Saturday, May 04, 2013
Confused: Law Professors, and "Class" -- Is This Serious?
I have just finish reading a post and numerous comments over on Prawsblawg. My goodness. It seems to start with a casual mention of a book or article or both by Brian Tamanaha on the impact of tuition increases on less affluent students. He takes to task so-called liberal law professors for their inattention to matters of class. Evidently, he give special attention SALT and CLS for what I think could be called hypocrisy.
After the initial post the comments devolve into a discussion of whether he has fairly characterized CLS as ever professing to care about class and who mentioned or thought up some kind of national debt relief for overburdened law school grads. Frankly, I could not follow it all and it seemed to include a fair amount of typical law professor prissy debate that leaves plausible deniability with respect to who was "uncollegial" first.
(The movie "Mean Girls" comes to mind here.)
I have just a couple of comments. Any notion that CLS really had anything to do with class is pure hokum. CLS was a showcase for the ultimate in limousine pseudo lefties. Typically privileged people who found a niche that made them seem oh-so-interesting at least to each other.
Second, isn't it interesting this so called concern about class and the affordability of law school for the less affluent comes along at a time of declining admissions and the threat that law professor jobs may be in jeopardy. (If we are so determined to subsidized the less affluent, why not start by not subsidizing those who could afford to pay the tab?)
But there something more fundamental than any of this. This discussion purports to have something to do with class and often the word "poor" comes up. For the most part, law professors would not know what poor means if it bit them in the ass. The idea that the focus of law professors worried about the "poor" would be the impact of tuition on people who have high LSAT scores and GPAs it mind-boggling. This is not to say so-called liberal law professors do not have an intense focus on something. It just happens to themselves --e.g. do I have the best printer, will you pay for my trip to Rio, my offices needs new carpet, I need a new office, 26 students is too many for me to teach,.
The discussion has almost nothing to do with the "poor," disadvantaged, or even social class. Those people have always been around, pushed to the side and ignored my law professors. Instead it is about how to keep the law school industry moving forward. A subsidy for a down-trodden law school applicant is a subsidy to a law professor. I'd much rather see things like debt-forgiveness or other forms of subsidies be linked to buying a car that runs, getting decent dental and medical care, having a rat free home to live in, being able to buy a decent pair or shoes, having regular meals on the table, never having to worry about the electricity being turned off, or in home care for an elderly grandmother.
The poor should be so lucky as to worry about law school tuition.