Cancelling Citations

Will law review editors ask authors to remove citations to controversial sources?

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Last October, I wrote about a controversial Bluebook proposal: Any case that involves slavery would require a parenthetical disclaimer. For example "(enslaved party)" or "(enslaved person at issue)." So far, this change has not come to pass. But with the hard-left turn of law reviews, I doubt there is enough resistance to block this change. The upshot of this policy will be to simply cancel certain citations. Authors will not want to be seen as promoting slavery-based jurisprudence. So those cases will simply fall into desuetude.

This weaponization of footnotes will not be limited to slavery. Journals will continue to impose more control over scholarship to pursue inclusion. Professor Brian Leiter writes about a referee report from a philosophy journal. The "very first comment" criticized the author for not citing diverse authors.

1.      One of the first things I noticed is that not a single female author is being referenced or cited in this piece. Given that this is generally seen as problematic, I urge the author to make an effort to engage with some women scholars, such as [female professor X], who I believe wrote on [the topic of the essay] fairly recently.

Leiter offers a powerful rejoinder to this comment:

[R]acial or demographic equity in citations is not a value in scholarship; truth and knowledge are the only values. If past racism has resulted in neglect of scholars who can contribute to truth and knowledge in a particular domain, then the demand should be to name those scholars so that they can be studied. But equity-qua–demographic-diversity per se is not a scholarly value. It has a stronger claim to be a value in pedagogy….

Well said. Diversity is an important value. But it is not the most important value. It should not predominate over all aspects of scholarly inquiry. The obsession with inclusion will serve only to exclude thoughts out of the woke zeitgeist. This current trend threatens to stifle academy inquiry in dangerous ways.

So far, I have not had a law review editor tell me to add citations to certain authors to promote some type of gender or racial diversity. If I received such advice, I would decide if the citation was relevant. If yes, I would consider adding it. But if the sole purpose for adding the citation would be to check diversity boxes, I would resist the change.

There is also the converse problem. What if I cite a controversial author, but the journal asks me to remove it. There are many reasons why an author may fall on a "cancel" list. Perhaps the author took the wrong view on some social issue. Or maybe the author associated with the wrong people. Or maybe the author deigned to challenge some orthodoxy. Whatever. I would also resist any effort to remove a citation based entirely on the identity of the author.

Of course, I don't care to play these law review games. Other authors may not have that luxury. Imagine a journal makes an offer contingent on diversifying the footnotes. In other words, "We will publish this article if you include more inclusive footnotes." Would you decline that offer?

In the years ahead, I think it will become very difficult for conservative authors to publish in law reviews. Peer-reviewed journals are not much better. Look no further than the example Professor Leiter cited. The road ahead will be rocky.

NEXT: Pre-Writing Justice Breyer's Obituary

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  1. In the years ahead, I think it will become very difficult for conservative authors to publish in law reviews.

    But since “diversity” in citations is not a “scholarly value,” per se, and only truth and knowledge really matters, this shouldn’t be a problem, should it?

      1. Very ouch.

      2. Any journal that cancels a citation should be banned. It is an agent of the Chinese Commie Party agenda for our country. Zero tolerance for cancel culture.

        1. RAARGH! COKED UP COCKATOO SMASH CHINESE COMMIE AGENTS!

          1. Reported, reported, reported.

            1. Zero tolerance for cancel culture.

      3. It’s always funny to watch the simpletons like QA and RALK respond to childishly stupid comments as though they were terribly clever and substantive drop-the-mike moments.

        1. Reported, reported, reported.

        2. It’s always funny to watch the simpletons like QA and RALK respond to childishly stupid comments as though they were terribly clever and substantive drop-the-mike moments.

          Irony alert.

        3. No one thinks they’re mic dropping on an argument with a shitposter, they’re having fun mocking them. But don’t worry, I enjoy mocking you…too(?).

          1. I enjoy mocking clingers.

            I blame my education.

    1. “But since “diversity” in citations is not a “scholarly value,” per se, and only truth and knowledge really matters, this shouldn’t be a problem, should it?”

      But arriving at truth and knowledge requires the ability to reason, so your comment shows that this is a huge problem.

      1. You’re switching sides on the ‘reason vs. superstition’ issue?

      2. I’m not sure whether your non sequitur was intentionally ironic, or…

    2. Your comment does not make sense to me. As an editor, I frequently comment about citation or lack thereof. I also note that including a citation that the manuscript does not actually use is very often a violation of publication ethics.

      Equity in the DIE manta should include honesty

    3. He wasn’t arguing that conservative authors should be published for the sake of publishing conservative authors, but that conservative authors would be actively discriminated against through these kinds of policies about what citations are allowed or banned.

      1. And the active discrimination against “conservatives” is a problem because…?

        Per Leiter, a lack of racial or gender “diversity” in citations (or, one would surmise, scholarship more generally) is not a problem so long as the core scholarly values of “truth” and “knowledge” are being pursued. If this is true, then it would seem to be similarly true of the exclusion of so-called “conservatives.” If being a conservative is not, in and of itself, a guarantee that one is furthering “truth” or “knowledge” – and in the case of Josh it almost certainly is not – then their exclusion from some law journal or another does not seem to be that much of a problem, does it? Or, at least, not self-evidently so – we would need to understand more about the underlying quality of the so-called “conservative” scholarship.

