Thursday, August 26, 2021

National Review: The American Bar Association Attacks Academic Freedom

The American Bar Association Attacks Academic Freedom.

"The Standards Committee of the American Bar Association has recommended, as a condition of accreditation for American law schools, “requiring law schools to provide education on bias, crosscultural competency, and racism.” It suggests employing “guest lectures or trainings by experts in the areas of bias, cross-cultural competency, and racism,” a proposal that envisions money flowing into the pockets of Robin DiAngelo, Ibram X. Kendi, and their ilk. The ABA also proposes “setting and publishing goals related to diversity and inclusion” in faculty hiring and student admissions. These proposals are unsubtle code for the kinds of racialist, Marxist-influenced ideology and racial quotas that undermine the promise of equal justice under law.

Given that it is all but impossible to practice law in the United States without graduating from an ABA-accredited school, the adoption of these proposals would amount to government-backed mandates, especially as applied to the nation’s many state-run law schools. Some of them are likely illegal, as they involve the promotion of race-conscious hiring and admissions and the invasion of the academic freedom of graduate-level university professional schools. The ABA blew by a number of critical comments by prominent scholars of varying political stripes warning of this.

Even aside from the legal challenges, what the ABA’s move reflects is that the Left is still on the offensive in culture-war fights to control educational curricula, with, in this case, the longer-term objective being the corruption of the legal system itself. Except perhaps in the scale of the ambition that this particular project reveals, this ought not really to be news, unless you have listened only to left-wing critics of efforts by Republicans and conservatives to fight back against critical race theory and other leftist efforts at political indoctrination of students. Here, too, every legal means should be on the table to resist these proposals. The goal of that resistance should not be to dictate an orthodoxy, but to prevent the enforcement of one.

Finally, it is long past due for the ABA to lose its privileged position in legal education, much as Republican presidents have lately worked to eliminate its privileged position in the judicial-nomination process. There can no longer be an illusion that the ABA is some sort of politically neutral arbiter of professional standards. It is an openly ideological organization, and should be given no powers that would be denied to any other openly ideological group."

(Scott Fruehwald)

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