Paul L. Caron

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Liberal Bias in Law School?

Following up on my prior post, Ideological Diversity and Law School Hiring (July 20, 2010):

There is no question that if law professors were arrayed on a one-dimensional liberal to conservative line, the majority would be toward the liberal end. The interesting questions are two.

First, just what would the distribution look like? ...This is hard to gauge without some detailed work, but on average I would say that there are more left-wing democrats than center-left democrats. ... On the conservative side there is also a break of a different order, between social conservatives and libertarians. ... [M]y own sense is that a larger fraction of the right of center law professors are active in scholarship than on the left, which changes the public discourse.

Second, there is one factor that mutes these differences in many instances. Law is a profession, and you have to know such things as the civil rules of procedure and corporations. The subject matter requires technical knowledge. There are right and wrong answers. The gap therefore among law professors may be large on such questions as do we believe in constitutional originalism. But by the same token, the technical and professional anchor tends to bring the two sides closer together, for the great benefit of the profession. That is perhaps why it is often hard to figure out where academics stand on the political spectrum from reading their legal writings.

Professor Epstein has a post over at Ricochet. He agrees that there’s liberal bias, but notes that its effect is muted somewhat in the more technical areas of the law (a point that I also made in our debate). ...

Professor Yoo, commenting on the Epstein post, is less sanguine. He notes that the Berkeley study may understate the number of conservative law professors (a point that Elie and I also raised), and he views this possibility as exacerbating rather than ameliorating the problem of liberal bias, due to the problem of self-censorship by right-leaning law profs. ... And some conservatives never even make it into the academy, according to Yoo. ...

But the liberal Liz Wurtzel — John Yoo’s college pal and former colleague on the Harvard Crimson, by the way — is unconcerned. First, she questions whether conservatives are actually unwelcome in law schools. ... And if there is a liberal bias, perhaps it is warranted, Wurtzel suggests. Shouldn’t the fact that intellectuals tend to be drawn to liberal ideas tell us that liberal ideas are smarter?

Legal Education | Permalink

TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Liberal Bias in Law School?:


This comment did it for me. What phony arrogance!
Shouldn’t the fact that intellectuals tend to be drawn to liberal ideas tell us that liberal ideas are smarter?

Who, besides liberals, believe that liberals are both intellectual and smarter?

Have you ever tried to debate liberals? It doesn't take long for them to lose on facts and logic, become irrational, start calling you names, and demand that you be fired.

Perhaps this sums up liberals better:
Psychiatrist Confirms: Liberalism Is a Mental Disorder

The roots of liberalism — and its associated madness — can be clearly identified by understanding how children develop from infancy to adulthood and how distorted development produces the irrational beliefs of the liberal mind. When the modern liberal mind whines about imaginary victims, rages against imaginary villains and seeks above all else to run the lives of persons competent to run their own lives, the neurosis of the liberal mind becomes painfully obvious.

Posted by: Woody | Jul 28, 2010 12:34:52 PM

Whoever Woody is, should he be posting on Tax Prof? Of course not. This post, which basically calls liberals metally defective, has no place on a blog that is both professional and civil. Woody -- take it elsewhere!

Posted by: Karla | Jul 29, 2010 2:47:40 PM

See! Rather than debate the false, condescending statement made by Liz Wurtzel, who said that liberals are intellectually superior to conservatives, Karla gets "offended" at reality and wants to "fire me." The suppression of ideas and alternate views "has no place on a blog that is both professional and civil." Take it to your shrink, Karla.

Posted by: Woody | Jul 29, 2010 8:45:24 PM

Psychiatry is generally a pseudoscience, but I love when it makes a point.

Posted by: Birchy | Jul 31, 2010 8:14:20 AM