Home / General / Respect My Authori-tah

Respect My Authori-tah


I wanted to say a couple things about Paul’s recent string of posts in order to emphasize why what’s happening here is, in fact, important. First of all, I was dismayed to see some of our regular commenters (as well as Jonathan Adler) portray this as some sort of personal feud in which Both Sides Are Doing It.  That’s certainly how Leiter would like to portray this. But is this High Broderite evaluation credible? Let’s summarize:

  • Leiter is credibly accused of harassing his detractors, including threats to out anonymous commenters and getting third parties to reveal the identities of anonymous commementers.
  • Campos is (quite accurately, it must be said) accused of publicly criticizing Brian Leiter.

You’ll forgive me if I’m not seeing the equivalence here.  It should be emphasized that for the non-tenured pseudonymity can often be a prerequisite for the ability to engage in valuable online discussions.  And we shouldn’t forget the behavior of the Faculty Lounge here — giving identities to a third party is a particularly egregious breach of trust.   The Leiter non-denial denial that Adler links to makes it even more safe to infer that Filer gave his co-blogger the information.

The other remarkable thing about this story is Leiter’s comment that the problem with the professionals who send him pointed, mildly critical questions is “stupidity and insolence.”  My question: why on earth would anyone think that demonstrating “insolence” towards Brian Leiter is the slightest bit problematic?  “Professor” is not a feudal title.  As I mentioned in my remembrance for one of my graduate advisors, I was very fortunate to be trained by extremely distinguished scholars who were nonetheless not obsessed with status, who expected arguments to be evaluated on their own merits, and not only by people of comparable titles or previous accomplishments.    Of course, the broader context of the discussion — the severe problems with the contemporary model of legal education — makes the inherent problems with Leiter’s arguments from status and authority even more stark.    If you’re committed to propositions like “it makes perfect sense for law school to cost 5 times as much as it did 25 years ago despite the declining value of a law degree” and “paying full sticker at a non-elite law school is a good investment for many students,” you’re certainly not going to win arguments on the merits.   Trying to stifle debate on the issue, however, is an attempt to ensure that prospective law students remain as ill-informed as they were 5 years ago.   It is fortunate that Leiter’s attacks on this important critical movement appear to be failing miserably, but the stakes make it very important to call out this kind of behavior.

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  • “Professor” is not a feudal title.

    Bloody well ought to be…

  • JDE

    Interesting quotes from Leiter himself on past occasions below.


    “I have on two or three occasions received harassing and abusive e-mails sent from fake e-mail accounts. The senders do not want to reveal their identity to me: do I have an obligation not to ferrett it our or reveal it if I discover it? That hardly seems plausible.”


    “Integrity of intellectual purpose demands that, except in unusual cases, one own one’s words (most importantly, one’s critical words) and accept the consequences. I have done that as a graduate student, as a tenure-track professor, and now. Those who don’t have made their choice, though it is certainly not one that warrants anyone’s respect.”

  • JM

    “Professor” is not a feudal title.



    • Murc

      “Do you think I’m a villain?”

      “Well, I have heard you say, ‘Guards! Seize him!’”

      “That was at a Knicks game. They needed to stop the clock.”

    • BikeCrasher



      • spencer

        I have a vewwy good fwend in Wwwome called Biggus Dickus …

        • elm

          If you think that name is funny, you should meet his wife…

          (IB, where are you? Why am I the one offering this line?)

    • StevenAttewell

      Nooo! You’re letting him get away! Never mind, my Vulkanian Death Matrix will make short work of him…sabotaged?!

      Curse you, Flash Gordon! I’ll get you next time!

  • Advokat

    It is time to end insolence in America.

    Americans need to learn not to criticize their social betters.

    • Origami Isopod

      Our long national nightmare of impudence and uppityness is nearly over.

      • Advokat

        After all, you shouldn’t criticize superior people who went to truly elite schools – like Harvard, Yale, Princeton, and, er, the University of Michigan.

        They’re Just Better Than You!

        • rea

          U of M was a pretty darned elite law school, although perhaps less so than when I went there (’75-’78), when it was consensus top 5.

