Do Law Schools Discriminate Against Conservatives and Libertarians in Faculty Hiring?

A new study finds evidence that they do.

|The Volokh Conspiracy |

James Cleith Phillips has just posted Testing a Beckerian-Arrowian Model of Poltical Orientation Discrimination on the U.S. Law Professor Labor Market: Measuring the "Rank Gap", 2001-2010. Here's the abstract:

There are comparatively few conservative and libertarian law professors on U.S. law school faculties. Why is this? One possible explanation is discrimination based on political orientation. This paper tests this using a model of discrimination based on the work of Nobel Prize-winning economists Gary Becker and Kenneth Arrow in order to measure the "rank gap"—the difference in the ranking of a hiring law school based on one's political orientation after controlling for other predictors of that ranking (clerkships, publications, the law school one graduated from, etc.).

The paper, using matching statistical methods, finds that upon comparing conservative/libertarian law professors hired from 2001-2010 with equally-credentialed liberal law professors, conservatives/libertarians end up, on average, at a law school ranked 12-13 spots lower (i.e., less prestigious). … This rank gap is not uniform, being more moderate with the top 75 schools, non-existent with schools 76-100, and the largest with the lowest-ranked schools. … The paper finds a similar "rank gap" for law professors whose political orientation was unknown or moderate compared to their liberal peers. Thus, while there may be other mechanisms causing the dearth of conservative/libertarian law professors in the legal academy, those who do make it in the door appear to experience discrimination based on political orientation.

The paper also discusses the harms that a lack of conservative/libertarian law professors causes. Namely, legal scholarship suffers from an echo chamber; law students, particularly liberal ones, may not sufficiently learn how to make or counter conservative and libertarian arguments; and law and policy is not as strong as it could be without conservative/libertarian critiques and perspectives. …

I can't claim to be shocked.

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163 responses to “Do Law Schools Discriminate Against Conservatives and Libertarians in Faculty Hiring?

  1. Maybe conservatives just lean towards other professions.

    Pedophile priests
    Corrupt asset-grabbing sheriffs
    Neo-nazi organizers
    Livestock waste managers
    Fox newscasters

    1. Poor apedad, yet another victim of progressive educators.

      1. Progressive educators: Harvard, Michigan, Reed, Yale, Berkeley, Columbia, Amherst, Williams, New York University, Sarah Lawrence.

        Conservative educators: Regent, Biola, Wheaton, Ave Maria, Hillsdale, Liberty, Grove City, Franciscan, Ouachita Baptist, Oral Roberts.

        Carry on, clingers. Please continue your whining about affirmative action for right-wing law professors, arguing that our strongest schools should emulate our weakest schools by hiring more movement conservatives. Especially the officially, government-certified, self-proclaimed Non-Republican law professors, who are among my favorite disingenuous right-wingers.

        1. Are you actually advocating hiring discrimination based on political affiliation, Rev? Why don’t you come out and say so openly? Too much honesty, there?

          1. Depends on the correlation between A) political affiliation(s) and B) disdain for intellectual pursuits.

            Conservatives who are qualified to teach law might also be qualified to practice law, and prefer the salary that goes with, say, a mergers & acquisitions practice (or prosecution) over a career in academia.
            I took a Constitutional Interpretation class that was taught primarily by a federal prosecutor, with guest lectures from a gentleman who ran for Senate as a Republican (in Oregon, where Republicans have had some trouble locating candidates for statewide offices lately, since they don’t win.)

          2. Are you actually advocating hiring discrimination based on political affiliation, Rev?

            No. I am suggesting that the right-wingers’ complaint here is that law schools do not hire enough strident, publicly aggressive movement conservatives, and that the complaint is weak.

            First, those complainants would not be satisfied were schools to hire conservatives who kept their backwardness to themselves and focused on teaching the nuts and bolts of civil procedure, torts, or legal research. They want schools to hire right-wing crusaders who could promote conservative opinions and appropriate the reputations of strong liberal-libertarian institutions toward that goal.

            Second, we can observe schools that focus on hiring right-wing professors — conservative-controlled campuses — and tend to be third-rate (or worse), censorship-shackled, nonsense-teaching, snowflake-coddling, dogma-enforcing goober factories. Why should our strongest schools desire to emulate the lesser institutions by hiring more movement conservatives?

            1. Third, when conservatives control a school, they engage in blatant, viewpoint-based discrimination in hiring (positions from professor to janitor and administrator to basketball coach). Right-wing proposals that strong schools in the liberal-libertarian mainstream should engage in affirmative action for movement conservatives in the context of faculty hiring exhibit severe lack of self-awareness.

              Fourth, it stands to reason that strong schools would (1) prefer professors who prefer reason, modernity, tolerance, science, progress, and education and (2) wish to avoid candidates who embrace or appease stale thinking, intolerance, superstition, insularity, and the like.

            2. You might consider that those which you are referring to as “strong” schools have succeeded mostly by way of the “Chivas Regal Effect”: by convincing consumers that anything which costs more HAS to be better.

              1. You are free to figure that Regent is as strong as Harvard, George Mason as strong as Yale, Ave Maria as strong as Columbia, Liberty as strong as Berkeley, or your average fourth-tier conservative-controlled school is as strong as a top-ranked liberal-libertarian institution.

                You also are free to prefer dogma to science, ignorance to education, superstition to reason, backwardness to modernity, and bigotry to tolerance.

                You also are free to wonder why goobers lose the culture wars and tend to congregate in depleted, left-behind rural communities.

        2. If conservatives are actually so stupid, why the need to hire us and promote us at lower rates?

          You are aware that the exact same arguments you are espousing have been used against women and minorities, correct?

          1. Those arguments continue to be popular among intolerant conservatives.

            1. Probably because leftists can’t respond to them except via ad hominem.

              1. Quit whimpering.

              2. Quit whimpering.

          2. If conservatives are actually so stupid, why the need to hire us and promote us at lower rates?

            It’s not a case of need, but of hiring and promoting based on merit.

    2. Or maybe you could actually read the article and see that the statistical method chosen by the researchers controlled for that.

      Now if you want to argue about the details of their methodology, I’ll be happy to discuss their statistical techniques and assumptions with you. There are some components to their analysis that are not obviously justifiable. But your rant about “other professions” is just stupid.

    3. “Pedophile priests”

      Are gays overwhelmingly conservative. Seems to me most are political liberals so “pedophile priest” seems like a liberal job area.

      1. Irrelevant. Rather a lot of research has demonstrated conclusively that pedophilia and other forms of child abuse are about power, not sex. Pedophiles overwhelmingly choose their victims based on access, not gender.

        1. “Pedophiles overwhelmingly choose their victims based on access, not gender.”

          No heterosexual would willingly have sex with the same sex.

          Gay or bisexual priests are the abusers.

          1. “No heterosexual would willingly have sex with the same sex.”

            citation?

          2. re: “No heterosexual would willingly have sex with the same sex.”

