Brian Leiter's Law School Reports

Brian Leiter
University of Chicago Law School

A Member of the Law Professor Blogs Network

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Still more on international law and Gaza

This is a useful summary of the legal debate.


August 2, 2014 in Of Academic Interest | Permalink

Thursday, July 31, 2014

One more lateral hire for the 2013-14 season

I've added it to the earlier list, but am happy to report that Dhammika Dharmapala (tax law & policy, corporate law & finance, law & economics) from the Universityi of Illinois has accepted a tenured offer to join the faculty here at Chicago, beginning this academic year (14-15).


July 31, 2014 in Faculty News | Permalink

Leila Sadat's "Crimes Against Humanity Initiative" to be taken up by U.N.

Story here.


July 31, 2014 in Of Academic Interest | Permalink

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Petition in support of Hanoch Sheinman

I would urge readers to sign this well-crafted petition in support of Prof. Sheinman, drafted by lawyer/philosopher Matthew Kramer (Cambridge) and philosopher Sergio Tenenbaum (Toronto).

UPDATE:  An editorial in Haaretz criticizes the Bar-Ilan Dean, rightly so.


July 30, 2014 in Faculty News, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Another Israeli legal academic in the news, this time for sending an e-mail expressing some recognition of the suffering in Gaza (but not only there)

I am grateful to Prof. Ariel Katz (Toronto) for translation of the pertinent parts of this news item concerning Prof. Hanoch Sheinman, a well-known legal philosopher at Bar-Ilan University.  Prof. Sheinman sent an e-mail announcing another exam date to his students.  The message opened by expressing the hope that the message,

finds you in a safe place and that you, your families and friends...are not among the hundreds of people killed, thousands injured, or the tens of thousands whose homes were destroyed or forced to leave their homes during or as a direct result of violent conflict in the Gaza Strip and the surrounding area.

The Dean at Bar-Ilan was “shocked” and called the email “highly offensive”. The Dean announced that the,

Letter from Professor Scheinman - both content and style – is contrary to the values ​​of the University and the Faculty of Law. The Faculty of Law champions the values ​​of pluralism, tolerance and freedom of expression, but the inclusion of positions [such as those expressed in Prof. Scheinman’s email] in an administrative notice sent by Professor Scheinman to students regarding examinations is not an exercise of academic freedom or freedom of personal expression in every way acceptable. This is abuse of power by a lecturer who exploits his position as a jurisprudence teacher to send messages reflecting his views, which are highly offensive to the feelings of students and their families.  

I agree with the Dean that this is not an issue of academic freedom, but his response to the benign recognition that many people are suffering and Prof. Sheinman's hope that his students are not among them is bizarre.  As Prof. Katz wrote to me, "I guess this is what it looks like when a democracy is losing its mind."


July 29, 2014 in Faculty News, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

In Memoriam: Cheryl Hanna (1966-2014)

A scholar of legal issues related to gender, she was professor at Vermont Law School, well-known in Vermont and elsewhere for her public commentary on legal issues.  There is an informative news item about her career here.


July 29, 2014 in Memorial Notices | Permalink

Saturday, July 26, 2014

More on the murder of Dan Markel

An unusually informative piece from a Miami newspaper, with new (to me) details about the murder and his acrimonious divorce.  This bit, however, was rather surprising:

But Markel also had critics, including some conservative bloggers and law-school skeptics who complained PrawfsBlawg failed to challenge the legal establishment.

In 2012, Markel was the subject of an anonymous comment on the blog Inside the Law School Scam.

“Bullies like this need to be made radioactive,” the writer said, alleging Markel had deleted anonymous comments on PrawfsBlawg. “Their arrogance and imperiousness speaks for itself. All means necessary must be employed.”

A Florida State spokeswoman declined to say whether  Markel had reported the incident to the university or had raised concerns about his safety.

That comment comes, of course, from the blog of Crazy Campos, who certainly did his best to incite hatred and calumny against many academics, including Dan Markel.  But it seems a stretch to connect this blog comment with the heinous crime!  One wonders how the reporter dug this up out of the bowels of cyberspace?

UPDATE:  More gruesome details:  the killer was waiting for him, shot him through the window of his car while he was talking on the phone.  Earlier reports that he knew the killer seem to have been mistaken.


July 26, 2014 in Memorial Notices | Permalink

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

12 Israeli international law scholars weigh in on the legality of cutting off electricity and water to Gaza

A propos the debate noted last week, 12 Israeli scholars have weighed in on the legal question.

(Thanks to David Enoch for the pointer.)

UPDATE:  My colleague Eric Posner weighs in, disagreeing with the preceding legal analysis.


July 23, 2014 in Of Academic Interest | Permalink

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Bargain tuition leads to notable initial applicant pool for new U North Texas law school

Story here.  At roughly 14K per year that's going to put some real pressure on SMU and Texas Wesleyan (now Texas A&M) which are significantly more.


July 22, 2014 in Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

Saturday, July 19, 2014

In Memoriam: Dan Markel (1972-2014)

I am very sorry to report the horrible news that Professor Markel, a well-known criminal law scholar and theorist at Florida State, has died, apparently murdered during an attempted robbery of his home in Tallahassee on Friday.  (The details are unclear at this point, I will post more as soon as I know more.)

UPDATE:  This news item confirms that he was shot and died of the gunshot wound.  The circumstances of the shooting and the perpetrator remain unspecified.

ANOTHER:  From what colleagues at FSU tell me, Prof. Markel was murdered after opening the door of his home, though whether as part of a robbery or something else is unclear.  It's just ghastly.

AND ANOTHER:  His colleagues at PrawfsBlog have posted a memorial notice, and the thread is open for remembrances and condolences.

MORE:  Local police have confirmed they are investigating the crime as a homicide, without any mention of robbery, attempted or otherwise.

JULY 21:  Local police now confirm that Prof. Markel's murder was "targetted," not a random act of violence.  I would imagine there are a rather limited number of people with the requisite motive, so we may hope a perpetrator of this heinous crime will be apprehended soon.

ANOTHER UPDATE:  I did not know Dan Markel nearly as well as many others who have written movingly about him (see, e.g., here, and here and here).  We met a couple of times, I knew a bit about his criminal law scholarship, and we corresponded periodically, often about legal academia and "blog stuff."  One thing I always liked about Dan was his forthright manner and his ethical standards, so rare in the blogosphere.  During his years of running the successful Prawfs blog, he was always good about moderating comments and deleting nonsense, and never hesitated to identify, expose and, if necessary, ban cyber-miscreants; he succeeded in making Prawfs a place where a serious, adult discussion could actually sometimes take place in cyberspace!  He was feisty and principled, and admirably so (I felt that way even when I disagreed with the principles!).  In addition to his collegial and scholarly constrributions (to which the many on-line testimonials attest), he also made the "blawgosphere" a better and more interesting place.  Like so many others, I deeply regret his passing and extend my deepest condolences to his colleagues, his family and his many close friends.

AND MORE:  The FSU memorial notice is here.

A FINAL UPDATE:  Based on the latest reports from police, it is clear that Prof. Markel was the victim of a pre-meditated murder.  Who was behind it is still unknown, but I suspect there is quite a lot that is not yet known.


July 19, 2014 in Memorial Notices | Permalink