        Leiter, as is his wont, is making a pedantic point about the empty pursuit of “diversity” without observing the ways in which a lack of diversity may itself act as an important proxy for failures in underlying scholarship. A scholar who cites only white, male authors, for instance, may be woefully behind the times on current scholarship, or may have failed to account for viewpoints more developed by non-white, non-male authors. (Imagine a systematic analysis of criminal law without even a nod towards critical race theory, either to build on it or distinguish from it.)

        And Josh, as is his wont, is taking Leiter’s pedantic and rather narrow point and extrapolating it rather wildly to justify his ongoing martyr complex.

        1. Leiter, as is his wont, is making a pedantic point about the empty pursuit of “diversity” without observing the ways in which a lack of diversity may itself act as an important proxy for failures in underlying scholarship.

          Far be it from me to defend Brian Leiter, who is and always has been a jackass, but he’s not failing to observe that because it’s false. It’s not a proxy for failures in underlying scholarship, and the reviewer in question was not using it as such. They were engaged in the empty pursuit of trivial diversity. “Your article fails to deal with issues X and Y” or “Your article needs to grapple with this important scholarship on the topic published last year” is not at all addressed by “Your article fails to cite women.”

          1. [The lack of diversity in citations is] not a proxy for failures in underlying scholarship, and the reviewer in question was not using it as such.

            Fascinating. I look forward to your argument supporting this position.

            I am not particular interested in defending this particular reviewer, or how the reviewer chose to express their particular criticism. I am addressing Leiter’s point and Josh’s development of it.

            I will continue to maintain that the lack of diversity in citations may – not must – serve as a proxy for failures in the underlying scholarship. Actually, a convenient example comes from one of Leiter’s own topics of interest (I hesitate to say, “expertise”): the philosophy of law. There are a number of important, seminal works on that topic, including several from the mid-twentieth century, nearly all of which was written by white men – not a surprising circumstance, given the centuries over which it has been developed and the state of the academy in the mid-twentieth century. Since the mid-twentieth century, there has been a lot more writing on topics those earlier scholars have outlined, trying to grapple with some of the key issues, and the authorship of that body of work has become more diverse, as one might expect. So, if you were to submit a paper with only white, male authors – it would look rather woefully out of date.

            Similarly, on the topic of how the law addresses the LGBT community, same-sex marriage and adoption, and the like, there is a fair amount of “scholarship” over the past several decades written by religious conservatives – mainly men and women published in law journals of Christian, Catholic, or ideologically-committed conservative law schools. This “scholarship” has a certain… character… that is perhaps not up to the standard of top-level legal academic work. Again, if you were to write on the topic, but ended up citing only these Christian or Catholic men and women, the result would be highly dubious – a lack of diversity in citation points to a lack of quality in the underlying scholarship.

            None of this is to dispute the basic, pedantic point, which is that the empty pursuit of “diversity” doesn’t seem to have much scholarly value, in itself. One must always attend to the quality of the underlying scholarship. But certainly the lack of diversity in citations can indicate blind spots and oversights that would undermine the quality of one’s conclusions, in the examples (four of them) I’ve now provided.

    4. And then we can say, “The only reason she was cited is because she’s a broad.”

      1. and meanwhile, the reason you WEREN’T cited is because you’re a twit.

  2. “What if I cite a controversial author, but the journal asks me to remove it. There are many reasons why an author may fall on a “cancel” list. Perhaps the author took the wrong view on some social issue. Or maybe the author associated with the wrong people. Or maybe the author deigned to challenge some orthodoxy. Whatever. I would also resist any effort to remove a citation based entirely on the identity of the author.”

    So, you’re complaining about a situation that hasn’t happened?

    1. When your life is so frictionless that you have to make up things that might happen in the future just to show that you’re oppressed.

    2. James, it does happen in hard sciences as well as social sciences.

      1. What does? People making up reasons to complain about things?

        1. Reviewers complaining about missing references to improtant literature or conversely inappropriate citation

          1. Usually reviewers complaining about missing references to their own work.

            1. See Dr. Ed for your plagiarism refresher.

            2. Sometimes “yes,” sometimes ‘No.”

    3. ““What if I cite a controversial author, but the journal asks me to remove it”

      If you removed it, unless you essentially re-wrote the entire article, there’s a damn good chance you’ll fall into a plagiarism trap.

      The citation is there because you used the author’s information — so you need to not only remove the author’s name but also all of the author’s information from your article.

      The fact remains that you *did* consult that source, so even if you have redundant sources, you’re still in trouble. In fact, if one wanted to get truly technical, you can’t even publish the article without including the source.

      And this isn’t just hypothetical — people do get into trouble for plagiarism. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’ BU Dissertation comes to mind…

      1. ED,
        “If you removed it, unless you essentially re-wrote the entire article, there’s a damn good chance you’ll fall into a plagiarism trap.”

        What are you talking about? If you quote “….” That needs a citation’ If you say that several authors have argued that [a]. [b], [c], [d]…etc.
        If you remove a or b or c or d. That would not be plagiarism.

