Law Schools: Losers

In his column yesterday on the trouncing law professors and law schools just received in the Supreme Court George Will wrote:

Recruiters are obviously not components of law schools; they are outsiders on brief visits for a limited purpose. “Nothing about recruiting,” Roberts wrote, “suggests that law schools agree with any speech by recruiters.” Besides, “We have held that high school students can appreciate the difference between speech a school sponsors and speech the school permits because legally required to do so, pursuant to an equal access policy.” Then, Roberts’s tartness: “Surely students have not lost that ability by the time they get to law school.”

The law schools and faculties earned that sip of the chief justice’s vinegar by bringing this case to court. The professors deserved — no, let us just say they needed — better legal advice than they were able to give themselves.

That last sentence rang a bell, but faintly. Where, I wondered, had I read that point before? And then it came to me: I hadn’t read it; I wrote it! Here, about three and a half years ago.

I’m sorely tempted to quote the whole thing here, but I’ll (reluctantly) trust you to go back on your own and look at it. Still, it is worth repeating here how much of the legal development of our civil rights laws has come through cases that law schools lost in the Supreme Court. A partial list:

Missouri ex rel. Gaines v. Canada, 305 U.S. 337 (1938)

Sipuel v. Board of Regents, 332 U.S. 631 (1948).

Sweatt v. Painter, 339 U.S. 629 (1950).

McLaurin v. Oklahoma State Regents, 339 U.S. 637 (1950).

Too bad I can’t add Grutter to that list.

My earlier post has a nice quote from Erin O’Connor, who says that the quality of argument made by students at a leading law school defendng speech codes “raises serious questions about the quality of legal education in this country.” The sharp and unanimous spanking the Supremes just administered to the 36 law schools and scores of law professors who filed or signed briefs opposing the Solomon Amendment reinforces those questions, if it does not in fact answer them. That spanking also suggests, somewhat ominously, that what are probably the dominant views in legal academia — and in virtually all elite law schools — are nowhere near the often vaunted “mainstream.”

UPDATE [12 March]

Howard Bashman defends the professional competence of the law school losers. Right Side of the Rainbow criticizes Bashman.

Say What? (2)

  1. Stephen March 8, 2006 at 5:18 am | | Reply

    Unfortunately, you don’t even have to look to an “elite” law school to realize that their views are NOT mainstream.

    The law school I attend, allows the Military on our campus, with a disclosure that they “do not agree with the so and so discriminatory practices.. blah blah blah”. Whatever. I love our military. They should have an office at our school. Seriously. (Ok, maybe not seriously, but you know what I mean).

    It’s amazing to me how many of these law school prof’s are so incredibly full of themselves.

    Anyways, great blog… Keep up the good work.

  2. Darren March 8, 2006 at 10:53 pm | | Reply

    I said the following on my own blog:

    So the law schools who brought this case have now lost 8-0. Think about that for a moment. Some of our most prestigious law schools, from some of our most prestigious (Ivy League) universities, had arguments that were so weak that they could not sway a single Supreme Court justice to side with them. I’m just wondering here, prestigious or not, how good are these schools? How much money are their students paying for tuition to attend a school that can’t get one Supreme Court justice to agree with an argument?

Say What?