Bainbridge Publishes His "Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion" Statement at UCLA

|The Volokh Conspiracy |

Noted professor Stephen Bainbridge has published his "Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion" Statement as part of the process for receiving a merit raise at UCLA (tip to Zero Hedge).  It begins with a discussion of some of my work:

Although I am aware and respectful of the many dimensions within which a university properly seeks a diverse faculty and student body, I have long been particularly concerned with the lack of intellectual diversity at the law school. A survey of U.S. law professors in general found that white Democratic professors (both male and female), Jewish professors, and nonreligious professors "account for most (or all) of the overrepresentation among racial, gender, religious, and ideological groups in law teaching."[1] The groups that "account for most of the underrepresentation among racial, gender, religious, and ideological groups in law teaching" are Republicans (both male and female), Protestants, and Catholics.[2] This disparity persists even though "religious and political diversity are probably more important for viewpoint diversity than gender diversity and roughly as important as racial diversity."[3]

Bainbridge goes on to describe his commitment to diversity:

Because conservative students and students of faith often feel alienated and estranged in an environment that is so relentlessly liberal and secular, I have made particular efforts to reach out to and support such students. I have served as a mentor for leaders of The Federalist Society and Christian Law Students Association. I have given talks to both organizations. I taught a Perspectives on law and Lawyering seminar devoted to Catholic Social Thought and the Law, which gave students—whether Catholic or not—an opportunity to consider how their faith (or lack thereof) related to the law and an opportunity to learn about a coherent body of Christian scholarship that might inform their lives as lawyers.

My 2015 paper on the most underrepresented and overrepresented groups in law teaching is at SSRN.

My more recent paper showing which groups of law teachers feel least free to express their views at work is here.

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  1. If law professors feel unfree to express Catholicism-informed views on law, does that mean a law school is unsound, or does it mean it is doing its job, and in the process sparing the nation the next William Barr? Given the recent and continuing over-representation of conservative Catholics on the Supreme Court, is this complaint really timely? There has never been any shortage of conservative Catholics willing to argue that law must be informed by Catholic doctrine. Maybe that kind of thing is unpopular at American law schools because legal scholars know it is contrary to America’s legal and constitutional tradition.

    1. If law professors feel unfree to express Catholicism-informed views on law, does that mean a law school is unsound, or does it mean it is doing its job, and in the process sparing the nation the next William Barr?

      It means it is unsound, lathrop.

      Given the recent and continuing over-representation of conservative Catholics on the Supreme Court, is this complaint really timely?

      Religious test much, lathrop?

      1. Competent adults neither advance nor accept superstition-based (or supernatural-based) arguments in reasoned debate, particularly with respect to public affairs (including law).

        How does the “unsound” argument apply to a conservative-controlled school that engages in viewpoint-based discrimination favoring (certain) religion — in everything from admissions to hiring)– while enforcing dogma, rejecting academic freedom, collecting loyalty oaths, suppressing science, and warping history to flatter superstition at the expense of reason? Is every such school “unsound?”

        Or is this yet another example of religious claimants claiming entitlement to ‘heads we win, tails you lose’ or ‘simultaneous sword and shield’ approach to questions of discrimination?

    2. “Given the recent and continuing over-representation of conservative Catholics on the Supreme Court…”

      Now repeat your point but substitute “liberal Jews”.

  2. Maybe most Republicans are just too stupid to get into law school. . . .

    1. APEDAD – Would you make the same comment or suggestion about African Americans and/or Hispanics/Latinos?

      1. I might, if the African Americans or Hispanics in question chose to be Republicans, and began acting like members of the Senate’s Republican caucus.

    2. Or maybe we were smart enough to do the math and physics and went into an engineering field.

      1. STEM-lords are also pretty lame, though.

        1. Jeff Epstein’s relationship with MIT and other STEM institutions has certainly proved this to be true.

  3. I have long been particularly concerned with the lack of intellectual diversity at the law school. A survey of U.S. law professors in general found that white Democratic professors (both male and female), Jewish professors, and nonreligious professors “account for most (or all) of the overrepresentation among racial, gender, religious, and ideological groups in law teaching.”

    So where in the legal profession are these groups underrepresented?

    1. Isn’t law school itself enough? Law school is an institution itself within the legal community, not just a feeder into the legal profession.

      1. I don’t understand your response.

        Teaching law is one of several possible career paths for lawyers. (These include “not able to make a living as a lawyer.”)

        If a certain group is overrepresented on legal faculties it must, as a matter of arithmetic, be underrepresented on other career paths. I’m asking what those are.

        Disproportion may be caused by lots of things, including discriminatory hiring practices in some segments, of course, but also random variation, patterns of career choice, and so on.

        1. If a certain group is overrepresented on legal faculties it must, as a matter of arithmetic, be underrepresented on other career paths.

          1) I’m not sure that this is true. Law faulty is not a random sampling of the legal profession.
          2) I’m not sure why this is relevant. If there’s a lack of representation in legal faculties, that’s an issue full stop. No need to follow to other legal career paths.