      2. There goes Dr. Ed, lecturing on plagiarism as if he’s the only one who’s ever heard of it.

        1. Somebody must have had to have a long conversation with him on this topic.

      3. “The citation is there because you used the author’s information —”

        Ehh.. Not necessarily. A lot of time it’s there because you need a reference to back up your assertion (which is typically entirely in your own words). Many times you can find a different reference which backs up your assertion.

        1. See generally Orin S. Kerr, A Theory of Law, 16 GREEN BAG 2D 111 (2012).

        2. Depends who you ask — I’ve heard that you can even plagiarize yourself….

          1. You can certainly cite yourself. And many people do.

          2. “I’ve heard that you can even plagiarize yourself”

            John Fogerty was accused of it, but ultimately won the lawsuit. Turned out he could NOT be successfully sued for sounding like Creedence Clearwater Revival.

            1. I don’t think that was the issue. He didn’t have the rights to a song that he’d previously done. He did another song for a different company that sounded similar to the song he didn’t own.

              I don’t know the exact merits that the case turned on, but it isn’t true that he’s simply allowed to reproduce songs he doesn’t own just because he recorded them originally.

      4. people do get into trouble for plagiarism. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’ BU Dissertation comes to mind…

        I am pretty sure that Martin Luther King Jr. got in trouble for many things, but plagiarism wasn’t one of them. Unless James Earl Ray had very different motivations from the one I had always assumed.

        1. He’d been dead for over 20 years when it came out, and as every member of his committee was dead as well, BU concluded that there was no one to defend the dissertation — but plagiarism was found in 1991.

          https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/opinions/1990/11/18/how-king-borrowed/d6fcf0f9-60a1-4b6a-86aa-137075f401e9/

          1. He’d been dead for over 20 years when it came out,

            Yes. This was my point.

    4. So, you’re complaining about a situation that hasn’t happened?

      When you’re so cognitively challenged that you don’t understand “what if” speculation as an evaluation device….

      1. WHAT IF a really, really stupid person tried to invent a complaint about something I wrote? If I point out how stupid they are, it might hurt their precious self-esteem but on the other hand, self-esteem that hasn’t been earned isn’t really helpful.

        Thanks buddy, you were a big help. Keep up the good work, ya jackhole.

        1. If a person complains to the ditor, it is proper editorial ethic to investigate the complaint, making the initial assumption that it is bona fide.

          On occasion complaints will be a shot in a long-standing Hatfields and McCoys battle. It is the editors job to be fair and to appear to be fair to all parties.

          1. But what if the complainer is just a whiny bitch-punk?

  3. “Journals will continue to impose more control over scholarship to pursue inclusion”

    This is not inclusion, of course; it is exclusion, of the truth.

    Welcome to 1984’s real nightmare; newspeak.

    1. What I suspect will happen, is that you’re going to get shift in the market so that there are “conservative” journals and “liberal” journals, not unlike in other media.

      Have some research showing that police shootings are not biased against blacks….submit it to the appropriate tier “conservative” journal.

      Have some research that redlining still occurs, submit it to the appropriate tier “liberal” journal.

      1. And ever having published in a conservative journal will cause you to be forever blacklisted from the ‘liberal’ journals.

        1. With double blind peer review properly done, hopefully not.

          1. Double-blind peer review doesn’t negate the fact that, increasingly, we’re not using the same version of English anymore.

            The use of plural pronouns for singular items is a clear clue that one leans left, as is the use of the feminine case for unidentified animate objects. Conversely using the masculine case, and the feminine for inanimate ones (e.g. ships) is a clue one leans right.

            But beyond that, it’s the jargon we use. I once literally had to ask a conservative professor to translate something that a leftist professor had told me — I knew the concept quite well, but I’d never before heard any of the words she’d used to describe it.

            Hence, variance in writing style precludes true double-blind review, at least to someone knowledgeable in the specific field.

            1. Ed,
              At some level, what you suggest does apply but it is much further from black and white than you claim

              1. I think even black and white is too wishy-washy for Ed. Just white.

                1. I prefer 000000 and FFFFFF…. 😉

                  1. You’re doing it wrong.

                    1. You’re doing it wrong.

                      Just because you’re ignorant with regard to what he was referencing (hexadecimal RGB values) doesn’t mean he did anything wrong.

                    2. just because I’m more familiar with hexadecimal RGB than either of you two IS a reason to believe me when I mention that you’re doing it wrong.

                      Fully transparent black and fully transparent white are not really different colors.

              2. Maybe Education is more extreme than other fields — the right and left aren’t even using the same words anymore.

                1. “Academic” became a separate language quite some time ago.

            2. “The use of plural pronouns for singular items is a clear clue that one leans left, as is the use of the feminine case for unidentified animate objects. Conversely using the masculine case, and the feminine for inanimate ones (e.g. ships) is a clue one leans right.”

              Looking for clues that an author leans left or right is a clue that one leans left.

            3. Actually publishers have such rules, but in my experience as an editor they are ignored. I’m happy if the English is intelligible.

