January 11, 2006

FREE AGENTS (via Tom Corcoran):

Clinical, Cynical: You'll never believe what left-wing law profs consider "mainstream." (HEATHER MAC DONALD, 1/11/06, Opinion Journal)

Democratic senators have repeatedly questioned whether Samuel Alito is in the legal "mainstream" during the opening days of his Supreme Court confirmation hearings. To see what the "mainstream" means for the legal elites in the Democratic party, look no further than the law school "clinic." These campus law firms, faculty-supervised and student-staffed, have been engaging in left-wing litigation and advocacy for 30 years. Though law schools claim that the clinics teach students the basics of law practice while providing crucial representation to poor people, in fact they routinely neither inculcate lawyering skills nor serve the poor. They do, however, offer the legal professoriate a way to engage in political activism--almost never of a conservative cast. A survey of the clinical universe makes clear how politically one-sided law schools--and the legal ideology they inculcate--are.

In the last few years, law school clinics have put the Berkeley, Calif., school system under judicial supervision for disciplining black and Hispanic students disproportionately to their population (yes, that's Berkeley, the most racially sensitive spot on earth); sued the New York City Police Department for its conduct during the 2004 Republican National Convention; fought "gentrification" (read: economic revitalization) in urban "neighborhoods of color"; sued the Bush administration for virtually every aspect of its conduct of the war on terror; and lobbied for more restrictive "tobacco control" laws. Over their history, clinics can claim credit for making New Jersey pay for abortions for the poor; blocking job-providing industrial facilities; setting up needle exchanges for drug addicts in residential neighborhoods; and preventing New Jersey libraries from ejecting foul-smelling vagrants who are disturbing library users.

Law school clinics weren't always incubators of left-wing advocacy. But once the Ford Foundation started disbursing $12 million in 1968 to persuade law schools to make clinics part of their curriculum, the enterprise turned into a political battering ram. Clinics came to embody a radical new conception that emerged in the 1960s--the lawyer as social-change agent.

For anyone who's ever read the Constitution, it's pretty amazing to listen to Herb Kohl and Dick Durbin drone on about how instead of applying the law impartially Judge Alito should seek to rule in favor of anyone who has an appealing enough sob story. You don't often get to see Democrats so openly express their disadain for our political system and disregard for the rule of law.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 11, 2006 12:46 PM
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