Go to top

THE BLOG

Jonah Gelbach Responds to Amy Wax and Jon Haidt

  • Jonah Gelbach
  • September 21, 2017

[Guest post by Jonah Gelbach] As is by now well known, my Penn Law colleague Amy Wax recently co-authored a controversial op-ed published at Philly.com with University of San Diego law professor Larry Alexander; for brevity, which is in short supply in this post, I’ll generally call this just the “op-ed” and refer to it as Professor Wax’s, except when it is especially relevant to refer to Professor Alexander. Professor Wax subsequently gave an interview to the Penn student newspaper, the Daily Pennsylvanian, which led to an article that fueled the controversy; henceforth, I’ll call this the “DP interview”. Much more has transpired, including a number of critical columns and other statements, as well as various tweets and posts in support of Professor Wax and articles with quotes from or extended interviews with Professor Wax.

This post will focus principally on the op-ed and the DP interview, as well as an open letter to the Penn community that I signed along with 32 other colleagues of Professor Wax’s; henceforth, I’ll call this the “Open Letter”. As a matter of full disclosure, I note that I was the organizer of this letter and took ultimate responsibility for creating and finalizing its contents. [There is a brief response from Haidt at the end]

Research Summary: The Legal Academy’s Ideological Uniformity

  • Sean Stevens
  • April 29, 2017

Recent research by Adam Bonica, Adam Chilton, Kyle Rozema, and Maya Sen has further explored the ideological makeup of the legal academy and compares it to the legal profession outside academia. Consistent with Rosenkranz and Langbert et al., Bonica and colleagues report that the legal academy possesses an ideological uniformity and that law professors are typically more liberal than other legal professionals.

Seeking Common (Law) Grounds

This guest post is written by Kendall Burchard, J.D. Candidate at the University of Virginia School of Law. The well-documented increase in political polarization on America’s college campuses has unsurprisingly spread to the nation’s law schools over the past few years. Dismayed by the trend, students, faculty, and staff at the University of Virginia School..

Heterodox Black Professors Say Scalia was Right

Justice Scalia caused an uproar last week when he tried to defend the "mismatch" hypothesis in an unvarnished and direct way, to which some took offense:

There are those who contend that it does not benefit African-Americans to get them into the University of Texas where they do not do well, as opposed to having them go to a less-advanced school, a less — a slower-track school where they do well.

The mismatch hypothesis says that race-based affirmative action hurts black students on the whole, because when it is done across the country, it places many black students into schools where they are below average in academic preparation or ability. This sets them up to earn low grades, feel discouraged, and to drop out of highly competitive fields such as STEM and law. If race-based affirmative action were ended, black students would then do just as well as other students at their schools, and would be MORE likely to pursue careers in STEM and law.

Intellectual diversity and the Association of American Law Schools

  • Nicholas Rosenkranz
  • September 28, 2015

John McGinnis has an excellent post over at Library of Law and Liberty (andcross-posted at our new Heterodox Academy), highlighting the rigid liberal orthodoxy of the Association of American Law Schools (AALS). AALS has just sent around the notice of its 2016 annual meeting, highlighting its “Speakers of Note.” As Prof. McGinnis points out: “Of the thirteen announced, none is associated predominantly with Republican party, but eleven are associated with the Democratic Party. Many are prominent liberals. None is a conservative or libertarian.” McGinnis argues that the conference would profit from including some other perspectives.

The Association of American Law Schools Needs More Political Diversity

In the week that a new organization, Heterodox Academy, was established to press for more ideological diversity in academic life, the learned association in my own profession showed how much it is needed. The Association of American Law Schools (AALS) sent around a notice of its prospective annual meeting, highlighting its most prominent speakers. Of the thirteen announced, none is associated predominantly with Republican party, but eleven are associated with the Democratic Party. Many are prominent liberals. None is a conservative or libertarian.

Five are judges, including Stephen Breyer, all appointed by Democrats. Another is the incoming Senate leader of the Democrats. Three others contributed predominantly to Democrats. One for whom no contributions could be found held a fund raiser for President Obama. Another worked for the Democratic side of the House Judiciary Committee during the impeachment of President Clinton.