Saturday, September 21, 2013

Task Force Forever, Forever Task Force

Our beloved heroes at the ABA's secret hideout ("IQs between the 94th and 98th percentile ONLY") have issued another eye-popping report, which I can't even link to because my blog simply cannot handle it, which is exactly what my pants say every time the Georgetown Law Review shows up in the mailbox.

Speaking of which, here's a fun passage from the paper (eloquently called a "field manual" at certain points, as you can apparently use it to identify moose feces in the forest):
Proponents of a substantial role for scholarship often argue that faculty scholarship promotes the public good, directly and indirectly, by developing more intellectually competent lawyers and by improving law as a system of legal ordering. (They also argue that the work of scholarship makes faculty members better teachers and so confers a private benefit on students by equipping them to earn a living.) 
On the other hand, critics claiming that law schools devote excessive resources to faculty scholarship generally invoke considerations of private good. They argue that faculty scholarship increases costs, and thus the price, of legal education, with adverse economic consequences such as limiting access to legal education and increasing the loan repayment obligations of law school graduates.
What they've done in this passage is simply brilliant.  Legal scholarship - which is little more than house organs playing each other's shitty songs over a ham radio that a few thousand people in the entire country care about - promotes the public good.  How so?  It makes lawyers "intellectually competent" and "improve[s] law as a system of legal ordering."  (Does anyone actually argue these things?!)

If you have any idea what the fuck that means in plain English, congratulations, you are eligible to publish in a tier two law review of your choice.  Write 40 pages on Husserl and promissory estoppel in sub-Saharan Africa.  We need more law review articles to, uh, keep our law legally ordered.

Note also that legal scholarship improves teaching skills, which in turn helps their students earn a practical living.  Meanwhile, critics of scholarship are looking at it only as a private good (indeed - law professors clearly have a more reasoned view, as they see both public and private...)

To sum up:

-Public good-minded:  trying to preserve the convoluted credential circle-jerk conducted by elitist club of six-figure income earners so they can have longer CVs and feel like their lives have meaning despite the utter soullessness of law and legal education because they're convinced the value they perceive their own shit having is the true and actual public value of the shit.

-Private good-minded:  assbags trying to prevent waste of public resources and reduce debt burdens for tens of thousands each year.

Of course, the main problem here is that the TASK FORCE! has continued its needless and senseless redefining of "public good" (hint: copyrighted works are not a public good) to make law schools sound better (I guess?).  It doesn't make a damn bit of sense and I don't know where the TASK FORCE! comes up with this shit, but, really, they're just toying with you at this point.

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