Paul L. Caron

Thursday, November 12, 2020

An Open Letter To ‘Liberal’ Law Professors

Joe Lawprofblawg (Anonymous Professor, Top 100 Law School), An Open Letter To ‘Liberal’ Law Professors:

Dear “Liberal” Colleagues:
I’m very pleased that you are happy with the election results. It makes me happy that you are happy. Although I’m not a member of any political football team, I do think things have been a bit sticky lately. However, now that President-Elect Joe Biden is on the scene, and your blood pressure is down, I thought I would inform you of a few things that will likely be going through my mind in the next four years.

You see, many outside and inside of legal academia will use your vote in favor of Biden as evidence that you are a “liberal.” Because, as I’m told, Democrats are “liberal” and Republicans are “conservative.” But I don’t buy labels. I look at action. And those actions might suggest something entirely different. ...

When you say that President Donald Trump’s supporters are all racist, I look at your faculty profile page. You see, it’s hard not to convince me of systemic racism regardless of party. I look at the numbers of minority professors in legal academia, and I have to say I’m not thrilled by our “diversity.” To me, it seems a bit like many members of the academy was accusing President Trump of doing overtly what the academy does more or less covertly. Or, as I like to call it, projection. I’m not saying you are to blame for your institution’s lack of diversity (unless you are), I’m saying you shouldn’t be selective as to where you see it.

But let’s not stop there. I’ll also see how you treat minority candidates, particularly those who do not hail from Yale, Harvard, or one of the other two schools from which your school hires. I’ll be watching to see how quick you are to attack their scholarship, torpedo their job talks, and then tout the remarkable scholarship of that white guy from Yale. Do you do this as someone who claims to be a big advocate of diversity, much like Trump claimed in terms of how “MAGA loves the Black people?” Did questions about VP-Elect Harris’ qualifications to be president outrage you all the while you were questioning whether a minority candidate would be a “good fit?”

I will look at your conduct on committees. Will you try to kill a minority faculty candidacy at the committee level like you’re Mitch McConnell and the candidate’s name is Garland? ...

When you tell me that Trump treated citizens of blue states as second-class citizens, I look at how you treat nontenure-track faculty and staff. Are legal writing professors and clinical professors your “blue states?” How strongly have you advocated on their behalf? How often do you listen to them? Do you view their scholarship differently than your own? ...

Sure, we could dismiss these all as just professors eagerly checking the privilege of others while ignoring their own, but I hear that voting Democrat makes you a “liberal.”  Liberals don’t just dismiss these concerns, right?

Just wondering.

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The irony is absolutely delicious. Trump's 2020 voter coalition is probably more diverse than most of these lily-white, leftist academic departments and administrations are.

Ignominious hypocrisy, much?

Posted by: MM Classic | Nov 12, 2020 1:50:58 PM

Not that I don't largely agree with this op-ed, but hot damn it is predictable and depressing that such niggling matters like "law students" and "career outcomes" and "debt servicing" aren't mentioned at all. Gosh, it's almost as if law professors view their students and graduates as afterthoughts, if that.

Posted by: Unemployed Northeastern | Nov 12, 2020 8:37:12 AM