Completely shocked that his attack on the American law school has something in common with the Cato Institute and the Koch Brothers after taking an all expenses paid trip to be feted at their Hayek Auditorium and present his views on, well, yes, the American law school, Professor Campos is shouting to the high heavens anywhere he can that this conclusion should be dismissed as “conspiracy” theory.
The Cato event was chaired by nationally known law school critic Walter Olson hired at Cato in 2010 to lead their effort at legal reforms, including the targeting of law schools. The announcement of the 2013 event, which was constructed around the Failing Law Schools book by Brian Tamanaha (also at the event), claimed that “creative efforts to reduce the cost of law school were stymied by an accreditation process that closely constrains the format of legal education.” It touted the Tamanaha book as “a devastating critique of what went wrong with the American law school and what can be done to fix it.” It concluded that “none of the key contributors to the problem — faculty self-interest, university administrators’ myopia, cartel-like accreditation—escape unscathed in his analysis.”
It was a love fest all around as the video here makes clear.
That such a rhetorical flourish follows so soon on the heels of Campos’ accusation that his opponents are akin to “holocaust deniers” suggests that Campos and his merry band of followers have reached new heights of anxiety as the economic news continues to improve and employment outcomes for lawyers and law students continue to improve. I am beginning to wonder if Campos has been channeling the late Joe McCarthy who grew ever more aggressive in his accusations as the country began to realize his true nature.
Unfortunately, Campos is not content to be accurate in his representation of at least this opponent’s views. He cut and pasted a comment of mine about the Cato Institute and then added material to it in brackets that suggested a viewpoint that I do not hold. He did this at the blog for law school deans. I sent them the following comments:
For the record, Professor Campos is just inventing the idea that I suggested there is a conspiracy. But there is a shared agenda at work.
The comment Professor Campos refers to included a link to a long blog post that I wrote at the outset of my entry into the Great Law School Debate. It explores in depth my concern about the impact of the critics’ attack on the law school and the rule of law.
You can read it here.
The essence of the concern is that Professors Tamanaha and Campos have helped feed the agenda of the Cato/Koch crowd aimed at “de-regulating” law school including gutting tenure and other protections of academic freedom. My more specific critique of Tamanaha’s views can be found here.
Of course those are the protections that enable Professor Campos to engage in the kinds of whacky extramural speech that he uses to cover up the very weak case he makes about the alleged role law schools played in triggering the greatest economic downturn since the 1930s. Ironically when Professor Campos’ colleague Ward Churchill engaged in similarly absurd extramural speech in the wake of 9/11 and lost his job as a tenured professor at Colorado, Professor Campos went on Fox News to throw him under the bus (see here).
In addition to inventing the word conspiracy, which I never used, Professor Campos places the names of Professors Merritt and Tamanaha into brackets at the start of the second paragraph of the comment he clipped from Prawfsblawg (the original full and accurate comment can be found here.)
But that changes what I actually wrote and is therefore inaccurate, at least with respect to Professor Merritt. I said that the critics were either collaborating in the Cato agenda (such as supporting the weakening of tenure) or were naïve about how that agenda works. I do not know Professor Merritt’s views on this issue and it is inappropriate for Professor Campos to have suggested otherwise.