left. ...

The law school ... has turned out generation after generation of North Carolina’s leaders from the courthouse to Congress. That mission is needed; it is noble.

Republican legislators have control of the UNC Board of Governors and the General Assembly. Some of them are products of the UNC law school. They have nothing to fear from a professor who speaks his mind.

Above the Law, Just Checking In — Yup, North Carolina Politicians Still Stupid:

North Carolina politicians are bumbling their way toward ... [gutting] the University of North Carolina School of Law budget — nixing 30 percent of the state appropriation — for the sole purpose of squelching a professor whose research center highlights the legislature’s piss-poor efforts at managing the state economy. After politicians got his first research center shuttered, Professor Gene Nichol started the N.C. Poverty Research Fund with private funds to continue pointing out the government’s failures. Unable to squelch Nichol’s work through direct intervention, they’ve now moved on to attacking the law school at large, regardless of the damage that does to the future of the state. ...

[T]he effort to cut off the law school just to keep from having to respond to a critic is a dangerous and short-sighted move. In a state where a law school was literally cut off by the Department of Educationfor its performance, North Carolina should be redoubling its efforts to protect an affordable, high-quality public law school.

Prior TaxProf Blog coverage:

Legal Education | Permalink


Two recent perspectives on legal access to the non-wealthy:

"86 percent of low-income Americans' civil legal issues get inadequate or no legal help, study says,"

"[Jay Schalin, director of policy analysis at the North Carolina-based John William Pope Center for Higher Education] ridiculed the [UNC] Poverty Center for working as an 'advocate for the poor,' which, he said, was 'actually a reason for getting rid of it.'"

And here we all were thinking the GOP were the champions for the working classes now that Trump is in office...

Posted by: Unemployed Northeastern | Jun 15, 2017 3:33:23 PM

Is it quieting a critic, or just saying that they are done funding one? Big difference.
I don't know Gene Nichols, or anything about him. But if he's such a thorn in their side, why would he expect that they continue to fund his organization?
Is the NC legislature funding an alternative group on the opposite ideological side of Nichols? If not, why should they fund his views alone? If they can't be balanced and neutral, perhaps they should not fund anyone's particular point of view. Nichols has a right to his viewpoints and criticisms. But he doesn't have a right to expect it to be publicly funded. Nobody does.

Posted by: ruralcounsel | Jun 16, 2017 4:26:42 AM

If you wanted to defund the left without all the blowback, you'd just spread rumors that there were too many lawyers and no one was getting a job. Fewer students go to law school, less tuition revenue, less resources. Then you'd rail against legal scholarship and insist that all resources should go into teaching, not publishing.

Amazing how much dumber and less subtle these North Carolina Republicans are than Herwig Schlunk, Brian Tamanaha, or Walter Olson.

Posted by: defunding the left | Jun 17, 2017 7:34:28 PM