Aziz Huq Writes About Law Schools and the Supreme Court

Law Schools Have a Supreme Court Problem

If you go to the website of any one of the nation’s leading law schools today, you will find prominent claims being made about the institution’s links to the federal judiciary at large, and to the U.S. Supreme Court in particular. Penn Law, for example, brags about its faculty being cited by the justices. Georgetown Law boasts that it has offered dry runs, or “moots,” for “100 percent” of cases before the court in 2019-20. Many schools prominently advertise their Supreme Court clinics as venues for students to gain exposure to the court — and loudly announce the number of students placed in prestigious clerkships both with federal judges generally and the justices in particular.

Close ties to the Supreme Court are central to the luxury brand that elite law schools aim to convey. This is not because most students will ever clerk for the court. Nor will they practice constitutional law of the sort that makes up much of that body’s narrow docket. Rather, law schools bask in the reflected glory of the court because it represents power of a sort that academics rarely taste. It doesn’t hurt that many law professors wallow fondly in nostalgia over the days when the legendary Warren Court desegregated the schools and protected voting rights.

But those days are over. Now, law schools must grapple with the question of what counts as prestige when a very different Supreme Court espouses views that track a particularly extreme, unrepresentative political ideology. In the past month, the court has erased the right to reproductive choice; gutted the nation’s power to mitigate climate change; expanded the flow of lawful guns in public; and injected religioninto public schools. And it is just getting started.

Read more at The Chronicle of Higher Education