Paul L. Caron

Sunday, February 9, 2020

Lindgren: Christians Denied Law Faculty Jobs May Have A Case Against Law Schools

Following up on my previous posts:

The College Fix, ‘Disparate Impact’? Christians Denied Law Faculty Positions May Have a Legal Case, Professor Argues:

Christian applicants for positions as law professors may have grounds to sue for “systematic discrimination,” given their “stark” underrepresentation in law schools, according to a study making waves in legal academia.

Northwestern University Law Prof. James Lindgren characterized his study as the first to probe “law professors’ belief in God and attendance at religious services.” It finds that Jews and nonreligious professors are overrepresented in law schools and Catholics and Protestants, underrepresented.

The St. Thomas Law Journal study floats the possibility of a “disparate-impact” case on behalf of religious candidates for law faculty positions, meaning that they face discrimination in practice under facially neutral policies. Lindgren cautions that further research is needed if “intentional discrimination” is to be discovered. ...

Lindgren’s findings “are certainly accurate,” George Dent, who taught law for nearly three decades at Case Western Reserve, told The College Fix in an email. Dent led an effort in 2017 to increase the political diversity in law academia in order to combat the “echo chamber.”

Brian Leiter of the University of Chicago Law School, meanwhile, disputed the import of Lindgren’s conclusions, writing on his blog that more law professors believe in God or a “higher power” than similarly educated academics.

He told The Fix in an email that Lindgren’s comparison of the legal academy and general population is “silly.” Comparing them to even people with graduate and professional degrees is “nonsensical,” Leiter added, citing his 2009 research that found law professors tend to come from elite law schools.

Lindgren’s findings have relevance beyond law schools, George Washington University Law School’s John Banzhaf told The Fix. He pointed to a Washington Post essay last month that found the number of lawyers tapped to become university presidents has “more than doubled each decade of the last three,” which implies that Christians may also fall out of contention for top university jobs. ...

Whether the underrepresentation results from “disparate impact or overt discrimination is a matter of definition,” Dent told The Fix: “Academics wouldn’t discriminate against a scholar simply because s/he is a Christian, but they despise the beliefs of traditional Christians.”

Faith, Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink


Also, water is wet.
Anywho, they should keep publishing-publicizing this.
And profs: sue, sue, sue. Especially if you're near retirement.

Posted by: Anon | Feb 9, 2020 3:46:12 PM

Dent's statement that academics "despise the beliefs of traditional Christians" is a perfect example of the way the right attempts to use its own prejudices to claim discrimination against it, like the claims about a "war on Christmas". Absolutely absurd. Most lawyers admire people of integrity and conviction, and that includes those of deep religious faith. Most academics have no idea about the religious views of their colleagues or candidates for positions. Sounds like Dent wants a Christian quota for law schools, regardless of merit.

Posted by: Linda Beale | Feb 9, 2020 1:01:34 PM