Affirmative Action

There are data breaches, and then there are data dummies. The people at Baylor Law seem to be in the latter category.

Nobody was trying to steal the personal information of the admitted students at Baylor Law. But a screw-up by someone at the school resulted in all of the personal information of the admitted class getting transmitted to everybody else in the admitted class.

All of it. Names, addresses, grades, and LSAT scores. Pretty much everything besides social security numbers.

And, we have it….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Baylor Law Screw-Up Reveals Personal Data of Entire Admitted Class: Data That We’ve Got”

* Wow. David Brock, head of the liberal watchdog group Media Matters, “paid a former domestic partner $850,000 after being threatened with damaging information involving the organization’s donors and the IRS,” according to allegations in a lawsuit. [Instapundit]

* Is the Supreme Court going to gut affirmative action in the Fisher case? Not necessarily, according to Dan Slater. [Daily Beast]

* Should we be shocked by allegations that Ted Frank’s adversaries misquoted precedent? Maybe not; Mazie Slater has a talking website. [Center for Class Action Fairness]

* Are you a legal geek with a weakness for interesting historical tidbits about famous cases? Check out Professor Kyle Graham’s new blog. [NonCuratLex.com via Volokh Conspiracy (Orin Kerr)]

* If you’ll be in Los Angeles on March 8, consider attending this legal industry “battle of the bands” — with proceeds going to worthy charities. [Law Rocks]

* Could next year’s Oscar nominees include a Dreier documentary? The film does look pretty cool (movie trailer after the jump). [Am Law Daily]

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I called it, but it wasn’t a hard call to make.

Last year, the Fifth Circuit upheld the University of Texas’s affirmative action plan in Fisher v. University of Texas. But they did so in a petulant, childish manner, as if somebody was forcing them to eat their vegetables. At the time, I said they were openly begging for a right-wing Supreme Court to review and overturn their ruling.

It looks like the members of the Fifth Circuit are going to get their wish. The Supreme Court granted cert on Fisher, and now we get to have an affirmative action debate right in the middle of an election cycle where a black man is running for reelection.

I’m sure that last part is just coincidence though….

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In Grammer Pole of the Weak, we typically tackle issues of English grammar and usage, as well as questions of style (in terms of legal writing, not fashion). Last week, we delved into the fun topic of em-dash spacing, and learned that our readers are essentially deadlocked on whether to use a space before and after an em dash. In the end, using spaces prevailed by a margin as narrow as Mitt Romney’s Iowa caucus victory.

Our latest grammar poll pertains to usage, but it has a political component to it as well. It touches on hot-button issues like affirmative action and racial preferences, about which our readers have passionate opinions.

The question, in a nutshell: What does it mean to be a “diverse” individual?

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Does George Will look like the protector of Black America to you?

People who think giving charity to those less fortunate also gives them the right to direct the personal choices of those receiving the charity are some of the worst people on the planet. The biggest offenders are religious organizations: “Ooh, here’s some food. Yes. You like food, don’t you? I bet you’re hungry — I can tell ’cause I can see your ribs. Well, it’s all you can eat in here… first, just say you accept Jesus Christ as your lord and savior. SAY IT. Wonderful. Bon appétit!”

Organizations do it all the time, but there are plenty of individuals who also think giving a guy a buck gives them the right to tell the recipient how to spend the money. This behavior is the worst because it takes what should be a generous gesture (giving somebody money) and turns it into a cheap way to make a BS point about your moral superiority (“If this man did just one thing more like me, he wouldn’t have to beg for my scraps.”).

If you want to help, help. But don’t use “helping” as an excuse to further some ridiculous personal agenda. You’ll just look like an idiot. You’ll just look like George Will prancing around the pages of the Washington Post trying to act like he is against affirmative action because he suddenly wants the Supreme Court to step up to the plate and “help” black people….

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Poor little white boy.

According to a new study by UCLA law professor Richard Sander, discussed in an article in the Denver University Law Review, “the vast majority of American law students come from relatively elite backgrounds; this is especially true at the most prestigious law schools, where only five percent of all students come from families whose SES [socioeconomic status] is in the bottom half of the national distribution.”

In other breaking news, studies show that the vast majority of people who get into water emerge wet.

It’s beyond obvious that American law schools favor the elite. Talent will take you far, but having a financially sound family will take you farther. Professor Sander — whose prior research on law school prestige generated lots of buzz last year — argues that schools should use socioeconomic factors as a partial substitute for racial preferences.

