Phi Beta Cons

Legal Liberal Guilt

The Supreme Court recently ruled that schools accepting federal funds can’t ban military recruiters from campus — the decision was unanimous, and it should embarrass all of the distinguished law professors who signed letters and filed briefs urging the court to overturn the Solomon amendment, which outlawed these bans. In the latest issue of the Chronicle of Higher Education, George Washington University law professor John F. Banzhaff III, an admitted opponent of the Solomon amendment, writes:

If the law professors knew that their constitional arguments had virtually no chance of being accepted by the high court, there is a certain hypocrisy in making those claims over and over again in public, including perhaps in their classes, and even a reckless disregard of the consequences of bringing a constitional challenge that could easily backfire — which it did. … They owe their law students, and indirectly the public, the benefit of their best efforts to predict how the justices would rule. When all of their predictions turn out to be wrong, it only leads credence to the arguments that we law professors live in ivory towers oblivious to the real world, and that our publicly expressed opinions are based more on liberal guilt than hard-nosed and meaningful real-world analysis.

John J. Miller, the national correspondent for National Review and host of its Great Books podcast, is the director of the Dow Journalism Program at Hillsdale College. He is the author of A Gift of Freedom: How the John M. Olin Foundation Changed America.

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