              1. Indeed…

                You hate writing it, but sometimes the best comment is “Please have a native english speaker review the article before resubmission”

                1. I send many papers back to the authors with just that comment. It is embarrassing when the authors are all from a major US Midwest laboratory or university

                  1. The NAEP “boy gap” on language skills is greater than the “girl gap” on math/science.

                    1. Is that your excuse?

          2. With double blind peer review properly done, hopefully not.

            That may be relevant to some fields, but not law.

        2. Projection is a helluva drug.

        3. “And ever having published in a conservative journal will cause you to be forever blacklisted from the ‘liberal’ journals.”

          They way being published in a pay-to-play journal does?

      2. That sifting — producing conservative institutions — is natural and common. We have

        liberal-libertarian mainstream schools (Harvard, Princeton, Michigan, Berkeley, Carnegie Mellon, NYU) and conservative schools (Hillsdale, Ouachita Baptist, Grove City, Oral Roberts, Biola, Wheaton);

        liberal-libertarian mainstream schools (Yale, Columbia, Penn) and conservative law schools (Liberty, Regent, Ave Maria);

        liberal-libertarian mainstream states (Massachusetts, Connecticut, Oregon, New York, Vermont) and conservative states (West Virginia, Mississippi, Wyoming, Oklahoma, Alabama);

        liberal-libertarian mainstream media (New York Times, Washington Post, ABC, CNN, NBC, CBS) and conservative media (Fox News, Newsmax, New York Post, Gateway Pundit, Stormfront, One America News);

        and

        liberal-libertarian mainstream entertainment (major movie studios, NFL, NBA, MLB, network television, Springsteen, Stevie Wonder, the Stones) and conservative entertainment (Gutfeld!, televangelists, NASCAR, the Left Behind series, country music, faith healers, Last Man Standing, rattlesnake-juggling exhibitions).

        Conservatives and liberals seem to have pronounced and differing preferences with respect to quality.

        1. The difference will sort out to whether you want good scholarship (Journal A) or Conservative slant (journal B). That will be good for the handful of conservative scholars who can actually do good work because they’ll have more choices for publication. It’s good because the good journals will no longer be flooded with substandard partisan “scholarship”, those works will be pinched off and sent directly to the partisan outlets looking for that kind of offal. and finally, the poor conservative won’t be confronted with ideas they don’t like anymore, because the “Journal of Academic Excellence” won’t have anything in them the Cons are interested in any more.

    2. The history of Oceania began with some obscure philosophy department referee! It’s just a matter of time, now.

      There are actual totalitarian regimes the world over, and y’all are still crying wolf about academia. Have any of you read an article published in a philosophy journal, ever? Do you actually know anybody who has? Nobody reads it. This is like complaining about the editorial decisions governing tumblr Harry Potter fan fiction.

      1. Yeah, but Philosophy professors read them, and then they teach crap to students who become prominent journalists and diversity consultants who run around claiming that things like objectivity are white supremacy.

        1. As usual, you take a pretty rarified take, reduce it to an even hotter take, and amplify it like it’s the mainstream.

          You really gotta get out more.

          1. Any evidence to refute Yglesias’s claim that this take is fairly common in the DEI community?

            And Kirsten Powers, a prominent journalist, has clearly read the background on the take, and is defending it.

            That sounds pretty mainstream to me.

            1. How would you refute that something is not popular with a group? And ‘DEI’ doesn’t = ‘journalists.’

              1. I said journalists and diversity consultants. And I don’t know how to refute it, but that’s what Sarcastro’s claiming.

                1. If someone is positing something is popular then I think the burden on them is to prove it, not on others to prove it’s not popular (if its not there won’t be much to point to).

                  Most mainstream journalists still almost fetishize objectivity.

                  1. “If someone is positing something is popular then I think the burden on them is to prove it, not on others to prove it’s not popular.”

                    I posted a link to an article that provides some support for the claim that it’s popular. Sarcastro claimed that the take was “rarified” without providing any support.

                    1. From the source you provided:

                      “even though it’s not what I would call a particularly intellectually influential work in highbrow circles — even ones that are very “woke” or left-wing “

                    2. Also “I’ve never heard a major writer, scholar, or political leader praise or recommend it.”

                      Whatever this is, doesn’t seem to be a problem of academe.

                    3. “Whatever this is, doesn’t seem to be a problem of academe.”

                      This particular problem exists both inside the academy, within education departments and in the DEI community.

                2. And btw, I’m not sure how many DEI folks, whom I often find quite silly, are claiming that objective reality is false or white supremacists rather than promulgating some misunderstanding of something like, iirc, ‘standpoint theory’ where in people ‘read into’ objective reality their own biases quite a bit and so people’s *perceptions* of reality are going to be differently skewed, and that if you want to successfully deal with diverse groups you have to get that they will often ‘see things’ differently than you.

                  1. “And btw, I’m not sure how many DEI folks, whom I often find quite silly, are claiming that objective reality is false or white supremacists…”

                    Well, the ones who use the “widely circulated” Tema Okun materials are.

                    1. The full quote: “But today, even though it’s not what I would call a particularly intellectually influential work in highbrow circles — even ones that are very “woke” or left-wing — it does seem to be incredibly widely circulated.”