            That is simply not true and there is rather extensive research demonstrating so. Many pedophiles who self-identify as exclusively heterosexual nevertheless choose same-sex victims. Again, it’s based primarily on access.

        2. Gay or bisexual priests are the abusers

          False. Children are most likely to be abused by people they know. The vast majority of which identify as heterosexual. Gay men are no more or less likely to abuse children than straight men.

          Incidentally – the priest in the parish I grew up in was accused of abusing young women over the period of several decades and was finally removed from active duty only recently.

        3. Power? Just like the various Marxist derivatives (Communism, Socialism, Progressivism) are about power not the people.

          1. ‘Logic, sir, proves your political side is the real pedophiles.’

            This is real dumb, FlameCCT.

      2. “Are gays overwhelmingly conservative. Seems to me most are political liberals so “pedophile priest” seems like a liberal job area.”

        Are you another one of those people who can’t tell the difference between being gay and being a pedophile?

  2. Also, if there actually is discrimination, how would we change that?

    Maybe quotas or affirmative action programs?

    Wait a minute. . .

    1. The way to stop discrimination on the basis of ideology is to stop discriminating on the basis of ideology.

      1. Wait a minute. You think universities have some kind of mission, or even an obligation, to endow chairs to teach every kind of ideology which comes along? And if they don’t, that’s some kind of illegitimate discrimination?

        1. The obvious obligation is to provide an education, which cannot be accomplished while being a progressive propaganda pump.

          1. “The obvious obligation is to provide an education, which cannot be accomplished while being a progressive propaganda pump.”

            (Citation needed)

        2. The obvious obligation is to provide an education, which cannot be accomplished while being a progressive propaganda pump.

        3. Universities keep claiming that “diversity” is a legitimate educational objective. So whether or not David N thinks that they have this kind of mission, they clearly think they do. That makes it entirely legitimate to call those same universities out on their hypocrisy when they flagrantly violate their own self-described objectives.

          1. Unfortunately, for those of us who abhor discrimination, the objective is “diversity,” not diversity.

          2. “Universities keep claiming that ‘diversity’ is a legitimate educational objective.”

            It is.
            Now, can you provide an example of how it might make a difference in teaching, say, torts?

            Can you show that people who believe, say, that death is a perfectly acceptable sentence for certain crimes, can’t teach the reasons why other people don’t think it is?

            Lawyers are taught to argue their client’s preferences, not their own.

        4. “…to endow chairs to teach every kind of ideology which comes along?”

          Not every kind. I don’t think anyone is arguing that creationists need to get chairs in biology departments. But I would have thought in uncontroversial that law schools should be hiring professors based on the quality of their credentials, teaching, etc., rather than on their left/right political orientation.

          The non-discriminatory reason I think law schools do this is because their customers are very liberal, enjoy liberal professors, and overwhelmingly prefer echo chambers.

          1. That’s more effect than cause, I suspect. The more law schools became liberal indoctrination centers, the more conservatives avoided going to them in the first place.

          2. Not every kind. I don’t think anyone is arguing that creationists need to get chairs in biology departments.

            Not even the administrators and funders of evangelical schools, Catholic colleges, and other yahoo schools? Those goobers engage in viewpoint-based discrimination when hiring janitors and basketball coaches, yet we are to believe they wouldn’t prefer a creationist to a reason-based academic when hiring a biology professor?

            Our weaker schools reject science and reason to flatter dogma and superstition. Our stronger schools do the opposite.

            Arguing that our best schools should emulate our worst schools by engaging in affirmative action for right-wingers and hiring more movement conservatives is daft. But some people are gullible enough to fall for, or argue, just about anything.

            1. “Arguing that our best schools should emulate our worst schools by engaging in affirmative action for right-wingers and hiring more movement conservatives is daft.”

              Do you have a link to such an argument?

              1. This must be your first time at the Volokh Conspiracy. Welcome, newcomer!

                (I hope you weren’t looking for libertarian — or even “libertarianish” — content.)

                1. I’m saying your summary sounds like a straw man.

                  1. The Conspirators assert that our strongest schools should hire more movement conservatives.

                    The schools that specialize in hiring movement conservatives are pathetically weak.

                    Right-wingers whimper about this, and profess confidence in markets, yet do not create strong right-wing-friendly schools featuring the ostensibly underutilized movement conservatives.

                    Where is the straw?

          3. ” law schools should be hiring professors based on the quality of their credentials, teaching, etc., rather than on their left/right political orientation.”

            The quality of the teaching should be the first priority, and the quality of the scholarship of the faculty is an important concern, as well. But part of the concern of the hiring committee is whether or not a specific candidate fits within the overall institution, because if they don’t, they’re likely to choose to move on, and that’s disruptive. Better to make a hire that’ll stick around for the long haul.

          4. I don’t think anyone is arguing that creationists need to get chairs in biology departments.

            You may be right in the narrow sense. Still, there are plenty of people arguing that creationism should be taught, and places where it is taught, at least at the high school level, and quite likely in some religious colleges.

            1. Just to amplify my comment, here is an entry from the catalog of Liberty University:

              The Center for Creation Studies is an interdisciplinary education and research institute committed to the study of the origin of the universe, the earth, life, and diversification of species. This study draws upon knowledge from religion, science, philosophy, and history.

              The primary educational activity of the Center is the presentation of CRST 290, History of Life and CRST 390, Origins. These courses provide introductory and in-depth investigations, respectively, into the current creation-evolution controversy by surveying evidences and arguments from a diversity of intellectual fields and from various viewpoints and perspectives.

              Exhibits, currently located in the Center for Natural Sciences, teach concepts of the creation model, describe creationist research, and glorify the Creator of the heavens and the Earth.

              So maybe somebody is arguing that, after all.

        5. Wait a minute. You think universities have some kind of mission, or even an obligation, to endow chairs to teach every kind of ideology which comes along? And if they don’t, that’s some kind of illegitimate discrimination?

          I think I didn’t say anything of the kind.

          I think the question was, if there is discrimination, how we can change it. So I answered.

          And your response isn’t even relevant to this discussion, because the issue the post raised is not the content of the curriculum in the first place; it’s the political orientation of the people who are hired.

          1. David, if there exists somewhere a Libertarian willing and competent to teach Hobbes the way Michael Oakeshott did, or Marx the way E.P. Thompson did, and that person can’t find a job because of ideology, I concede your point about ideological discrimination. Otherwise, I suggest the best place to look to find such a person would be Oxford or Harvard. And when you go looking, be prepared to pay plenty to lure him/her away.

            As for discrimination against faculty who insist on teaching libertarianism, you can’t get rid of my criticism just by pretending it shouldn’t have been offered. What makes you think libertarianism is an academic subject worth teaching? And on what basis, other than assertions of opinion (including unprovable opinions about economics and free markets) do you think libertarianism should be taught?

            1. “or Marx the way E.P. Thompson did”

              Would you want a liberal to teach Hitler the way Goebbels would?

