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Law Reviews Appear to be Discriminating Against Conservative Students

Law Reviews Appear to be Discriminating Against Conservative Students

“Law reviews play a key role in the status-driven world of legal academia”

This is not difficult to believe. The left controls higher ed, including law schools.

The College Fix reports:

Conservative students appear blackballed from top law reviews

A dearth of conservative students among law review mastheads at three of the country’s top law schools has prompted accusations that center-right students and members of the Federalist Society are discriminated against when it comes to access to the prestigious publications.

The problem matters because law reviews “are the ultra-status symbol of law pedigree in law school,” said University of Chicago law school student Benjamin Ogilvie, who did research to determine the apparent bias against conservative law students at the top-ranked Columbia, Northwestern and Stanford law schools.

By counting the number of conservative law students on mastheads, or lack thereof, Ogilvie alleges the three law schools foist “underhanded discrimination” on right-leaning law students.

Ogilvie, who also contributes to The College Fixpublished his allegations in UChicago’s independent student publication, the Chicago Thinker, in mid-July.

“Law reviews play a key role in the status-driven world of legal academia,” he reported. “Students on law reviews select and edit legal scholarship, determining which law professors get tenure and which legal and policy ideas enter circulation.”

Although academic law reviews are often technically managed by campus officials, the standard practice tasks student editors with masthead selection, meaning right-wing students are not running afoul of administrators but their progressive fellow students.

At Columbia, Ogilvie cites some right-leaning students who said that Columbia Law Review’s discrimination against conservatives “is widely known at the school,” an alleged practice that particularly targets law students connected to the conservative Federalist Society.

Of the nine students on the Columbia FedSoc Chapter’s executive board, none are on the Columbia’s Law Review masthead despite having federal clerkships.

Northwestern University reportedly has practiced similar discrimination—of Northwestern’s 17 FedSoc executive board members, only five are listed on the Northwestern Law Review’s masthead, and none in senior positions, Ogilvie found.


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Steven Brizel | August 14, 2023 at 9:40 am

This is how the left freezes dissenting views out of the marketplace of ideas

“See? Everyone agrees with our position. You must be a radical.”

Why is this a surprise? Law schools are cesspools of liberalism

Many L.I. readers surely are descended from grandparents and great-grandparents who picked up and fled from societies where these sorts of practices — and more — had become de rigueur.

Lately I’ve been wondering … maybe the smart thing to do is to just accept reality and make plans to relocate to a place that more likely to welcome one’s positive attributes.

To where? I don’t know

But im pretty certain that a lot of our grandparents and great-grandparents did not enjoy having to drop everything in order to flee their ancestral homes in a rush.

And if you had the skills to get in to Columbia or Northwestern or Stanford — and to graduate — then I would think there are a lot of countries that would welcome you.

Louis K. Bonham | August 15, 2023 at 3:54 pm

It used to be that law review membership at flagship journals of elite law schools was purely meritocratic: usually the top 3-5% of a freshman class got automatic invitations (“grade-on”), and a few (4-8) slots filled by the victors of a blind-graded writing competition (“write-on”; 48 hours to write a 2500 word essay from a designated packet of materials).

Editorship was even more so: the outgoing board (or at some schools, the entire membership) would select/elect the incoming editors.

Now, it’s all “holistic” membership process, with some journals explicitly reserving membership percentages (and even editorial slots) for “diversity” candidates. And if there is any sort of writing competition, it is usually ideologically loaded to weed out those with the “wrong” opinions.

As a result, membership on an “elite” law review — which used to be a solid gold credential that was essential if you wanted a federal judicial clerkship and/or to get into the academic pipeline — has now been devalued. Judges have gotten hip to this, and are using other metrics to identify potential clerks to interview (including, to the angst of the left, Federalist Society activities).

But more fundamentally, the whole concept of elite law reviews — student led and edited, rather than the usual peer-reviewed journals staffed by professionals — is going south. When the journals were staffed and led by the undisputed “best of the best” and were rigorously nonpartisan, there was at least some justification for them. But when they have become (see, e.g., the Emory LJ and their kerfluffle a couple of years ago) nothing more than partisan political organs rather than centers of serious legal scholarship, you are going to see more and more legal academic publication being in specialty journals set up by law professors, or by bypassing the journals entirely and publishing books.