I'm from Missouri

This site is named for the famous statement of US Congressman Willard Duncan Vandiver from Missouri : "I`m from Missouri -- you'll have to show me." This site is dedicated to skepticism of official dogma in all subjects. Just-so stories are not accepted here. This is a site where controversial subjects such as evolution theory and the Holocaust may be freely debated.

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Monday, April 16, 2007

Hahvahd Law School snobbery

Ivy League law schools -- particularly the Harvard Law School -- are grossly overrepresented in the Supreme Court and in court opinions' citations of law journal articles.

Appendix A of a report from the staff of the Cardozo Law Review shows the dominance of the Harvard Law Review in frequency of citations in court opinions -- the main law reviews of two other Ivy League schools, Columbia and Yale, are also shown as dominant in comparison to the NYU and the California-Berkeley law reviews (the unidentified diamond symbols are for the Berkeley law reviews). The law reviews selected for this comparison were supposed to be among the law reviews with the highest frequencies of court citations. In the 1970-79 decade, for example, the numbers of court citations for each of the law reviews in Appendix A were as follows: Harvard Law Review, 4410; Yale Law Review, 1800; Columbia Law Review, 1062 (increased to 1497 in 1980-89); NYU Law Review, 506; and Cal.-Berkeley Law Review, 497. These are just the figures for the main law journals of these law schools -- each of these law schools also has specialized law journals, e.g., the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review (this blog reviewed an article in that journal). This list has thirteen different Harvard law journals, including the one and only Harvard Law Review. The court citation counts for the specialized journals are shown in Appendix B of the Cardova study.

Also, on the current Supreme Court, five of the justices are Harvard law school grads, two are Yale law school grads, and one attended Harvard law school and graduated from Columbia law school; only one is a graduate of a non-Ivy League law school, Northwestern. Most of their undergraduate degrees are from Ivy League schools and Stanford. The previous CJ, William Rehnquist, got his undergrad degree from Stanford, a masters degree from Harvard, and a law degree from Stanford. Recently retired Justice Sandra O'Connor got both her undergrad degree and her law degree from Stanford.

This kind of concentration of influence of particular schools is unheard of in other disciplines, e.g., science, medicine, engineering, and liberal arts. IMO this concentration of influence promotes elitism, good-ol'-boyism, sectionalism, and intellectual inbreeding. I am amazed that the charge of a lack of balance in law school representation has not been made whenever an Ivy League law school grad -- particularly a Harvard law school grad -- or a Stanford law school grad is nominated for the Supreme Court. Maybe what the Supreme Court needs is an affirmative action program for candidates who are not graduates of the Ivy League or Stanford law schools.

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