Monday, July 20, 2015
Friday, July 17, 2015
Thursday, July 16, 2015
A new empirical article by Tom Ginsburg and Thomas J. Miles finds evidence of possible complementarity between scholarly output and quality of teaching at the University of Chicago.
From the conclusion:
The recent debate on the mission of American law schools has hinged on the assumption that a trade-off exists between teaching and research, and this article’s analysis, although limited in various ways, casts some doubt on that assumption.
Tom Ginsburg & Thomas J. Miles, The Teaching/ Research Trade-Off in Law: Data From the Right Tail, 39 Evaluation Rev. 46 (2015).
Tuesday, July 14, 2015
Two Colorado law professors (actual scholars, not the notorious clown!) have undertaken an interesting longitudinal study of law school success, looking at data, though, from just two schools: Colorado and Case Western. It is informative about schools with similar profiles, but I wonder whether the results hold if one looks at much stronger or much weaker schools?
(Thanks to Dean Rowan for the pointer.)
Friday, July 10, 2015
According to LSAC, June 2015 LSAT takers were up 6.6% from June 2014, the first time we've seen an increase since June 2010, and the biggest increase since June 2009. I wouldn't suppose that this means we will see a significant increase in applicants, but it certainly seems likely we've hit a plateau.
Wednesday, July 8, 2015
Monday, July 6, 2015
I'll post a link to a news release when one is available. Perhaps now that Illinois has appointed a distinguished Dean from the outside, those U.S. News evaluators who have been punishing Illinois in the reputational surveys will consider giving the school a more generous score?
UPDATE: The Illinois announcement.
Thursday, July 2, 2015
These are appointments that will take effect in 2016; I will move the list to the front at various intervals as new additions come in. Last year's list is here.
*Steve Vladeck (federal courts, national security law, constitutional law) from American University to the University of Texas, Austin.
*Melissa Wasserman (patents, intellectual property, administrative law, torts, innovation law and policy) from the University of Illinois to the University of Texas, Austin.
Monday, June 29, 2015
This line from his commentary was particularly funny:
The chief justice criticizes the majority for “order[ing] the transformation of a social institution that has formed the basis of human society for millennia, for the Kalahari Bushmen and the Han Chinese, the Carthaginians and the Aztecs. Just who do we think we are?” We’re pretty sure we’re not any of the above. And most of us are not convinced that what’s good enough for the Bushmen, the Carthaginians, and the Aztecs should be good enough for us. Ah, the millennia! Ah, the wisdom of ages! How arrogant it would be to think we knew more than the Aztecs—we who don’t even know how to cut a person’s heart out of his chest while’s he still alive, a maneuver they were experts at.
Friday, June 26, 2015
The full majority and dissenting opinions are here. A few quick observations:
1. In finding an unenumerated right of same-sex couples to marry under the Equal Protection and Due Process clauses of the Constitution, the Supreme Court really for the first time since 1973 has found such a new right. (Lawrence v. Texas, the 2003 case rendering homosexual sodomy statutes unconstitutional, was decided on the basis of a "liberty interest" protected by the Due Process clause. If one treats that as part of the pantheon of "unenumerated rights" cases, it still gives a vivid sense of how rare such "discovery" of unenumerated rights has become.)
2. The dissents, especially by Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Scalia, complain that the majority has, in effect, exercised a quasi-legislative power, rather than a judicial one. I believe that is correct, but it is rich with irony coming from the conservative wing of the super-legislature, which has often exercised the same power for venal, rather than laudatory, ends.
3. This part of Justice Scalia's dissent is especially entertaining:
Judges are selected precisely for their skill as lawyers; whether they reflect the policy views of a particular constituency is not (or should not be) relevant. Not surprisingly then, the Federal Judiciary is hardly a cross-section Take, for example, this Court, which consists of only nine men and women, all of them successful lawyers who studied at Harvard or Yale Law School. Four of the nine are natives of New York City. Eight of them grew up in east- and west-coast States. Only one hails from the vast expanse in-between. Not a single South- westerner or even, to tell the truth, a genuine Westerner (California does not count). Not a single evangelical Christian (a group that comprises about one quarter of Americans), or even a Protestant of any denomination. The strikingly unrepresentative character of the body voting on today’s social upheaval would be irrelevant if they were functioning as judges, answering the legal question whether the American people had ever ratified a constitutional provision that was understood to proscribe the traditional definition of marriage. But of course the Justices in today’s majority are not voting on that basis; they say they are not. And to allow the policy question of same-sex marriage to be considered and resolved by a select, patrician, highly unrepresentative panel of nine is to violate a principle even more fundamental than no taxation without representation: no social transformation without representation.
It's good to see that mindless identity politics has arrived at the Supreme Court in the hands of a conservative Catholic from Brooklyn! But the most amusing aspect of this is the first sentence, and its parenthetical "or should not be": that parenthetical is there because even Justice Scalia knows that judges are not chosen for their legal skill but for their moral and political views. Everyone doing the selecting knows this.