Saturday, April 2, 2016

I wish this were an April Fools' prank, but it's not (from an intentionally anonymous submitter).

There are other law schools named after other former Supreme Court Justices at other state schools, and donors of various (or no) political stripes regularly have a say in what various things are named, so I think the process by which we arrived at this juncture is probably legit.

 And I'm willing to take Ruth Bader Ginsburg's word that Scalia actually was a fine legal scholar, even if he was also one with whose conclusions she -- and I -- usually disagreed.

There's such a thing as genuine intellectual disagreement, over both the first principles underlying the discussion, and the proper ends thereof.  I'm also aware that the school's original namesake did not extend the rights he championed to all in his own personal orbit (George Mason owned slaves).

But as a member of the GMU faculty (though fortunately not of the law school), I was still dismayed to find word of this in my inbox, and even more dismayed to find that, thanks to leap year, yesterday was March 31st rather than April 1st.  At the very least, I think it will limit the applicant pool, and thus the intellectual diversity of the place. 

- Name deliberately omitted

8 comments:

  1. Naming the law school after Scalia might attract more conservative students but that would limit intellectual diversity only if it's already a conservative campus. Is it?

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  2. I suppose it would be worse having a building named after Bill Cosby.

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  3. The linked article refers to "a donor who asked that the university name the law school in honor of the late justice, and offered a $20 million donation."
    Hey, we all got bills to pay.

    --Dr. Frances Bow, Skilling Professor of Ethics and Arbitrage, Madoff College of Commerce

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    Replies
    1. Always nice to have friends with money.

      Or so I hear.

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    2. Those with money do plenty of "having" it, friends or no.

      Should money be tight and you find yourself with empty larder, you could have an old friend for dinner.

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  4. Commiserations. That would, indeed, be an unpleasant shock, but it doesn't seem like there's much recourse (especially when, as others have pointed out, there is a lot of money involved). Of course if the Kochs start trying to dictate curriculum that's another matter, but it doesn't sound like things have reached that point (yet?).

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  5. Prof SnugglebunnyApril 6, 2016 at 1:50 AM

    As a late follow-up on this, the New York Times noted yesterday that a flurry of social media activity led many people to realize that the Antonin Scalia School of Law would "make. . . for a rather unflattering acronym." Thus the dean of the law school quickly clarified, "The Antonin Scalia Law School is a logical substitute."

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