Wednesday, May 12, 2010

A leftwinger on Kagan/Tribe matter

A previous IPBiz post discussed an article Right-wingers falsely accuse Kagan of covering up plagiarism at Harvard . Here's text about what (liberal) Dean Velvel has to say:

Velvel discussed Kagan’s nomination as a guest on “The Tom and Todd Show” on WRKO-AM Radio in Boston on Tuesday morning. “That philosophy of protecting the Ivy League elite no matter what was reflected by the failure of Kagan and Summers to act strongly against the two famous Harvard law professors whose books were partly the result of plagiarism or ghostwriting, which are serious forms of academic dishonesty,” he said. “Neither Kagan nor Larry Summers had the guts or integrity to take on the incidents of plagiarism and ghostwriting at Harvard Law School, even though dishonesty is one of the major roots of all problems and is, as said, an academic sin.”

Velvel also remarked that Kagan’s failure to speak out on major problems was a case of classical careerism. “She set her cap to become some big deal in the legal profession and that kind of careerism is telling,” said the Dean. “If you go all the way back to when she graduated from Hunter College High School in New York, she posed for her yearbook graduation picture in judicial robes and holding a gavel, and she said she wanted to be a Supreme Court Justice. So in the last ten or fifteen years she said very little, apparently to avoid jeopardizing her chances of advancement, even though the country desperately needed intelligent people to speak up.”

Velvel also assailed the fact that, if Kagan is confirmed, all the Justices will be from Harvard (six) or Yale (three).

“The Boston-New York-Washington, Harvard-Yale-Princeton legal Mafia may not quite run the country or at least its Executive Branch,” he said, “but they are not far from it. Is there nobody who did not go to law school at Harvard or Yale who is qualified to sit on the Supreme Court?”

As one minor point, Justice Ginsberg graduated from Columbia Law (and her son James was at UChicago Law).
From wikipedia:

She graduated from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, with a Bachelor of Arts degree on June 23, 1954, and that fall enrolled at Harvard Law School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she was one of only nine women in a class of more than five hundred. When her husband took a job in New York City, she transferred to Columbia Law School and became the first woman to be on two major law reviews, both the Harvard Law Review and the Columbia Law Review. In 1959, she earned her Bachelor of Laws degree at Columbia, and tied for first in her class.[3][5]

**Update as to Summers from Luddites: They raged against the machine and lost

When University of Chicago economist Raghuram Rajan raised unwelcome questions about the stability of the world financial system in 2005, for instance, former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers dismissed his argument as "slightly Luddite."
Three years later, investment bank Lehman Bros. collapsed, and the global economy toppled into the deepest recession since the 1930s.

from wikipedia: In that paper, "Has Financial Development Made the World Riskier?", Rajan "argued that disaster might loom."[5] Rajan argued that financial sector managers were encouraged to

(take) risks that generate severe adverse consequences with small probability but, in return, offer generous compensation the rest of the time. These risks are known as tail risks.[...] But perhaps the most important concern is whether banks will be able to provide liquidity to financial markets so that if the tail risk does materialize, financial positions can be unwound and losses allocated so that the consequences to the real economy are minimized.

The response to Rajan's paper at the time was negative. For example, former U.S. Treasury Secretary and former Harvard President Lawrence Summers called the warnings “misguided” and Rajan himself a "luddite".[6] However, following the 2008 economic crisis, Rajan's views came to be seen as prescient; by January 2009, The Wall Street Journal proclaimed that now, "few are dismissing his ideas


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