              The problem with the lack of diversity in academia is that there isn’t anybody around to challenge it when somebody “teaches Marx the way E.P. Thompson did”. Marx shouldn’t be taught by Marxists, any more than epidemiology should be taught by Typhoid Mary.

              It should be taught, yes: As the intellectual history of a horrific mistake.

              And, that’s the problem here. By excluding everybody but leftists, they’ve made sure nobody is going to be teaching Marxism as a mistake.

              1. So… you haven’t been in a college classroom, have you?

                Here’s the nature of your mistake. You assume that everybody of one “side” has monolithic opinions that all agree with everyone else on that “side”, on every topic that “side” offers an opinion on.
                This is not the case. The biggest arguments arise when two people have almost, but not quite, the same opinion or interpretation on a topic. On the left, the Stalinists and the Trotskyites are bitter enemies. The Social Democrats and the Communists disagree about almost everything.
                You REALLY want to see this in action, look at how religions form schisms. The two halves of Christendom agree as to the divinity of Jesus, but have entirely different opinions of what that means for people who’d like to get together to worship. Jews and Christians worship the same God, and, oh, hello! so do the Muslims.

              2. Marx shouldn’t be taught by Marxists, any more than epidemiology should be taught by Typhoid Mary.

                Huh? Who should teach it? Should libertarianism be taught by libertarians?

              3. Marx shouldn’t be taught by Marxists, any more than epidemiology should be taught by Typhoid Mary.

                So Adam Smith shouldn’t be taught by Capitalists? Are you saying that Marxists by definition are deranged? None of these subjects should be taught as something to be accepted without proof and on faith. Aren’t college students capable of challenging the arguments or suppositions of a Marxist? What we really don’t want is a professor who tries to bully students into accepting his viewpoint, or who is unable or unwilling to present both sides of the question accurately.

            2. Suggesting that such universities are retaining tenured faculty for their teaching ability is pretty damned funny.

              1. What does “such universities” mean?
                If you mean a research university, then the priority is research. If you mean a professional school, then yeah, the priority is teaching.
                In close to none of them is political ideology even remotely relevant to anything.

                1. I’ll give you a big clue, because I know you’re very slow: look up the names Stephen brought up, then see what kind of schools they taught at

              2. Suggesting that such universities are retaining tenured faculty for their teaching ability is pretty damned funny.

                I think you’re confusing the content being taught with the ability to teach.

            3. As for discrimination against faculty who insist on teaching libertarianism, you can’t get rid of my criticism just by pretending it shouldn’t have been offered.

              But I can ignore it by pretending that it’s not relevant to the conversation.

              What makes you think libertarianism is an academic subject worth teaching?

              What makes Buddhism or existentialism or Polish literature academic subjects worth teaching?

          2. “I think the question was, if there is discrimination, how we can change it. So I answered.”

            But before you answer that question, you have to answer the implied question… should it be changed.

            For example, hiring in American universities is highly discriminatory regarding educational credentials… Tenure-track positions require advanced degrees and flatly do not even consider candidates who lack them, no matter how well, objectively, they teach or do research. Before asking how we can change this we much first ask if we should. And it’s not just in hiring, either. What do you suppose happens if I try to get a paper published in the Journal of the American Medical Academy, or get a standard approved by the IEEE?

        6. Wait a minute. You think universities have some kind of mission, or even an obligation, to endow chairs to teach every kind of ideology which comes along?

          Not at all. The problem comes when they have policies or practices in place that prefer liberal over conservative ideology but they hold themselves out to the public, and to donors, and to those applying for admission as having no such preferential practices. Those acting this way are hypocrites, accurately described by the old saying “hypocrisy is a tribute vice pays to virtue.”

          These universities should just announce in their material that conservative expression on campus and in class is likely to be attacked and demeaned by both faculty and students, with the tacit approval of the administration, as fascist, racist, and/or homophobic, and that those who expect to express conservative ideology should anticipate marginalization and should probably choose a different institution. This would be the honest approach.

          1. The problem comes when they have policies or practices in place that prefer liberal over conservative ideology

            Like preferring reason to superstition?

            Science to silly dogma?

            Tolerance to bigotry?

            Progress and modernity to backwardness?

            1. Like preferring reason to superstition?

              Like trying to obscure the fact that they see conservatism as synonymous with superstition, silly dogma, bigotry and backwardness. Why not just own up to it openly and not try to pretend otherwise in their material? That’s all that’s being asked.

              1. Pretending that conservatives (not all of them, but enough of them) do not, in fact, attempt to insert religious dogma into places where it does not belong is different in what ways from the behavior(s) you are complaining of?

                1. Pretending that conservatives (not all of them, but enough of them) do not, in fact, attempt to insert religious dogma into places where it does not belong is different in what ways from the behavior(s) you are complaining of?

                  Do you categorize a pro-life position as religious dogma? Is opposition to capital punishment also pro-life for the same reason ? i.e. because it is a position that some people hold for religious reasons?

                  Can you give some examples of conservatives attempting to insert religious dogma into places where it does not belong?

                  1. Is opposition to capital punishment also pro-life for the same reason

                    I meant to ask if opposition to capital punishment is also religious dogma for the same reason.

                  2. Can you give some examples of conservatives attempting to insert religious dogma into places where it does not belong?

                    Example: Some conservative-controlled schools require janitors, professors, coaches, cooks, and administrators to espouse certain supernatural or doctrinal beliefs. This problem is severe enough that a famous college basketball coach once asked at coaching meetings which attribute — recruiting prowess, technical understanding of offense, teaching ability, technical understanding of defense, managing relationships with administrators, game management, success at fundraising and donor relations — was most important for anyone who wished to become a college basketball coach. After some debate, he would provide the answer: “Being a Catholic.”

                    Example: Some schools require biology professors to teach religion-driven nonsense and to refrain from teaching science. Remarkably, these schools are often accredited as legitimate educational institutions.

                    Example: The Pledge of Allegiance.

                    Example: American coins and bills.

                    1. Example: Some conservative-controlled schools require janitors, professors, coaches, cooks, and administrators to espouse certain supernatural or doctrinal beliefs.

                      If a private institution holds itself out to the public as exemplifying and teaching the tenants of Catholicism, for example, is it inappropriate for the institution to require/expect its employees to refrain from openly engaging in activities deemed immoral according to Catholic teaching?

                      Example: Some schools require biology professors to teach religion-driven nonsense and to refrain from teaching science. Remarkably, these schools are often accredited as legitimate educational institutions.

                      Is it inappropriate for a school that teaches the facts of the theory of evolution to also provide legitimate arguments from the other side? For example, there is dispute as to whether the Cambrian Explosion can be accounted for entirely by random mutation and natural selection, and Darwin himself stated that the gravest objection to his theory was the absence of transitional forms. He said, “Why then is not every geological formation and every stratum full of such intermediate links? ?The explanation lies, as I believe, in the extreme imperfection of the geological record.” But here we are 150 years later, with dramatic improvements in the geologic record, and we still don’t see the abundance of transitional forms that Darwin expected to find. Is this a forbidden discussion?

