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Northwestern legal scholar writes law schools overtaken by leftist ideology

Leftist professors and ideas, including identity politics, cancel culture and suppression of debate, now dominate law schools and exclude conservatives.

Progressive ideas distort law schools and the legal system, which should clarify the rule of law and apply it neutrally, John McGinnis, a constitutional law professor at Northwestern University, wrote in City Journal.

“When English departments, say, are consumed by the politics of identity, they marginalize mostly themselves,” McGinnis wrote. “By contrast, law schools remain important to society, whatever their quality, because lawyers remain essential to a modern market democracy.”

Even more, “at their best, law schools facilitate responsible advocacy and inculcate a respect in future lawyers that law isn’t simply politics by another name.”

However, law schools have been hijacked by ideology and abandoned this purpose, McGinnis wrote. He continued:

Since the new ideology of race and gender claims to affect almost everything, almost everything that law schools do is now distorted; the freedom of speech and inquiry that makes the adversary system work for society’s benefit is threatened. A focus on identity rather than argument leads directly to cancel culture—even at law schools, where debate should be central, because ideas that some believe threaten identity are rendered off-limits.

And the circle of cancellation is ever widening: Stanford students shouted down Judge Kyle Duncan [pictured] and prevented him from speaking at a recent Federalist Society event, not even because of what he was to talk about there but because of his past writings on other subjects.

The “relentless emphasis on race and gender” focuses law school hiring on increasing representation of women and minorities, which pushes the schools even further to the left because women and minorities are more likely to be progressive, McGinnis wrote.

Additionally, the Socratic method that once dominated legal education, “where professors questioned students and brought forth many views on the correctness of a case,” is employed less often by professors out of fear of controversy and alienating women, according to McGinnis.

“Even liberal professors have told colleagues that they shun certain subjects altogether in their courses, fearing the hostile reaction of some students and their potential complaints to the university administration,” he wrote.

In this climate, conservatives are alienated. “Ideological orthodoxy has also undermined the rule of law by alienating right-leaning law students,” McGinnis wrote.

Read the full article.

MORE: Stanford Law DEI dean, rowdy student protesters berate federal Judge Kyle Duncan

IMAGE: Stanford Law School

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