October 24, 2011
Short Takes On The News: Law Schools and The Supreme Court
Robert V. Ward Jr., Dean of the University Of Massachusetts Dartmouth School Of Law, resigned at the end of last week citing health reasons. There are some questions hovering over the resignation due to an audit of University credit card accounts that showed a bill of $2,235 for personal travel expenses. Ward reimbursed that amount to the University after it had been discovered. Ward said in his statement that the credit card flap had nothing to do with his resignation. His statement, the statement of the University accepting his resignation, and commentary are in the Boston Herald.
Justice Scalia spoke at the Chicago-Kent College of Law last week. He expressed his fondness for deep dish pizza, though he said it should be called tomato pie rather than pizza. He also predicted that the Kelo decision will be overturned. That case upheld a local government’s taking of private property for redevelopment to further economic development. The case was controversial as the Kelo property that was the center of the suit was not blighted or in any way distressed. The irony is that the project that caused the taking could not get financing, causing the city of New London, Connecticut, to turn the area into a dump. Yeah, that’s bringing in the dollars. Justice Scalia lumped the Kelo case in the same category with the Dred Scott case and Roe v. Wade. He calls them mistakes of political judgment on the part of the Court. More is in the Chicago Sun-Times.
The Thomas M. Cooley Law School filed a motion in federal court to dismiss the claims that it posted misleading jobs data. I wrote last week in the post The ABA Reacts that the ABA was not part of any suits and suggested that the organization might become a target. Well, the motion raises exactly that point, saying the school was complying with ABA and NALP standards on statistics. Blame them:
One thing is clear in Plaintiffs’ Complaint: Although Cooley appears in the caption, Plaintiffs really take aim at the ABA and NALP. Indeed, Plaintiffs have an entire section of the Complaint titled, “Role of the ABA,” and several paragraphs of the Complaint are aimed primarily or entirely at the ABA and NALP—not Cooley. (See Compl. ¶¶ 67-71.) Plaintiffs acknowledge that their underlying claims are not Cooley-specific—Plaintiffs note that “nearly every school” calculates and reports its employment and salary data the same way Cooley does (the way the ABA and NALP direct all ABA-accredited law schools to report the data). (Compl. ¶ 10.) And Plaintiffs allege in the first paragraph of their Complaint that “[t]his action seeks to remedy a systemic” issue relating to reporting that is “ubiquitous in the legal education industry.” (Compl. ¶ 1; emphasis added.) Plaintiffs, in other words, take aim at the rules themselves, not Cooley’s compliance with them.
That ought to endear the school with its regulators. The ABA Journal has the story, with links to the motion.
And while we are on the subject of the Supreme Court, today marks Justice Thomas’ 20th anniversary of his first day on the Court. It would be remiss of me not to include a reference to the confirmation hearings that brought us the Anita Hill testimony. ABC News dwells on it in some details in marking the anniversary. So does the Daily Show in this 2007 clip, titled “Here Comes The Grudge.” Warning, the comedy is a bit gross in reviewing Ms. Hill’s allegations from back in 1991, but it wouldn’t be the Daily Show otherwise. Perhaps this clip from Stephen Colbert might be a bit more palatable to Justice Thomas’ fans. Maybe not. Happy anniversary Mr. Justice Thomas. [MG]