  • Let’s bring this here:

    MARCH 8 UPDATE: It wont’ surprise any readers to learn that Paul Campos is angry with me–after all, his malicious and dishonest conduct has made him a pariah in his own profession. I certainly did my part to call attention to his malfeasance, but I underestimated the extent to which he would turn into a pathological liar in order to seek his vengeance. Over the last week (I have been abroad at a conference, with only intermittent internet access and so may not even have seen everything), Campos has completely lost it, descending into an amazing paranoid abyss of libel, accusing me, falsely, of, inter alia, cyber-stalking, posting pseudonymously on “Top Law Schools,” even posting “hundreds” (!) of comments on his absurd blog (while the others may just be reckless false allegations, the last one he has to know is false, since he has access to the ISP information), and so on. He has not, at least of this writing, accused me of genocide or torturing puppies. And he has apparently inspired one of his followers to hack someone`s email account. Classy! Apart from his general animosity towards me, I can only surmise that he’s lost it because I did pursue the identity, successfully, of one of his cyber-friends (“dybbuk”) who Campos conveniently neglects to mention had the habit of bullying, insulting and defaming junior faculty and students (including one of mine), and I did succeed in getting his worst bit of libel deleted and he has now fallen silent. Oddly, Campos, who is now waging a jihad against Faculty Lounge, doesn’t realize why no one will return his e-mails, and it’s the same reason almost no one signed his petition for law school transparency: his colleagues consider him a creep and untrustworthy, and so they just steer clear. Indeed, “dybbuk’s” identity was volunteered by someone Campos pissed all over during his little scam jihad, so, ironically, he has only himself to blame for the mess his cyber-friend is currently in.

    • Shakezula

      Not at all a well person.

    • Advokat

      “And he has apparently inspired one of his followers to hack someone`s email account.”

      …and Leiter has no idea whose e-mail account that was.

      • Shakezula

        I also question “inspire” and “follower.” But that’s just my tendency to not add 1 and 1 to get a massive pity party.

      • Lego My Eggo

        inspired one of his followers

        We are all Camposians now. All hail Campos!

        • Hogan

          The correct word is Camposite. Only Leiterist dogs call us Camposians.

          • Scott Lemieux

            You’re all a bunch of Camposists.

            • Hogan

              See also my forthcoming pamphlets, Left-Wing Lemieuxism: An Infantile Disorder and A Critique of the Loomis Program.

              • StevenAttewell


            • anonymous

              When one leaves the fold, is one decomposing?

              • anonymous

                Stupid auto-correct! Should be: “decamposing”.

          • Obviously should be “insolent Camposinos”.

    • Malaclypse

      “Jihad” is a word you just can’t possibly over-use in a paragraph.

    • sibusisodan

      Indeed, “dybbuk’s” identity was volunteered by someone Campos pissed all over during his little scam jihad, so, ironically, he has only himself to blame for the mess his cyber-friend is currently in.

      Ah, so throwing aside somebody else’s cloak of anonymity is perfectly justifiable, provided it’s done in a fit of pique.

      Well, what’s sauce for the goose, an’ all…

    • Rob in Buffalo

      Gotta love the “none of the other kids law professors like you”.

    • ari

      If Leiter thinks Campos is guilty of libel, surely he realizes that there are legal remedies available to him.

      • Hogan

        You just don’t understand what “thinking like a lawyer” means.

        • ari

          I’m afraid I don’t even understand what thinking like a legal historian means.

  • Rarely Posts

    I agree with all of the points in Scott’s post, and I want to thank LGM for standing up for those of us who have to post under a pseudonym.

    Nonetheless, Leiter’s “non-denial denial” does seem to deny at least one thing:

    Campos has . . . accus[ed] me, falsely, of, inter alia, cyber-stalking, posting pseudonymously on “Top Law Schools, . . . .”

    If the accusation that Leiter posts “pseudonymously on Top Law Schools” is “false,” then Leiter is not “PhiloStudent.”

    The non-denial denial also implies that Leiter is not paduren, since it says: “And he has apparently inspired one of his followers to hack someone’s email account.” It would be very odd if Leiter described it as “someone’s” instead of “my” e-mail account if he is paduren, though he certainly has not ruled it out.

    Of course, Leiter could be lying. However, he does seem to have denied at least one of the accusations against him.

