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Law Prof Responds After Chief Justice Roberts Disses Legal Scholarship

Posted Jul 7, 2011 5:29 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. has raised hackles with his suggestion that there is a disconnect between the scholarship of law professors and the work of practitioners.

Roberts knocked law professors and their work while answering questions at the 4th Circuit Judicial Conference in White Sulphur Springs, W. Va., at the end of June.

The American Constitution Society blog has Roberts’ quote: “Pick up a copy of any law review that you see, and the first article is likely to be, you know, the influence of Immanuel Kant on evidentiary approaches in 18th Century Bulgaria, or something, which I’m sure was of great interest to the academic that wrote it, but isn’t of much help to the bar.” C‑SPAN posted the interview.

University of Maryland law professor Sherrilyn Ifill responded in a blog post at Concurring Opinions. “Legal scholars will on occasion indeed take up Kant (and there’s no shame in that),” she wrote, “but more often than not, published law review articles offer muscular critiques of contemporary legal doctrine, alternative approaches to solving complex legal questions, and reflect a deep concern with the practical effect of legal decision-making on how law develops in the courtroom.”

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