                      And then, get who he cites to show how ‘incredibly widely circulated’ it is:

                      “You see it everywhere from the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence to the Sierra Club of Wisconsin to an organization of West Coast Quakers. ”

                      Not the West Coast Quakers and the Sierra Club of one state! That’s a tsunami, for sure.

                    2. “And then, get who he cites to show how ‘incredibly widely circulated’ it is:

                      ‘“You see it everywhere from the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence to the Sierra Club of Wisconsin to an organization of West Coast Quakers. ”’

                      Is that all, QA, or is there more? You know, if you think your position is correct you should be able to defend it with correct claims.

                    3. Uh, am I supposed to list every organization where the idea is *not* ‘widely circulated?’ Never heard of proving a negative, huh?

                    4. “Uh, am I supposed to list every organization where the idea is *not* ‘widely circulated?’”

                      Huh? You shouldn’t suggest that the stuff isn’t widely circulated by providing a partial summation of what’s in the article, and act like it’s an exhaustive list.

                      “Never heard of proving a negative, huh?”

                      If you want to claim a negative, you have to prove a negative.

                    5. You’re the one that made this claim that it was commonplace, citing Yglesias. Sarcasto, and then I, just challenged it. Yglesias’ evidence is not only thin (naming a handful of quite non-mainstream institutions) but also he himself says there a few times it’s not very influential.

                      Also, note that he doesn’t think it’s a thing in academe in any way, which is how this conversation got started (you claimed academics were teaching journalists and DEI consultants this). And your other source was a middle school principal…

                    6. “If you want to claim a negative, you have to prove a negative.”

                      Prove it.

            2. San Francisco cited the work as justification for changing the name of the art department from VAPA (visual and performing arts) because acronyms are a symptom of white supremacy.

              And take has been written up approvingly in Ed Week

              1. So, San Francisco (a school there?) and an article from a ‘contributing blogger’ to ‘Ed Week’ is the wave you’re riding on?

                1. I’m citing a bunch of things to demonstrate that this view is mainstream.

                  1. You’re probably going to have to go bigger than the mighty mainstream of San Fran and a single blogger to a single education journal (and neither journalists or DEI is involved there, are they, seemed like the blogger was a principal of a middle school?).

                    1. I started the topic by linking to an article by Matt Yglesias who supports the idea that it’s widely circulated.

                    2. Yeah, I’m dealing with that above as well.

                      So a contributing blogger, San Fran *and* the Sierra Club of WISCONSIN! That is overwhelming…

                      Dude, this is another of your moral panics.

                    3. “Yeah, I’m dealing with that above as well.”

                      Do you even hear yourself?

                      QA: Two instances? That’s it?
                      12: I provided a link where there’s more.
                      QA: Yeah, I addressed those elsewhere.

                      And you didn’t address the whole “Tema Okun is weirdly influential” section.

                    4. “QA: Two instances? That’s it?
                      12: I provided a link where there’s more.”
                      QA: Uh, the link that says “I’ve never heard a major writer, scholar, or political leader praise or recommend it”?

                      Do you even hear yourself?

                  2. “I’m citing a bunch of things to demonstrate that this view is mainstream.”

                    Try citing some mainstream things to demonstrate that it’s mainstream.

                  3. I’m citing a bunch of things to demonstrate that this view is mainstream.

                    You’re citing some obscure stuff to show something is not obscure.

                    It’s not working very well, though it is kinda funny!

              2. San Francisco is filled with the Brain Dead.

                1. “San Francisco is filled with the Brain Dead.”

                  They can’t all be Lubbock; Fargo; [any town in], Mississippi; Shreveport; [any town in], West Virginia; Saginaw; [any town in], Alabama; [any town in], Kentucky, or [any town in], Wyoming.

                  1. SF is peculiarly bad, RAK

                    1. The real clincher that it was over for San Francisco was when the average house hit $3 million, and American vehicle manufacturers recorded zero sales while the BMW and Mercedes dealerships reached the size of small airports.

                2. And poop.

        2. I think this is one of those areas where you don’t know what you’re talking about. Postmodernism is thought rather silly in most philosophy department. If they got that they more likely got it in English or Sociology classes, that’s where Derrida, Foucault, Rorty, etc., are considered important philosopher.

          1. Exactly. Not in philosophy departments

      2. “Do you actually know anybody who has? Nobody reads it”

        There is a line in _The Great Gatsby_ that I always had to explain to students — the pages in the books in his library had not been cut. Apparently, back then, publishers didn’t trim the pages as part of the binding process — to read a book, one had to first cut the pages apart.

        Hence Gatsby had a library full of impressive books — none of which had ever been read.

        It’s the same thing in academia — no one may read your article and no one (absolutely no one) may attend your conference presention — but you still get to list both on your CV. Or not if you aren’t selected.

        Think “publish or perish”….

        1. The best example you came up with was a fictional character?

          1. The best example you came up with was a fictional character?

            Apparently you don’t know what “example” means.

            1. If I need a stupid comment, I’ll ask Special Ed for his input.

            2. Apparently, someone doesn’t know what “best” means.

          2. It’s a great concise example of the left. He could have used current events, but with exactly the same message.
            Todays world is Zoom
            100’s of thousands of Zoomers using books they have never read as backdrops to their screen persona.
            He could have. But he used the example he chose…because its his post and not yours.