                    2. Example: The Pledge of Allegiance.

                      Example: American coins and bills.

                      Is it inappropriate for the government to espouse any morality whatsoever? Don’t murder, don’t steal? Here is the view of James Madison:

                      The belief in a God All Powerful wise and good, is so essential to the moral order of the world and to the happiness of man, that arguments which enforce it cannot be drawn from too many sources nor adapted with too much solicitude to the different characters and capacities to be impressed with it.

                      Why does it become inappropriate the minute God is mentioned? The Supreme Court has not said that such mention constitutes an establishment of religion.

                  3. “Can you give some examples of conservatives attempting to insert religious dogma into places where it does not belong?”

                    Creation “science”
                    Support for Israel because Israel has to conquer the Holy Land for Jesus to come back
                    Climate denial (when religiously originated… not all cases are)

                    Did you think this task would be difficult? Because it isn’t.

                    1. Creation “science”

                      If you are referring to the teaching of religious beliefs as science, and the rejection of scientific theories simply because they contradict religious dogma, then I agree with you.

                      However what about the following? The orthodox theory of random mutation and natural selection states unequivocally that the mutation was random. However, 40% of scientists believe that evolution was guided by God (clearly not random) and only 45% of scientists believed that evolution occurred without God’s involvement. Would it be “unscientific” to report the beliefs of scientists?

                  4. “Do you categorize a pro-life position as religious dogma?”

                    If it’s religious dogma, then yes.

                    ” Is opposition to capital punishment also pro-life for the same reason”

                    Same thing.

                    (FYI, I’m even more critical when people assign their own personal biases to religion, as for example when people who don’t like thinking about gay people having sex justify it by claiming that Jesus said not to have gay sex.)

                  5. Can you give some examples of conservatives attempting to insert religious dogma into places where it does not belong?

                    Pushing prayer in public schools?

                    Pushing creationism in the public schools? Ever heard of Kitzmiller?

                    1. Pushing creationism in the public schools? Ever heard of Kitzmiller?

                      Do you object to the inclusion in the curriculum, however, of facts that appear to be inconsistent with standard evolution theory, such as the ones I mentioned above?

    2. “if there actually is discrimination, how would we change that?”

      For public universities, First Amendment injunctions. Special masters to ensure compliance.

      1. You figure public universities should be required to hire professors who believe fairy tales are true, that storks deliver babies, that one plus two equals nine, that the moon is made of green cheese, that evolution and gravity are hoaxes from the pits of hell?

        Requiring professors to prefer reason and reality to fantasy and superstition is precisely the type of discrimination in which every legitimate educational institution should engage.

        1. “professors who believe fairy tales are true, that storks deliver babies, that one plus two equals nine, that the moon is made of green cheese, that evolution and gravity are hoaxes from the pits of hell?”

          Hey, Goober U has been looking for such professors! Can you help us out by giving some names?

      2. “For public universities, First Amendment injunctions”

        WTF you talking about?

        1. Right-wingers can’t compete in the reality-based marketplace of ideas — the reason vs. superstition, tolerance vs. bigotry, science vs. dogma, inclusivity vs. insularity, modernity vs. backwardness issue — so they respond to losing the battle by seeking government assistance in their efforts to oppose all of this damned progress.

    3. Logical fallacy.

      You assume that the only alternatives to discrimination are affirmative action and/or quotas. Perhaps it could be fixed by not discriminating against conservatives.

      Alternatively, the market can sort it out. Law schools pretend to hire the best available professors. Let it be known that they are voluntarily turning away talent because of their biases. Then see if their students do as well in the corporate world.

      1. The market has sifted this. Our weakest law schools’ faculties are dominated by right-wing professors. Conservative-controlled institutions tend to be third- or fourth-rate schools. Our strongest schools are operated in the liberal-libertarian mainstream tradition.

        Conservative do not like the market’s verdict. Thus the whimpering about affirmative action, unfairness, etc.

        1. The point of the study was that equally-qualified conservatives get hired at lower rates. That is not the market at work, any more than it would be if woman mathematicians were hired at lower rates at top schools.

          The “top” schools exist where they are in spite of rampant discrimination, not because of it.

          1. The point of the study was that equally-qualified conservatives get hired at lower rates.

            That should make it easy for conservatives who currently and exclusively operate third- and fourth-tier schools to build right-wing powerhouses. This not only would vindicate their ostensible positions on markets but also generate huge profit and create armies of great right-wing lawyers.

            I would write more about this but laughing this hard makes it difficult to type.

            1. I thought George Mason had risen considerably in the rankings in the last decade or two as it built an army of conservative professors.

              1. Perfect! George Mason is the Great White . . . er, Right . . . Hope! It relentless climb toward the top of the rankings should be a handy measure of conservative progress.

                Today, Fordham and Cal-Davis . . . tomorrow, the world!

                Harvard, Berkeley, Yale, and Columbia tremble.

              2. It turns out that if you do what billionaires want you to do they will give you money.

                The “building” was done at the behest of donors, who were given inappropriate influence over hiring decisions. Not GMU’s greatest moment, however much it fattened the school’s bank account.

          2. “The point of the study was that equally-qualified conservatives get hired at lower rates. That is not the market at work, any more than it would be if woman mathematicians were hired at lower rates at top schools”

            The CLAIM of the study is what you said of it, yes.
            But the market does not work the way you imagine it does. If the market says that women mathematicians are hired at lower rates, that indicates that “the market” does not value women’s contributions OR finds some aspect of womanhood works against their employment… say, the likelihood that they will take time off for maternity. Now, you can argue that “the market” shouldn’t discriminate against women mathematicians, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t, or won’t.

            If “conservative” law professors aren’t getting the placement they’d like in academia, it may indicate a systemic bias against them, or it may indicate a flaw in the study’s assessment of “comparable” qualifications. It may mean that the top “conservative” law students are choosing practice over academia, and the conservatives who are choosing academia are getting beat out by better candidates.

            It’s illegal to discriminate in hiring based on sex, religion, national origin, or race. Political ideology isn’t on the list. (not on the federal list, anyway. Some states have a longer list. YMMV.)

        2. Yet your “strong” law schools don’t openly advertise themselves as left-leaning. Your market is operating with less than complete information preventing consumers from making fully informed decisions. Do you claim your “strong” law schools would still be winning the race if they were completely honest about their hiring practices? Really?

          1. Thank you for expressing it better than I did.

          2. “Yet your ‘strong’ law schools don’t openly advertise themselves as left-leaning.”

            That’s an interesting theory. Have any evidence that supports it? Because this claim doesn’t match up to my experience. I’m going to guess that you haven’t actually reviewed the promotional materials for any of the top law schools. Ultimately, I settled on the law school that was physically located closest to where I already lived.

