Question of the Week

Did your law professors keep their personal opinions out of the classroom?


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Last month, Josh Blackman, who teaches constitutional law and property at South Texas College of Law, wrote at his eponymous blog last month how he has trouble teaching Kelo v. City of New London.

Blackman wrote that he tries to stay neutral in his lectures, but can’t with Kelo. “Every time I read it, I become impassioned at the breadth of what the court did, and did not do, to property rights,” he wrote, adding that he warns students about his feelings. “I suspect some students and professors may be offended by my admission that I have difficult time explaining a few cases without injecting my opinion, and hold it against me. …I would counter that many, if not most (probably all) professors are subject to the same implicit biases (in one direction or the other), though they may be less cognizant, or willing to admit it. I try to acknowledge my flaws, and address the problem. I find this to be a superior approach to simply pretending they aren’t there.”

So this week, we’d like to ask you: Did your law professors keep their personal opinions out of the classroom? If not, what cases pushed them over the edge? Do you think you ended up seeing cases from your professors’ points of view?

Answer in the comments.

Read the answers to last week’s question: What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever seen on a jury form?

Featured answer:

Posted by Minnesota Lawyer: “I was part of the voir dire pool for a case that was (apparently) going to involve allegations of racial bias. The questionnaire included questions like ‘Do you know any black people?’ ‘Are you friends with any black people?’ During the voir dire questioning, I was asked whether I thought that the court system was racially biased, and I said yes. When asked to elaborate, I pointed out the questionnaire, which assumed that all potential jurors would be white. The judge and attorneys—who had obviously worked on and approved the questionnaire—squirmed a bit, particularly when I asked them how they thought that the black people in the jury pool felt about being asked such questions. I was not selected for that jury.”

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