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Tuesday, October 11, 2005

This looks like a hobbyhorse I can ride

John Tierney's column in the NYT today begins thus:

Journalists and legal scholars have been decrying "cronyism" and calling for "mainstream" values when picking a Supreme Court justice. But how do they go about picking the professors to train the next generation of journalists and lawyers?

Without naming names, Tierney then continues with a reminder of the evidence suggesting political bias in the academy, specifically looking at how law schools are filled with faculty who predominantly give money to (and presumably vote for) the Democratic party. 

This column serves as a good example of the "Your question reminds me of an answer I'd like to give" phenomenon.  Look at the hook to his column, regarding the critique of cronyism.  It cannot be denied that various esteemed members of the conservative punditocracy have been as adamant about the cronyism charges viz. Miers, as the center or the left. See this post by Kaimi, which provides links for George Will, Charles Krauthammer, Randy Barnett, Bill Kristol, and Steve Bainbridge.  These are all conservative "journalists" or "legal scholars."

In concluding his piece, Tierney writes: "As long as the professors look different, why worry if they think the same?"  Tierney may have a point here and I'm not saying that real intellectual diversity, which I hasten to add is not the same as partisan-diversity, is not a desideratum in law schools for both students and faculty.  But it seems strange to launch a critique of the lack of intellectual diversity from the platform of the Miers nomination, which has been opposed by a stunning array of principled conservatives, centrists, and progressives precisely on the grounds of cronyism.  If I'm missing something here, let me know.

Posted by Dan Markel on October 11, 2005 at 11:51 AM in Deliberation and voices | Permalink

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1. Tierney is trying to push losses to the other side. Evil liberals have to be at fault *somehow.* Remember our mantra words: elite. liberals. elite....evil.

2. Everyone (in the GOP) is upset that there is not a "brilliant," elite, professionally prominent, *female* conservative jurist/scholar/judge -- or more than one -- who could have served as a female John Roberts. Elite and smart enough to satisfy some Dems; socially conservative just enough to satisfy the religious right; and appellate law -"inside the D.C. beltway" enough to satisfy vocal libertarian GOP pundits and professors. Why aren't there more of these useful creatures? Tierney says, blame the liberal law schools. Why aren't there more "factories" that can produce the smart jurists the GOP needs? It's liberal cronyism that's at fault, not Bush's bad decision based on cronyism to select his own crony.

That's the "reasoning" I suppose. Good thing there's Times Select - hopefully no one will read his "pass the buck" partisan spewing.

Posted by: privacylaw | Oct 11, 2005 12:05:23 PM

I think that TimeSelect is already having an influence. Don't know about Tierny, but others are affected.
See Daily Kos at
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2005/10/11/154544/44

Posted by: RP | Oct 11, 2005 6:28:10 PM

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