  3. Ok, troll, I’ll bite-

    Pedophile priests – Almost all on the left

    Corrupt asset-grabbing sheriffs- virtually all Democrat

    Neo-nazi organizers – Nazis were socialists

    Livestock waste managers – yep, we have jobs that need doing, so you got us.

    Fox newscasters – As opposed to their opinion talent, a few balanced group.

    One final note, snark does not equal reasoning and your use of snark in a forum that is about reason only serves to identify you as a non-thinking person. You might want to consider the Huffington Post.

    1. Presumably apedad will bite back, but in the meantime I’ll point out that he referred to “conservatives” while your comment moves from “the left” to “Democrat” to “socialists”. No mention of liberals, which I take to be a better antonym to “conservative”. Asset grabbing sheriffs may be Democrats (though it’s not clear how you know that) but I suspect they are not liberals. All dictators are socialists in important regards, but I don’t think anyone has ever thought of Hitler or his henchmen as liberals. The pedophile priests we hear about seem pretty conservative in their social and cultural values — anti-gay, anti-abortion, knee-jerk support for the accumulation of wealth and power by the Catholic church, belief in supernatural forces controlling the world, etc — though you may have deeper familiarity with pedophile priests that I do.

      1. Many priests have some rather left-leaning tendencies: open borders, universal health care, anti-gun, anti death penalty.

        1. I am unaware of any documentation of these claims, apart from the Pope recently … well, pontificating on the death penalty, and he’s hardly “left-leaning.” Many of the regular libertarian/conservative columnists here support open borders, so I am not sure that this is a left-leaning position. It’s rather sad that universal health care [coverage] is a “left-leaning” issue, rather than a compassionate social position (ok, that’s why…) but I am not sure I have seen any evidence that priests are especially supportive of universal [access] to health care. Of course, to qualify your statement with “Many priests…” makes it almost certainly true, in that clever way that Trump can assert the most bizarre things when prefaced by “many people are saying…” So it empties your assertion of any real persuasive force, doesn’t it?

          1. You are unaware that the Catholic Church frowns upon the death penalty?

            You do not think that universal health care is a liberal/left issue?

            You think it’s okay for you to say “seem” in regards to pedophile priests (ie no proof whatsoever save your own perception) but not for me to say “many” when referring to some of the very common beliefs held by Catholics (lay and in the priesthood)?

            Sorry, can’t argue with you.

            1. But I can argue with you.

              The Catholic Church is hardly a “left-leaning” organization, so I am not sure what the point is about the death penalty — perhaps the reverse of what you suggest?

              You fail to understand my comment about universal health care. I wrote that it is a shame that universal access to health care is a left-leaning issue rather than something that transcends political views. The preference for private health care insurance is consistent with conservative support of business rather than people, but it’s a shame that conservatives are not more interested in the health and well-being of citizens. But I’m a physician and have perhaps more interest in that issue than the lawyers here who can afford to buy coverage. My impression — I’m not Catholic — is that priests, working with individual church members — are more likely yo adopt the interests of individuals than are higher level officials. More later.

              As for “many”, perhaps I can write that “many priests are deeply conservative…”

            2. The trouble with the argument about “left-leaning priests,” even if that were an accurate description, is that the problem arises from the fact that the Catholic hierarchy, hardly “left-leaning,” bears an enormous share of the responsibility because of its unwillingness to discipline offenders, or to have them dealt with by civil authorities.

        2. Many priests have some rather left-leaning tendencies: open borders, universal health care, anti-gun, anti death penalty.

          Conservatives must be heartened to know that plenty of priests are sticking with right-wing tradition on misogyny, contraception, gay-bashing, backhanding immigrants, etc.

    2. In the words of that great philosopher, Forrest Gump:
      Progressive is as Progressive does.

      The Progressive Plantation with their Elitist Masters using Uncle Tom Overseers to control the Proletariat Serfs usually through the Progressive Propagandists aka MSM.

      1. What progressives do: Columbia, Berkeley, Harvard, Yale, New York University, and dozens like them.

        What conservatives do: Ave Maria, Liberty, Regent, Biola, Wheatson, and dozens like them.

    3. “One final note, snark does not equal reasoning”

      Neither does whatever it was you were doing.

      Particularly the revisionism that puts Nazis on the left. They’re your guys. Own it. The left gets the Stalin outrages, and the Khmer Rouge, but the Nazis were your guys. They rounded up the socialists, and… did not treat them as brethren, any more than you do.

      1. That proves too much. Communists back in the day often didn’t treat socialists as brethren, either.

  4. Libertarian professors? Maybe at a school with a big faculty, and with a willingness to allot a chair to legal philosophy, and a willingness to risk a too-narrow, too-abstract approach to the subject. Otherwise, avowed libertarian views ought to be disqualifying.

    Libertarianism is theory set adrift. There is no place for experience, because the history of libertarianism is entirely the history of a theory. Libertarian “intellectuals” mis-imagine history. They argue as if they think the founders were libertarians. That disqualifies them as originalists, because the founders weren’t libertarians, or anything like libertarians.

    Libertarian notions of government leave out sovereignty?a concept indispensable for a workable theory of government. That means libertarians can’t describe accurately how national governments are founded, nor how maintained. When questioned, libertarians can’t answer. Or they change the subject, answering as if sovereignty was in and of itself tyranny. As if that could dispense with the problem, even if true.

    That means libertarians?proponents of the most limited kind of government?have no notion how to limit government. Unless you count court tyranny?problematic for the purpose, but not to libertarians.

    Libertarianism: equal parts critique of other theories of government (some intellectual value there), plus twaddle, plus romance. The latter parts subtract more from the package than the first part can add.

    1. Yep, the founders were sovereign, progressive , socialists.

      1. Wjack, the founders were mainly advocates of popular sovereignty. (The minority who were not, dropped out of the founding enterprise.) Madison and James Wilson, in particular, regarded unlimited sovereign power as indispensable for every kind of government, and hence for U.S. government too.

        Otherwise, the founders’ political philosophies were various. In the writings of Jefferson and Franklin you find instances of avowedly socialist (redistribution of property) advocacy.

        Hamilton was a big-government progressive, all for picking winners and losers. And for putting government power solidly behind the would-be winners.

        Washington was more conservative as a matter of politics?he worried constantly about preserving national unity, and hence about not too much offending the slave-holding South. Privately, Washington tended to back Hamilton, even on questions which would offend the South.

        Among the many other founders there were political philosophies encompassing various flavors and nuances. None, however, were libertarians. We can’t know if any might have been so inclined. We do know that libertarianism was not yet invented. You might suppose that only the name had yet to be invented, but actually the philosophy was full-blown and widely subscribed to. You would be wrong. The nearest founding era analogues to modern libertarianism were to be found among some slave holding anti-Federalists. For reasons you can see at once, that resemblance was not a close one.

        1. “unlimited sovereign power as indispensable for every kind of government, and hence for U.S. government too.”

          They created a limited US government, not one with “unlimited” power so I question your entire post.

