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Conservative and libertarian law professors demand more politically balanced faculties

Law schools are notoriously one-sided when it comes to the political leanings of their faculty, and conservative and libertarian academics are tired of seeking change behind the scenes.

More than two dozen law professors, many familiar to College Fix readers, sent an open letter to the executive committee of the Association of American Law Schools.

It lays bare their grievances against AALS’s failure to take “concrete preliminary steps” to promote viewpoint diversity among law faculties, in the words of the professor who shared it, libertarian luminary Randy Barnett of Georgetown.

Drafted by Case Western Reserve Law Prof. George Dent, who has led a yearslong effort in the association to promote diversity beyond skin color and sex, the letter says conservatives and libertarians are “grossly underrepresented” on law faculties:

For several years now a number of legal scholars have asked the AALS to support the commitment to viewpoint diversity stated in its by-laws.

While the new executive director “seems also to take us seriously,” and this year’s AALS annual meeting seemed to have “better balanced” panels, the association refuses to go further, the letter says.

At last year’s annual meeting, several professors met with the executive committee to ask for creation of a “Political Diversity Task Force”; for viewpoint diversity to be made “a regular element of the sabbatical reviews for member schools”; and for access to the association’s Faculty Appointments Register, to help them track viewpoint diversity in hiring.

It’s been a year since AALS said it would create subcommittees to examine these requests, and nothing has happened, says the letter:

We fear that the Executive Committee does not take our concerns seriously and intends to take no action to address them. … Both scholarship and teaching suffer when law schools are echo chambers in which only one side of current debates is given a voice.

The signatories include Case Western Reserve’s Jonathan Adler, University of San Diego’s Gail Heriot (a potential Trump administration pick), George Mason’s Ilya Somin and UCLA’s Eugene Volokh.

Read the letter.

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