            1. “He could have. But he used the example he chose…because its his post and not yours.”

              He could have chosen a good example, but he didn’t, because he is Special Ed.

      3. The biggest fights are over the most trivial matters. The protestants fight with the Catholics way more than they fight with the Zoroastrians. Star Trek fans fight with Next-Gen fans over who the better Starfleet captain was, and over beard-Klingons vs. head-bump Klingons, as if it mattered. Academic in-fighting is just more trivialities to have huge fights over. It’s not something that normal people need to take any interest in.

  4. “The upshot of this policy will be to simply cancel certain citations. Authors will not want to be seen as promoting slavery-based jurisprudence.”

    Huh? One thing many critical race theorists (the real ones, not the Fox news described bogey monsters of the current Right) *love* to do is to to cite cases involving slavery (in large part to show how embedded racist institutions were involved in the development of the law). They’re certainly not gonna cancel such citations, they’ll love it.

    ” If past racism has resulted in neglect of scholars who can contribute to truth and knowledge in a particular domain, then the demand should be to name those scholars so that they can be studied.”

    In his rush from the fervor of the quasi-religion of anti-anti-racism Leiter deconstructs himself, as this is quite essentially exactly what the comment his knee jerk reaction does.

    ” I *urge* the author to *make an effort* to *engage* with some women scholars, such as **[female professor X]**, who I believe **wrote on [the topic of the essay]** fairly **recently**.”

    emphasis mine

    1. BTW-what this comment is most likely getting at is something like ‘since a fair amount of research suggests people, and scholars, tend to network with, collaborate and cite the work of people much like them, we urge you to take a look at the work of people from a different likely network, like this person X who has recently written on this subject and you might not know about it because the work is recent.’

      The horror! The horror…

      1. The work may also be (a) irrelevant and, worse, (b) garbage.

        If I don’t think that a particular work is worthy of inclusion in mine, that is my academic freedom.

        And imagine the converse — demanding that a feminist scholar include my work in hers. That ain’t gonna happen.

        1. Make them live by their own rules Ed. It’s a subversion technique that works, sorta, if we care about consistency.

          1. 1: Life’s too short to try to reason with stupid people. Ignorance I can deal with, ideological blindness I can’t.

            2: Much of the professional stuff I write about includes aspects of disability — it’s a big issue in both K-12 and higher ed right now — and there is an “Uncle Tom” template that they insist disability issues be viewed through — which goes against everything I believe in. At least in my field (education) there are also larger template which they insist on imposing on everything else.

            It’s not just the self-flagellation that I refuse to engage in. For example, I once taught in an all-White rural school that had *all* the problems of an all-Black inner-city one, with one exception — stray rounds tended to hit trees instead of bystanders because of the rural nature of the area.

            1. “one exception — stray rounds tended to hit trees instead of bystanders”

              Yeah, just that tiny exception!

              1. The flip side are police officers with patrol areas larger than the State of Rhode Island and hence their response time.

            2. 1) Then why are you on this blog?
              2) If you’re a peer reviewer, insisting that people have a decent lit review does this work for you, typically.

            3. “Much of the professional stuff I write about includes aspects of disability — it’s a big issue in both K-12 and higher ed right now”

              so, you’re at least AWARE of your shortcomings, then.

            4. ” Life’s too short to try to reason with stupid people. Ignorance I can deal with, ideological blindness I can’t.”

              You exhibit both ignorance and partisan blindness to a very large degree.

              1. I don’t ask people like you to collaborate with me on joint authored papers, do I?

                1. Because you don’t like being laughed at?

        2. Men aren’t underrepresented in academic citations, so, yeah, there’s going to be less urging to check out their work.

        3. “The work may also be (a) irrelevant and, worse, (b) garbage.”

          Does it have your name listed as author? If not, then the time to decide it’s irrelevant and useless is AFTER reading it.

        4. “The work may also be (a) irrelevant and, worse, (b) garbage.
          If I don’t think that a particular work is worthy of inclusion in mine, that is my academic freedom.
          And imagine the converse — demanding that a feminist scholar include my work in hers. That ain’t gonna happen.”

          It ain’t gonna happen because (a) and (b).

    2. One thing many critical race theorists . . . *love* to do is to to cite cases involving slavery

      Of course, citations of inflammatory red meat cases by CRTers have nothing to do with “slavery-based jurisprudence” — that’s a series of still-precedential cases on issues having nothing to do with slavery that happened to be decided in situations involving slavery. They’re discussed around here fairly often and shouldn’t be hard to dig up.

      (And people like that likely wouldn’t even be using Bluebook citation anyway, but that’s a separate issue.)

      1. You don’t think many critical race theorists don’t mine that field?

    3. In his rush from the fervor of the quasi-religion of anti-anti-racism Leiter deconstructs himself, as this is quite essentially exactly what the comment his knee jerk reaction does.

      ” I *urge* the author to *make an effort* to *engage* with some women scholars, such as **[female professor X]**, who I believe **wrote on [the topic of the essay]** fairly **recently**.”

      Yes, but note what the comment doesn’t say: that this fairly recent writing was good or interesting or added any scholarly value. It just said that it was written by a woman.

