The deep meaning of diversity: A case study

Today’s New York Times Week in Review previews the study of the political tilt of law professors by Norhtwestern University Law School Professor John McGinnis: If the law is a ass, the law professor is a donkey.” Adam Liptak writes:

The study, to be published this fall in The Georgetown Law Journal, analyzes 11 years of records reflecting federal campaign contributions by professors at the top 21 law schools as ranked by U.S. News & World Report. Almost a third of these law professors contribute to campaigns, but of them, the study finds, 81 percent who contributed $200 or more gave wholly or mostly to Democrats; 15 percent gave wholly or mostly to Republicans.
The percentages of professors contributing to Democrats were even more lopsided at some of the most prestigious schools: 91 percent at Harvard, 92 at Yale, 94 at Stanford. At the University of Virginia, on the other hand, contributions were about evenly divided between the parties. The sample sizes at some schools may be too small to allow for comparisons, though it bears noting that by this measure the University of Chicago is slightly more liberal than Berkeley.

Liptak himself goes out of his way to mitigate the natural reaction of thoughtful readers to the results of McGinnis’s study, but he does allow Professor McGinnis to make a point that gives away the game here:

[T]he study does note an arguable inconsistency in the way law schools approach student admissions and faculty hiring.
When the United States Supreme Court endorsed race-conscious admissions policies in 2003, it based its decision on the importance of ensuring the representation of diverse viewpoints in the classroom.
Law schools that take race into account in admissions decisions, the study says, “open themselves to charges of intellectual inconsistency” if they do not also address the ideological imbalances on their faculties.

And which law schools might those be that take race into account in admissions in the name of “diversity” but feature faculties almost entirely lacking in “diversity”? The question might more appropriately be, which don’t? (Thanks to reader Trevor Hall.)


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