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May 2, 2018

MARK PULLIAM: Who Runs The Legal Academy?

It’s worse than you thought; the lunatics license the asylums in addition to running them.

The most disturbing detail that emerged from the coverage of Professor Josh Blackman’s widely-publicized shout-down by leftist protesters at CUNY Law School was that CUNY law dean Mary Lu Bilek—who defended the disruptive mob as “reasonable” and engaging in “protected free speech”—serves on an ABA “site visit team.” Indeed, her official CUNY bio states that Bilek “served on the ABA Special Committee on the Professional Education Continuum, and chaired the Section on Legal Education Diversity Committee.” An academic who can’t tell the difference between a reasoned debate and the “hecklers’ veto” is a honcho with the organization responsible for accrediting law schools? That struck me as odd, so I dug deeper.

Bilek, it turns out, has a long progressive resume, albeit entirely consistent with the left-wing agenda of the ABA. One reason that law schools are becoming monolithic social justice academies and ideological echo chambers is that the ABA—in its capacity as regulator—is pushing them to do so. When I looked at my alma mater (the University of Texas law school) recently, I was staggered by the extent of the internal bureaucracy dedicated to “diversity and inclusion,” including a full-time administrator devoted to “student affairs, inclusion and community engagement” and a dean-appointed “committee on diversity and inclusion.” (This is in addition to race-based preferences in admissions that UT has fought hard to continue.)

I was initially curious about why a publicly-funded law school that continually complains about inadequate legislative funding would expend its scarce resources on a subject seemingly unrelated to the school’s core mission: teaching students to be competent lawyers. Then I discovered that the ABA has made “diversity and inclusion” one of its accreditation standards.

Read the whole thing.