  5. “But equity-qua–demographic-diversity per se is not a scholarly value. It has a stronger claim to be a value in pedagogy….”

    This is also questionable, not only because of things like this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TATSAHJKRd8

    But also because if a field has been closed off to many groups by law and policy then that often creates stereotypes and social pressures that linger and discourage people from going into these fields. One thing that can counter this is seeing role models being mentioned in these fields (where appropriate). Then you open the pool of minds in that field which will likely lead to improvements in the field itself.

    1. But that doesn’t show that diversity is a value “per se”. If you can show that failure to consult the right color sources has caused a problem in a particular article, you would be correct to point it out.

      1. My other comment was about particular articles, this one was about the value of broadening fields of scholarship.

      2. ” If you can show that failure to consult the right color sources has caused a problem in a particular article, you would be correct to point it out.”

        Failure to consult sources is generally poor scholarship.

        1. That depends on what is overlooked. I wold not make a blanket statement

    2. I send many papers to female reviewers. Over the past 25 years, I have never once had one writ tat there were enough cotations to women, blacks, Hispanics, LGBT, etc.

      1. Now, how do you use that information?

        1. I don’t have to as it is not supplies. My only concern is if critical literature is not cited OR if I see dozens of irrelevant citations. Case 1 is poor scholarship; Case 2 is at least borderline academic misconduct

          1. It is not supplied. …

            1. So, when your work is reviewed they’re telling you it’s poorly sourced, and your takeaway is not that you need to improve your source review, it’s that there’s a problem of some kind with the reviewers.

              1. Not at all James. Referees who know the field and its fundamentals also have a reasonable idea of the literature. If they point out that important sources are not quoted the fault is almost always with the authors, at lest in the thousands of manuscripts that I have handled.

                When a person publishes in a well established field and the only references are to the folks with offices down the hall, you know that the level of scholarshp is poor.

                1. Well, it does depend on who’s down the hall…

                  At one point, the UM GEO dept was *the* US center for the Global Warming farce. There, East Anglia and one other place were where all the purported “experts” were.

                  1. “Well, it does depend on who’s down the hall…”
                    Not usually

      2. How do you even tell the Black, LGBT, etc?

        1. You could try getting to know the people doing research in your field.

          1. 1. The field is amazingly broad. Worldwide in scope. Actually meeting even 20% of the people who actually work and publish in your field would be an amazing accomplishment, between all the PIs, Grad Students, Post Docs, etc. My last publication had something like 30 references with at least 100-150 authors between all of them, across three decades. I’ve actually met maybe 10-15 of them. Several are likely deceased at this point.

            2. Why do I care if they’re black or LGBT? What I care is if they do good work. I mean…the effort needed to correlate whether this author is black, that author is gay…as opposed to actually studying the work being done….it boggles the mind. Do you characterize everyone you meet in your work environment as to whether they are LGBT or not?

            1. “Do you characterize everyone you meet in your work environment as to whether they are LGBT or not?”

              Depends on whether or not they think it’s important enough to tell me.

  6. To the OP’s point about reviewers critiquing you for not citing diverse authors, another fair response would be that you don’t know the demographic characteristics of who you are citing.

    For instance, a well cited political scientist I had read/cited for years I met at a conference once, and before that moment I had no idea that this person was a woman.

  7. Write what you will, cite whom you please, publish where you can, and stop whining about it. If some journals pass on good scholarship for reasons you think frivolous, other journals will pick up the slack. Or at least that’s how markets are supposed to work.

    1. FREE markets — and academia is anything but a free market…

      1. You still have to be good, so that’s working against you.

  8. I remember an interview about the polarization of universities driving conservatives into think tanks. You may need get conservative law review articles from Cato and liberal ones from your local law school.

    1. That may not be a bad thing because the public still believes that peer review is actually objective — and it isn’t…

      What I’m seeing in my field (education) is that the think tanks are actually more balanced in their presentations than the academic organizations and journals are. While I still read the latter, I’m increasingly reading the think tank “white papers” first.

      What well could happen over time is that the respected law journals start coming from Cato, Heritage, AEI, etc. — and law professors of all political flavors thus seeking to publish there.

      1. “What I’m seeing in my field (education) is that the think tanks are actually more balanced in their presentations than the academic organizations and journals are.”

        You’re so partisan you can’t tell the good work from the partisan quackery.

        1. I wish you wouldn’t quote stuff from commenters I have blocked. It kind of defeats the purpose.

          1. Life’s a bitch and then you die.

            1. But life could be a dream – shaboom…

      2. “What well could happen over time is that the respected law journals start coming from Cato, Heritage, AEI, etc. — and law professors of all political flavors thus seeking to publish there.”

        I’d expect to see it first from the biglaw firms. They wouldn’t be trying to make things conform to partisanship, of course, they’d be focused on applicability to their actual practice. which is why anyone who wasn’t hopelessly partisan would care what they printed.

  9. So far, this change has not come to pass. But with the hard-left turn of law reviews, I doubt there is enough resistance to block this change. The upshot of this policy will be to simply cancel certain citations.

    Thanks for the update!

