Forty-seven of the nation’s top 50 law schools are liberal, and while 35 percent of lawyers across the country are conservative, only 15 percent of law professors lean conservative, according to a recent study.
The study, The Legal Academy’s Ideological Uniformity, was published April 14 by Adam Bonica of Stanford University, Adam S. Chilton of the University of Chicago, Kyle Rozema of Northwestern, and Maya Sen of Harvard.
Only Brigham Young University, George Mason University, and Pepperdine University’s law schools are predominantly conservative, according to the study. The first two law schools tie for #39, and Pepperdine sits at #49 for top national law schools.
The authors measure the ideology of each law school by totaling the donations their faculty members have given to political campaigns.
Blue bars next to each school denote donations to liberal candidates, red bars indicate contributions to conservative politicians.
— Orin Kerr (@OrinKerr) April 18, 2017
The authors do not account for every professor, since not every professor listed in the 2012 Association of American Law Schools’ Directory of Law Teachers to the Database on Ideology, Money and Politics, and Elections has donated to a political campaign.
“The relationship between ideology and legal decision-making has given rise to concerns over the ideological balance in the legal academy, and, in particular, the implications stemming from an underrepresentation of conservatives,” assert the authors in the study’s introduction.
While the authors discovered a 20 percent discrepancy between lawyers who are conservative (35 percent) and law professors who profess that ideology (15 percent), this gap narrowed to about 13 percent when they accounted for subject area, geographic location, and law school.
The authors conclude their study arguing that the disproportionate presence of liberals in academia puts the institution at odds with both the public and the federal government. Conservatives control the legislative, executive, and judicial federal branches and 35 percent of the American public identify as conservative (compared to 24 percent who identify as liberal)m but only 6 percent of law schools are conservative.
“One possible path forward includes more ideological diversity in law hiring;” state the authors. “As we noted here, however, this might not be straightforward, especially given many school’s concerns 26 about promoting gender and racial diversity.”
The Daily Caller News Foundation reached out to the authors of the study but did not receive comment in time for publication.
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