          By the way, are not you a photographer by trade? Based on your constant harping about how only “professional” historians can opine on colonial gun rights, why are you commenting on what the Founding Fathers thought?

          1. Bob, take a closer look at your second sentence. Note the first word, “They.” Ask yourself, who was I talking about? How much power did “They” have? How much power does it take to create a government according to pleasure, without constraint by any other party?” When “They” created a “limited US government,” by what power superior to government did “They” first impose limitations, and maintain limitations still, until this very moment?

            Please reflect on that and get back to me. To make it simpler, I’ll tell you up front you are committing the common mistake of conflating the government with the sovereign. Until you learn to separate them, and think about their powers separately, you won’t be able to say much about government that isn’t either true but trivial, or not-trivial, but mistaken.

            1. Are not you a photographer by trade?

              Based on your constant harping about how only “professional” historians can opine on colonial gun rights, why are you commenting on what the Founding Fathers or the people in 1789 thought?

        2. The difference that you fail to recognize is that most of the Framers were conservative in that after the Revolution they minimized the rhetoric about “popular sovereignty,” unlike you who is always prattling on about it precisely because the Framers didn’t trust the people not to abuse their ultimate sovereign power.

      2. Straw man non sequitur, all in one.

      3. “Yep, the founders were sovereign, progressive , socialists.”

        Yeah. Almost Revolutionary, even. (The Conservatives of the day picked the other side).

    2. This is McCarthyism against libertarians. Even if you don’t think libertarianism is a coherent political philosophy, that’s not a good reason to ban self-proclaimed libertarians from academia. I may not agree with all the tenets of communism, but I’ve heard communists make coherent arguments for their positions, and have found common-ground on certain issues with self-proclaimed communists. I think Islam is ridiculous, but I’m not going to ban Muslims from academia because of it. Your insane views about speech control wouldn’t be disqualifying (to me at least) if you had credentials that convinced me you knew how to teach law students something they needed to learn to practice law. (You’ve got a long ways to go, though.)

      1. Um, there isn’t any speech control involved. Let alone McCarthyism. There is always an affirmative burden on the person who wants to be hired to show why he should be. Employers are free to disagree. If the employer is an academic employer, then the applicant has to show expertise in some academic field worth teaching. Being a libertarian lawyer does not by itself show you have the right stuff to become a law professor.

        If you do have the right stuff, then you may get hired, if someone else doesn’t get hired instead. On that final distinction, it probably helps if your own history doesn’t feature advocacy for an indefensible ideology popular among cranks and crackpots?and admittedly, espoused also by a few serious-but-misguided thinkers. Randy Barnett gets a job. Ilya Somin gets a job. Not everyone gets a job. No speech control involved.

        1. So, should law schools, as well as any other employers, openly state what the “right stuff” is that will get you hired? Why don’t you advocate some honest requirements: “No Libertarians need apply”, etc. Why the lack of openess?

        2. “Um, there isn’t any speech control involved. Let alone McCarthyism.”

          This doesn’t make any sense. McCarthyism isn’t limited to “speech” how you define it. It included weeding out communists from academia.

          “There is always an affirmative burden on the person…”

          Yes, and if you define the burden as “not-libertarian” or “not-communist” for a position that has nothing to do with libertarianism or communism, that’s a pointless burden that we should weed out, especially for government jobs.

          “Being a libertarian lawyer does not by itself show you have the right stuff to become a law professor.”

          This is a significant concession on your part, since the original claim was that libertarianism was disqualifying.

          1. “This doesn’t make any sense. McCarthyism isn’t limited to “speech” how you define it. It included weeding out communists from academia.”

            Right. Now… how do you identify the communists? By what they think in the privacy of their homes, or by what they say in public?

            “This is a significant concession on your part, since the original claim was that libertarianism was disqualifying.”

            Disqualifying from some institutions. Each institution decides for itself what qualities are “disqualifying”, and which observable attributes indicate their presence (except, of course, for those attributes for which discrimination is prohibited.)

            1. “Disqualifying from some institutions.”

              I’m making normative arguments for non-governmental institutions. For governmental institutions, even if there wasn’t a 1A or 14A issue with discriminating on the basis of “being communist” or “being libertarian”, I would vehemently oppose such discrimination even if it’s not constitutionally prohibited. I’m a voter and a tax payer, and so “Each [public] institution” to which I have a stake is going to “decide for itself” with the benefit of my views.

      2. ” Even if you don’t think libertarianism is a coherent political philosophy,”

        Libertarians don’t agree on much of anything, specifically including what, exactly, it means to be Libertarian.

      3. I think Islam is ridiculous, but I’m not going to ban Muslims from academia because of it.

        Dare I ask what you think of Christianity and Judaism?

        1. Equally ridiculous. What’s your view?

    3. Otherwise, avowed libertarian views ought to be disqualifying.

      But libertarians are not homogeneous, and they are not all extremist kooks. Wikipedia puts it this way:

      Libertarianism (from Latin: libertas, meaning “freedom”) is a collection of political philosophies and movements that uphold liberty as a core principle. Libertarians seek to maximize political freedom and autonomy, emphasizing freedom of choice, voluntary association, and individual judgment. Libertarians share a skepticism of authority and state power, but they diverge on the scope of their opposition to existing political and economic systems. Various schools of libertarian thought offer a range of views regarding the legitimate functions of state and private power, often calling for the restriction or dissolution of coercive social institutions.

      You should revise your remark to refer only to libertarians (and anyone else) who holds and/or teaches political views that cannot be logically defended or which have been proven to be inimical to a healthy society. There is nothing wrong with having a skepticism of state power, and favoring a maximization of personal liberty, political freedom and voluntary association. Or do you disagree?

    4. “That disqualifies them as originalists”

      Great! Law schools seem to be looking for qualified non-originalists, maybe they can find some libertarians.

    5. This is precisely the sort of attitude that afflicts the academy and demonstrates why there’s discrimination. Theories like Marxism and postmodernism and their legal offshoots like CLS are worse because not only do they suffer from the being bad theories, but the attempts to implement them around the world have had devastating consequences, but holding those views are not disqualifying (quite the opposite) in academia.

      One offshoot of libertarianism has been law and economics (e.g., Richard Posner, Richard Epstein, etc.), which deserves serious study in law schools.

  5. Maybe it would help to require ALL higher education institutions to publish their graduates job placement rates, like the for profit schools that actually teach job skills?

    1. The primary skill the for-profit schools know anything about is fleecing students.

      1. That’s a blanket claim that isn’t accurate.

        1. Really? Corinthian? DeVry? Trump University?

          There are probably some exceptions, but the history of these institutions is pretty sordid.

  6. Is it a surprise that the legal profession leans toward lectures about what it CAN do as opposed to what it CAN’T?

  7. Stephen,

    Everybody is entitled to believe what they want, but not entitled to their own facts. The founders were driven by the idea of limited government and limited rights, mainly excepting those in the Bill of Rights.

