Bench Memos

Education

Richard Sander’s Fight with the California Bar

George Leef has a fine essay here on Richard Sander’s fight with the California state bar. Professor Sander has done great work over the years documenting the “mismatch” effect of racial preferences — that is, how university admission of students with significantly lower qualifications than the rest of the student body results in those students struggling at the school. They are less likely to graduate, get lower grades, and are more likely to switch majors. In the case of law-school students, they are are also less likely to pass the bar, so that we actually have fewer black lawyers now than had there been no affirmative action. Unintended consequences, indeed.

Professor Sander wants to continue his work in this area by looking at the bar passage rate in California, but the politically correct state bar there is having none of it. It has refused to share the relevant data, even though Sander has made clear that he’s happy to have all personal information redacted. Unsurprisingly — since all involved are lawyers or would-be lawyers — the matter is now in court. Mr. Leef’s essay relates the disturbing story.

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Liberalism as Faith

The British philosopher John Gray is not someone to shy away from ‘difficult’ topics. If you are looking for a provocative long read this weekend, his new article in the Times Literary Supplement ought to be a contender. I didn’t agree with all of it (for example, I would argue that the supposedly ... Read More
Culture

Our Cultural Crisis: A Kirkian Response

Editors’ note: The following article is adapted from a speech the author delivered at the Heritage Foundation on March 14, 2018. Few would dispute that we are in the middle of a grave cultural crisis. A despairing conservative critic wrote: “We are on the road to cultural disaster.” He placed the ... Read More
Politics & Policy

An Enduring Error

Editor’s Note: The following piece originally appeared in City Journal. It is reprinted here with permission. Fifty-one years ago, in July 1967, in response to an explosion of rioting in poor black urban neighborhoods around the United States, President Lyndon B. Johnson created the National Advisory ... Read More
Culture

The Mournful, Magnificent Sally Mann

‘Does the earth remember?" The infinitely gifted photographer Sally Mann asks this question in the catalogue of her great retrospective at the National Gallery in Washington. On view there is her series of Civil War battlefield landscapes, among the most ravishing works of art from the early 2000s. Once sites ... Read More