          I agree that we aren’t quite sure why there’s an asymmetry, but I’m okay with treating the symptom as we work to diagnose the disease.

          1. He’s making the argument often used to disprove the gender wage gap – specifically that differences in salary and income between genders in the last few decades (circa 2000+) are entirely explained by individual preferences rather than any form of invidious discrimination.

            As examples, women dominate the lowest paying college degrees (education, sociology, psychology) and are almost entirely absent in the highest paying degrees (petrochemical engineering, any other engineering, any hard science). Since women prefer career paths that they know (or should know) in advance are less financially remunerative they are demonstrating their preference for lower financial compensation in return for something they value higher – career satisfaction, flexibility, etc.

            The same would apply to law schools. If liberal Jews and atheists are over represented in law school faculty, but under represented in (for example) Admiralty law, and the reason for that absence is that Admiralty law often involves appearances in middle eastern countries where they will be institutionally discriminated against then that’s something we may want to address via treaty, but not something that would be at all helped by the law schools making any changes – as that would merely restrict a career path without opening up another. But if the difference is because liberal Jews and atheists who are lapsed born again Christians have additional interest in the philosophy of laws driven by their departure from their prior faiths so that law schools simply have a larger candidate pool of them then that’s not necessarily a problem – people are going where they want to. But if those same people then go on to believe that only like minded people can be competent in the morality of laws (like many comments here explicitly state) that would be a problem the school might want to address.

    2. “Too many Jews.”

  4. DId he get the raise?

  5. That should work.

  6. I would love to see the committee’s faces when they read this. Remember that these campuses actually call the FBI over signs that say “It’s okay to be white”. I hope Prof Bainbridge isn’t charged with a hate crime.

    1. Losing the culture war seems to have made you cranky, John Rohan. Perhaps you should pray for replacement, which could end your suffering at the hands of America’s reasoning, liberal-libertarian mainstream.

  7. I admit to being surprised that Catholics are underrepresented. I would have expected the opposite.

    I also find a seminar on “Catholic Social Thought and the Law” wholly appropriate, and wonder if anyone is objecting to this.

    1. Also quite interesting considering the Supreme Court has 5 Roman Catholics, 3 Jews, and one Episcopalian (raised Catholic).

    2. Thomas More was popular until the Barr era.

  8. I hope our nation’s strongest schools decline the invitation to emulate shabby schools by hiring more movement conservatives for faculty positions.

    The market has spoken, vividly. Conservatives dislike the verdict. They whine. Selectively, of course.

    That conservatives do not address the ostensible market failure by creating strong conservative-friendly schools (for fun, profit, and the political advantage they crave) is telling. Roughly as telling as the point that just about every American campus conservatives control becomes a third- or fourth-tier, censorship-shackled, science- and freedom- suppressing, dogma-enforcing, nonsense-teaching goober factory with sketchy accreditation, lackluster faculties, and shambling alumni.

    1. If “the market has spoken, vividly”, then the same thing would apply to the lack of black, Hispanic, or female professors. Obviously, they are also just whining because they “dislike the verdict”?

      1. It might. One rejoinder is that people who are black, Hispanic, or female inherit those traits, and we have as yet to find that the genes for skin pigmentation or gender, or the longitude or latitude of where you were born, cause decreases in traits that are objectively useful for law professors. Of course religious beliefs aren’t inherited traits, so they don’t have the same defense.

        What’s next? Approximately 6% of Americans believe the moon landing was a hoax. Have we polled law professors to make sure this important viewpoint diversity is satisfied? Do 45% of law professors believe that demons exist? Do 13% of them believe in vampires?

  9. Could you please identify the substandard American schools whose faculties are dominated by black, Hispanic, or female professors?

    Could you please identify the strong American law schools that lack black, Hispanic, or female professors?

    Thank you.

    1. Have you seen almost any public school? Ever?

      I don’t think it has anything to do with race, but the pattern is there if you’re willing to see.

      Instead it’s pretty clear that they suffer from a lack of incentive to do better. A public teacher, in general, cannot be fired, and no matter how hard she works or how great her accomplishments she can gain nothing more than any other who merely marks time. Over the years that creates an incentive – people who want to excel in teaching kids find places where they can, and can be rewarded. People who want to leach off the public teat stay put, because they can’t do better anywhere else. Not everyone who stays is substandard, but the incentives at worth push towards that end, so that’s what we get.

  10. Raised Catholic, now on the right side of the Reformation and UCLA law grad. This statement is embarrassing and reflects badly on the professor. I never viewed Bill Warren, or Ken Karst, or John Bauman, or Stan Siegel or Susan Prager or Jim Sumner, or David Binder, or Justice Paul Boland, or any of my professors based on their religion or supposed party affiliation. I like them because they were good teachers. The professor should turn his attention back where it belongs – the merits of his colleagues – and get rid of these religious tests.

    1. I think you miss the whole point. He’s writing this is response to people who somehow think it’s important to make sure that the right number of students and professors are of a certain race or skin color.

  11. Professor Bainbridge, as he always does, had to first revise his presentation to make sure it complied with official Catholic teaching. The man does not think for himself.

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