    “Both in the Thirteen English Colonies and in the early United States of America, very few people could vote. In fact, the only people who were allowed to vote were white men who owned land and were over the age of 21.”

    Google can be your mentor.

    1. Thanks for the advice about Google. I’ll keep it in mind.

      You should know, however, that whoever posted on the internet that quotation you cited was mistaken. For instance, in New England colonial settings, widows who had inherited property were sometimes permitted to vote. And 8 states which joined the union after the Constitution was ratified permitted voting by women before the 19th Amendment was passed.

      Also, there was nothing in the Constitution which forbade voting by anyone. So, “the only people who were allowed to vote, etc.” is mistaken on that general basis as well.

      If you plan to use Google as your mentor, do so cautiously.

      1. Stephen’

        “[S]ometimes” ought to give you a clue that the right was limited. “[A]fter” is still another clue. That the founders did in fact establish a limited govt. with limited rights, and not one based on “popular sovereignty,” is obvious.

        Google can be your friend, but only if you take a look.

        1. ” That the founders did in fact establish a limited govt. with limited rights, and not one based on ‘popular sovereignty,’ is obvious.”

          Are you referring to the Articles of Confederation? Because you only need to read the first three words of the Constitution’s preamble to learn that the thing’s based on popular sovereignty. The Declaration goes on about Creators, but the Constitution is clear about where the source of its power comes from.

    2. ” The founders were driven by the idea of limited government and limited rights, mainly excepting those in the Bill of Rights.”

      This is factually incorrect, and obviously so, since the Founders didn’t include a Bill of Rights in the Constitution. The first Congress decided they needed to be added, and went ahead and got it done.

      It might also be worth remembering that the nation the Founders built lasted only from 1789 to 1861, at which point it literally came apart at the seam. The Constitution needed a MAJOR patch to keep the country functional.

      1. Wow! those who proposed the Bill of Rights were not among the founders. Must be tough going through life with a progressive education.

  8. Given that higher education, not just law schools, are so extremely partisan and statistically engage in viewpoint discrimination, will Janus have application in the future? And yes, I know taxes supporting contrary causes are constitutional (Janus is but one step in mandating accountability when using other people’s money).That said, there is a tipping point and higher education may well have blown past it with their arrogance and blatant bigotry. Or, more likely, public support for institutions that rail against the very public that pays their bills may find increasing hostility to continued funding.

    1. When conservatives demonstrate that they can be influential on a campus without producing a low-ranked, nonsense-teaching, science-disdaining, viewpoint-discriminatory, snowflake-coddling, censorship-shacked yahoo factory, I might begin to worry about right-wing claims that our strongest schools are arrogant and should take pointers from conservatives about much of anything.

  9. A lot of silliness here. For starters, I am a big ‘ole liberal that loves Ginsburg and hates Trump. That being said, the law school I attended (a large state school) was significantly dominated by liberal and left-of-center scholars. I assume this is similar elsewhere.

    I don’t and won’t venture to guess why, not will I assert a causation. But to argue otherwise is silly.

    That does not mean that conservative ideas or libertarian ideas were shunned. A pro-lifer or pro-choice we’re equally dismissed when they started bringing up issues that were tangential to the course or subject at hand, for example.

  10. >”Thus, while there may be other mechanisms causing the dearth of conservative/libertarian law professors in the legal academy, those who do make it in the door appear to experience discrimination based on political orientation.”

    Not having read the paper, I am inclined to believe the disproportionate hiring is more a product of the sociological environment rather than intentional discrimination. Elite schools hire applicants with elite educations and elite backgrounds. It’s no secret that expensive, elite colleges are are attended by mostly rich applicants; wealth is becoming strongly correlated with liberals; and people with higher educations are more likely to be liberal. Given these factors alone, it’s shouldn’t be a surprise that conservative counselors aren’t hired at the same rates as liberal lawyers by elite law schools.

    1. This is not about more liberals being hired; it is about similarly-credentialed liberals bring hired at a higher rate.

      1. >”This is not about more liberals being hired; it is about similarly-credentialed liberals bring hired at a higher rate.”

        The statistical model used leaves plenty of room for variances as the author weighs the careers of the respondents. Similar to the “wage gap,” there is no accurate way to measure many things. How was the candidate’s interview? What’s the quality of the writing? Is the school trying to fill certain roles typically occupied by liberals? (Not too many conservatives can teach social justice clinics.) All of these and more make me question the validity of math involved.

        1. At my alma mater, business law, energy regulation, abortion law, and accounting were taught by conservatives. “Social justice” is not an actual area of law.

          Moreover, one of the key skills of an attorney is to understand the other side’s argument equally as well as one’s own.

          By your logic, we might as well see more conservative hiring, not less.

          1. >”At my alma mater, business law, energy regulation, abortion law, and accounting were taught by conservatives. ‘Social justice'” is not an actual area of law.”

            Pfffft. Your school ain’t woke. #sarcasm

            These programs are becoming more trendy for schools. If I told you at least one liberal law school had this concentration for both its J.D. and LL.M. degrees, you could probably guess which one I’m referring to.

            >”Moreover, one of the key skills of an attorney is to understand the other side’s argument equally as well as one’s own. By your logic, we might as well see more conservative hiring, not less.”

            I understand your point and believe it’s valid only if a reasonable argument could be made for either side. However, most conservative counselors don’t attempt to specialize in this area and therefore aren’t a suitable candidate for teaching it at a top tier law school. As a consequence, the position can only be filled by liberal lawyers.

            Side note: one prominent conservative I’ve met has described social justice education as “mastering conspiracy theories.” She arrived at this conclusion because a lot of the rhetoric involved uses unprovable claims about bias against race and ethnicity. It’s hard to get someone like that to teach the material.

    2. Joe submitting “Facts” from NYT Opinion column. Did you go to the same “elite” school as Artie?

      1. Dude, putting “facts” in quotation marks doesn’t make them not facts.

        I went to state schools for my undergraduate degrees, and private schools for my graduate and law degrees. Never got around to finishing a degree with CCAF.

      2. You mean opinion articles which accurately reference the findings of peer-reviewed, scholarly journals? Yes. I will gladly link to them. If your inner jarhead is incapable of finding the referred material in the opinion articles, this blog is likely beyond your comprehension.

  11. Or, the best conservative law students may be choosing to go out into the Dreaded Private Sector and make bundles of money. If the academic life attracts low-risk, tenure-seeking liberals, there’s no need to look for discrimination.

    God knows social science departments are defined by politically biased hiring practices, but if you’re going to be doing ‘studies,’ you need to account for all plausible explanations, including those that don’t fit your preconceived notions.

  12. Hmm. Or maybe the reason they’re hiring lags is because they offer papers with ligical gaps one could drive a truck through, like the linked, or then endorse those papers. If the authors and Heriot are representative of the thought conservatives are offering, maybe they’re actually over-represented compared to a purely merit-based system…

  13. I don’t get the “marketplace of ideas” saying given that the idea or ideas that “lose” then argue that they are being discriminated against. Marketplaces have winners and losers, that’s kind of how they work. It’s like listening to the owner of a local hardware store complain because they cannot compete with the new Walmart. Yeah, it’s brutal.