    1. I’ve seen the future and it will be (do it, do it)
      I’ve seen the future and it will be (do, do)
      Batman
      Batman
      I’ve seen the future and it will be
      Batman (house, do it, house)

  10. “One of the first things I noticed is that not a single female author is being referenced or cited in this piece.”

    Just put an “a” after the Ludwig in Ludwig Wittgenstein, and you’ve got Ludwiga.

    1. Or simply assert that all the works attributed to male philosophers were actually written by their wives, female graduate students, etc. Then it’s female citations all the way down! And who would dare object? Can you prove it *didn’t* happen, given how sexist and patriarchal the world is?

  11. Why bother with law reviews? If you publish your article in the Comment section here or similar places, it will be read by 10 times as many people. Those include Supreme Court Justices. These have repeated ideas from the Comments here a couple of months later.

    1. Then provide a PDF for downloading for $4.99 on Amazon, make a few bucks. If it is useful, it will be read.

      1. One nice aspect of the Comments Section of this blog is that the article will be torn apart by the vicious attack dogs here. If the subject is not covered, like Admiralty or IP, find the equivalent interest group. The response to these nasty dogs is to Flag Comment them.

    2. The point isn’t to do anything useful, it’s to get a publication credit to advance one’s career in a field that cares more about what you’ve published than about anything useful that one has done.

      When I was working as a vocational-school instructor, my work was judged based on how effectively my students learned the skills they needed to work as IT professionals, and academic writing was not weighed at all. Because of that, I didn’t seek to publish just for the sake of having something published. Before I started working as an IT instructor, I did design, writing, editing, and proofreading for publication, and one thing I produced had an initial print run of 250,000 copies. It was a videogame manual, for a football game. I didn’t get a name credit, but I did get to put Oregon State University as the preseason #1 college football team in the manual. Nintendo overruled me and made University of Washington the preseason #1 instead, on the grounds that OSU hadn’t had a winning season in 30 years, and UW had won a split national title the year before. (The fact that UW is in Seattle while NOA is in Redmond, a Seattle suburb, might have factored in.)

      1. “it’s to get a publication credit to advance one’s career in a field that cares more about what you’ve published than about anything useful that one has done.”
        Wow, that is a grossly cynical overstatement. Maybe it applies to your colleagues. I certainly does not apply to mine

        1. Do your colleagues publish in law reviews? If not, then leave them out of a discussion of people who publish in law reviews.

  12. There’s no injustice like completely hypothetical injustice.

    1. You could be right.

  13. Leftists are racist, close-minded and intolerant?

    Whoulda thunk it!

    1. At least the ones in Blackman’s imagination are.

      1. And so are the real ones!

      2. It’s not just his imagination. There’s a whole shared imaginary universe that gets sketched out in the right-wing fever swamps and then distributed by various conduits out to the real world. From there, of course, if enough right-wingers repeat it, it magically becomes indistinguishable from truth.

        1. The white victimhood cinematic universe.

          (BTW, I agree with DMN that if we do get a diverse citation mandate that’d be dumb as hell. But so far all I see is speculation).

          1. Pssst …. Sarc …. your racism is showing

            1. We’ve talked enough I’m quite sure you don’t know what racism is, so your namecalling is not much I care about.

              1. Ahh, let me know when you wish to stop being a racist and a sexist … no way to get ahead in life hating dude

        2. So I am just imagining all the hatred directed at white people that seems to be driven by the “woke” community….

          1. Yep.

  14. I’d care but its a philosophy journal so I don’t.

    1. Does not one care about the poor helpless philosophy graduate students? It’s not like they can take their undergraduate degrees out into the real world.

      1. I recommend Dave Nachmanoff, who got a PhD in philosophy and turned it into a career in music.

        Me, I took a class in Theory of Knowledge which was probably very helpful even if I couldn’t explain Bertrand Russell to you any more.

  15. I wonder how the peer reviewer whom Leiter cites knew that the scholars identified as males rather than as females.

    1. Perhaps by being familiar with the sources?

      1. I wonder how scholarly writers can determine whether other scholars whom they are considering citing in their articles, but whom they do not know personally, do or do not identify as females.

        1. My impression from 25 years as an editor-in-chief, is that most authors do not care about the accidentals of authors whom they cite, unless it is a buddy or an enemy.

          1. If they do care, it’s easy enough to check on the Internet.

            1. They don’t care. They care what the people write, not what they look like or who their sex-partners are

          2. At a level below the formality of a publishable paper, I look for the first name of the person I am quoting and pick “he” or “she” based on that. More formally, I prefer the Author (year) style of mention to pronouns. I’m writing a submission for a regulatory docket now. I know the lead author of some of the papers I cite is female (based on name and having seen her speak). I have no intention of writing “she.”

  16. A professor that writes “the first thing I noticed was the lack of (buzz word diversity metric here)” ought to be summarily fired. If what we need in higher education are drones programmed to find offense according to woke doctrine they can be bought far cheaper than a full bird professor salary…

    1. A twit whose first comment is about who should be summarily fired should be ignored as inconsequential.

  17. Diversity is an important value.

    Please stop saying that. Diversity is not “an important value”. It’s a buzzword used to provide a thin cover over racist attempts to control the dialog.

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