Well, that’s a false choice if I ever heard one. Why can’t we have both socioeconomic and race-based affirmative action? Look, you can accuse me of playing the “race card” if you want to, but I’m just trying to figure out a way to help white people get into law school….

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* With yesterday’s decision from Pennsylvania, the game is now tied for Obamacare at the federal district court level. Come on, SCOTUS, just grant someone certiorari already. [Bloomberg]

* Keep this in mind if you’re applying to law school this year: if you’re white, it ain’t aight. Who knew that there could be “anti-white bias” in a place where everyone’s white, like Wisconsin? [National Law Journal]

* Mark McCombs, the ex-Greenberg Traurig partner who overbilled for prestige, was sentenced to six years. Not a good way to thank your town for naming a street after you. [Am Law Daily]

* An Indian restaurant is accused of forcing Indian customers to give 18% tips. Here’s a tip: don’t punch customers in the face, and maybe they’ll give you a tip on their own. [New York Daily News]

* No soup (or supplements) for you! Curtis Allgier, a Utah prisoner awaiting his murder trial, wants seconds during dinner so he can get back to his fighting killing weight. [Boston Globe]

Judge Vaughn Walker: He's here, he's queer -- deal with it.

* An associate in the New York office of Gibson Dunn, Moshe Gerstein, has been hit with child pornography charges. (More coverage to come; if you know him personally and have info to share, please email us.) [New York County District Attorney's Office]

* Motion to vacate the Proposition 8 decision, on the grounds that (now retired) Judge Vaughn Walker is gay and has a partner, DENIED. [Poliglot / Metro Weekly]

* Vivia Chen has some advice for married couples trying to juggle their careers and domestic duties: “Keep mom on the job, and get dad a fresh apron.” [The Careerist]

* Confession of an affirmative action baby: “It pains me to say this, but putting down black might help my admissions chances and putting down Asian might hurt it.” [Althouse]

* Congratulations to UC Irvine Law on winning provisional accreditation from the ABA — and condolences to the University of La Verne College of Law, which just lost it. [National Law Journal]

* How is a constitution like a computer operating system? Professor Glenn Reynolds has some interesting thoughts on the subject. [SSRN via Instapundit]

* Meanwhile, Mark Steyn wants to know: “Is Every Lesbian Blogger a Middle-Aged Man?” [National Review Online via Instapundit]

Longtime readers of Above the Law will recall the colorful figure of Shanetta Cutlar. She was a high-powered Department of Justice lawyer who was known for her high-handed treatment of DOJ subordinates and colleagues.

(Read the blockquote in this post to get a sense of her antics, or read this juicy letter to former Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty, in which ex-Cutlar underling Ty Clevenger describes the “atmosphere of fear and paranoia” created by Shanetta.)

We haven’t covered Shanetta Cutlar since March 2010, when she stepped down from her post as chief of the Special Litigation Section (“SPL”). After she left SPL, she took a post in the Bureau of Justice Assistance, part of the Office of Justice Programs (“OJP”). This move was interpreted by some DOJ insiders as a form of exile for the controversial Cutlar.

We haven’t heard anything about her since her move to OJP — until now….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Shanetta Cutlar, Back in the News”

* Wesley Snipes wants the Supreme Court to review his conviction. Or maybe he’s just doing research because he wants the lead role in a Clarence Thomas biopic: The Silence. [TaxProf Blog]

* Congratulations to David Rivkin of Debevoise & Plimpton — a man who I remember as having great seats at Shea Stadium — for scoring one for the Americans. [Am Law Daily]

* Speaking of Debevoise, I probably could have used these tips on how to resign gracefully from my former firm. Instead, I think I stood up in the middle of a conference room and started shouting, “give us, us free.” [Corporette]

* Why do law school administrators act like telling the truth is one option among many, instead of a professional responsibility? [Vault]

* You can pick up a sex slave at the Super Bowl? [Change Makers]

* Doesn’t New York State understand that judges are kind of important? [New York Personal Injury Law Blog]

* Honestly, do you think that the diversity rationale for affirmative action also justifies having a preference for white males in some situations? [The Volokh Conspiracy]

* Ha ha. Northwestern college kids need to see a live sex act in order to learn. [Reuters]

* If you’re on Facebook — and who isn’t? — feel free to “like” Above the Law. We’ll be getting busy on FB in the weeks ahead (like we already are on Twitter, @ATLblog). [Facebook]

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