    This attempt to empirically study the discriminatory effects of law school hiring comes off as nothing more than a strategic move to try and reclaim dominance in “the marketplace of ideas.” That law schools are discriminatory in their hiring based on the ideas one holds, is itself an idea being inserted in the marketplace in an attempt to counter the competing ideas. The marketplace never reats, and now idea is ever dominant forever.

    The game has simply shifted to the current losers drawing on the idea of empirical analysis and the language of discrimination, as a means of gaining sympathy. It’s using the methods associated with the dominant idea to overtake that idea.

    Good luck in that eternal struggle. If this method doesn’t work, maybe just try force.

    1. Serious question: do you think the same thing of “resume studies” (ie a team creates a resume of a PhD candidate in hard sciences or engineering; the resume gets duplicated; one set gets a man’s name; the other set gets a woman’s name; resumes get submitted for recommendation for admission; rates of recommendation are compared)?

      Those are an attempt to quantitatively demonstrate how equally-qualified women scientists and engineers are discriminated against. But if we apply your logic to that, the marketplace has already spoken on this issue.

  14. Could be the progressive educators of today are mostly children of the “flower children” who managed to avoid service during the Vietnam War by staying in school. Those who served and consequently their children are mostly relegated to the back of the line.

    1. That’s an interesting conspiracy theory.
      Mind explaining how it would work?

      I spent ten years as a vocational educator, though I’ve been out of that game and in private industry for a while now. I also enlisted for a period of service during relative peacetime… the only significant conflict was the first Gulf War, when I was on inactive reserve, and the guys on the ground made short work of that one and I was not reactivated. My kid went to university, earned a degree, did a VISTA year, and is now in graduate school. All of this, by your theory, because my dad was too nearsighted to enlist in the army in 1959?

      1. Not a “conspiracy” just simple observation, you and me may be the exceptions that proves the rule.

  15. Volokh Conspiracy noted this

    Are conservative and libertarian law professors more productive than their peers?
    By Jonathan H. Adler
    January 12, 2016

    A new paper on SSRN by James Phillips, forthcoming in the Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy, evaluates possible explanations for the apparent lack of law professors with conservative and libertarian views. Among other things, the paper finds evidence that conservative and libertarian law professors at top law schools publish more and are cited more often than their liberal or ideologically-unclassified peers.

    1. This Phillips guy sounds like a movement conservative trying to build a career on arguing that strong schools should emulate weak schools by hiring more movement conservatives.

      Given the manner in which conservatives promote each others’ careers, this strategy probably would land him a faculty spot at a third-tier, conservative-controlled school.

  16. Just to be clear, I won’t automatically accept anything that is published in a social science journal. I still believe in the presumption of innocence, and any law school should have to insist, if they’re sued, that the accuracy of the study is closely examined.

    Most people have an intuitive sense that these schools are discriminating, but that’s not enough to remove the presumption of innocence for any school accused of discrimination – even a state school. (And private schools may even have a legal right to practice political discrimination)

    1. Even if they have that right, would it be wise for them to openly advertise such a hiring bias?

  17. In some ways, you could explain the results on the grounds that liberal-leaning research were considered ‘hot’ during the study’s time period. For example, all the schools at that time were thinking they had some ‘critical theory’ gap that needed to be overcome. Crazy, I know, but academia is disappointingly obsessed with following the latest trend.

    A follow-on study could try to establish some kind of ‘value over replacement’ score (perhaps the existing publication impact factors) and then see how those professors performed relative to their ‘hiring class

  18. There are two meanings to “conservative”. One, which I will mark as “upper case” Conservatism, is a political movement. The other, “lower case” conservative, is a reluctance to change much if at all from status quo. It might be likened to inertia.

    So, a lower-case conservative might see the current state of affairs as correct and proper, whereas a Conservative might wish to make large-scale changes to status quo… to step back to a time when abortion was illegal, when sex outside of marriage was criminal, when homosexuality was criminal.

    Law has great respect for conservatism… the term for it in law is “weight of precedent”. By contrast, it has very little deference for Conservatism. The press of freedom is in favor of more, not less, and this is a good thing.

    From my perspective, if you don’t want a same-sex marriage, don’t get one, and that resolves that. When you try to say “I don’t want a same-sex marriage, so those two ladies over there can’t have one, and neither can those two dudes”, I’m not likely to value your argument.

    I want people working teaching the law who value lower-case c conservatism. I don’t give a damn whether or not any, some, or all of them are upper-case Conservatives and have strong doubts as to their ability to actually do the work.

  19. “Do Law Schools Discriminate Against Conservatives and Libertarians in Faculty Hiring?”

    Is water wet?

    1. Some law schools aggressively focus on hiring conservative faculty members. Right-wingers do not seem to wish to discuss, or even acknowledge, those schools, which tend to be lousy schools in what seems not to be pure coincidence.

  20. I’ll stop at the title and guess: Yes?

    Shouldn’t the market fix this if superior libertarian and conservative profs are getting excluded?

    The obvious solution is that the market will cause some schools to hire the superior profs, and those schools will become the better schools, and then do better and the market will self-correct? If Harvard/Yale are dissing the superior professors, then other schools should surpass them. I’m just not sure how long models say this should take.

    1. I don’t think the success of law schools has been measured by their ability to produce good statesman/citizens, but by their ability to produce skilled lawyers. If the schools do that, then any political bias they introduce need not professionally hurt the graduates. Maybe it won’t be best for the country, but if statist bias in higher ed was going to be automatically corrected, it would have happened in the past century or so.

      Now, if we move to less expensive models of legal education, maybe this will matter less.

    2. Shouldn’t the market fix this if superior libertarian and conservative profs are getting excluded?

      Right-wing law professors misplace their ostensible principles in this context.

  21. So the same person who argues that disparate impact and unconscious bias are worth addressing (if they exist at all) with respect to race, thinks correlation is causation when it comes to ideology.

    I don’t think this is a needle you can thread and stay ideologically consistent.

  22. I do think some affirmative action is called for when it comes to conservatives in academia.
    You don’t need to believe there is an intentional wide-ranging ideological blacklist to think that’s worthwhile, just that the other side can be reasonable.

    In fact, the paranoid speculation just undercuts the case that conservativism merits inclusion for it’s own sake. If the right is moving from a set of philosophical tenets into a reactionary movement that’s largely just people who think those who would hire them are constantly acting in bad faith, that’s a recipe for a toxic workplace, not philosophical exchange.

  23. The paper’s description its methodology is a bit thin, but it might be OK.

    It is quite refreshing to see conservatives admitting that statistical analysis can be used to prove discrimination. Of course, they only seem to admit when the group allegedly being discriminated against is on they like.

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