    I very much appreciate the benefits of allowing people to post under a pseudonym, and I appreciate LGM’s standing up for people who do (It’s one of many reasons that this is one of the only blogs that I post at, as I have to use a pseudonym). I am glad that you are taking on Leiter’s attacks on pseudonymous posting.

    Nonetheless, as far as I can tell, the evidence available to the neutral observer does not, thus far, establish that Leiter has been posting under a pseudonym, acting as a sock puppet, or cyber-bullying through a pseudonym (he has been bullying openly on his blog). The evidence is suggestive, but it’s not super strong (e.g., lots of people like Neruda; I personally have no idea if I can trust the anonymous person who allegedly hacked the paduren account, etc.). Among other things, we can’t rule out that a Leiter “devotee” is doing these things on his behalf (such people, though rare, do exist).

    I’ll be curious to see how the evidence develops, and I’m certainly open to being convinced that I’ve failed to appreciate the value of some of the available evidence. Nonetheless, in my view, the focus should be on LGM’s strong arguments about the importance of pseudonymous posting, problems with the current law school structure, and the problems with arguments from “authoritah.” I worry that if the accusations of Leiter’s use of pseudonyms turn out to be false, it will undermine the main points. Of course, we likely will have a better idea of the truth of those accusations soon (and they certainly haven’t been disproven).

    • The only charge that would seem to rise to the level of wrong-doing is trying to obtain to identities of your anonymous critics in order to bully/threaten them… which Leiter appears to be openly admitting.

      Apart from his general animosity towards me, I can only surmise that he’s lost it because I did pursue the identity, successfully, of one of his cyber-friends (“dybbuk”) who Campos conveniently neglects to mention had the habit of bullying, insulting and defaming junior faculty and students (including one of mine), and I did succeed in getting his worst bit of libel deleted and he has now fallen silent.

      The sock puppetry stuff mainly seems to be about establishing that the guy goes to enormous and embarrassing lengths to engage in vicious arguments on the internet. If it turns out that this is not the case then I don’t see how that has any impact on the cyber-bullying part.

    • TWBB

      Maybe he meant “[(1)] falsely, of, inter alia, cyber-stalking, [2] posting pseudonymously on “Top Law Schools” with the “falsely” only applying to the cyber-stalking claim.

    • Scott Lemieux

      Yes, you’re right — he did seem to deny at least one specific charge.

    • velcrose

      The non-denial denial also implies that Leiter is not paduren, since it says: “And he has apparently inspired one of his followers to hack someone’s email account.” It would be very odd if Leiter described it as “someone’s” instead of “my” e-mail account if he is paduren, though he certainly has not ruled it out.

      It does not imply that in the slightest. It is completely consistent with him being Aduren and not wanting to confirm whether he is. It is also consistent with him being Aduren and wanting people to think he is not.

      Not once in Leiter’s reply does he say he was not Audren — which you would expect him to say given the emails and posts from Audren.

      • calling all toasters

        Person who broke the TV: “Hey! Some idiot broke the TV!”

        This is only considered a non-falsehood by philosophers and lawyers.

        • ChrisTS

          Well, it isn’t false. It’s true but deflection.

      • spencer

        It is completely consistent with him being Aduren and not wanting to confirm whether he is. It is also consistent with him being Aduren and wanting people to think he is not.

        Yeah, I really don’t get why people are apparently so confused about this.

      • Rarely Posts

        I chose the word “imply” very intentionally. I agree that it is “consistent” with his being Aduren. If it turns out Leiter is Aduren, he will be able to say: “I never lied about that.”

        However, the phrasing would lead the casual or trusting reader to conclude that he is not Aduren based on the phrasing because it would be so unnatural to use this language if he is Aduren. It “implies” he is not Aduren. As Calling All Toasters indicated, people do not use language this way in everyday life.

        Although it’s good to condemn those who make false statements or lies, I personally also condemn those who mislead or deceive. If, in the end, Leiter is proven to be Aduren, I would consider this language to be deceptive and thus condemnable.

        Our political and pundit discourse lets people get away with deceptive language far too long, as long as it’s not a flat-out lie. Bush II selling the Iraq War was a classic example. Some total lies were told, but overall, they used deceptive language that misled millions and painted a completely deceptive picture. But, the national press never felt comfortable calling those “lies” because they were “technically” not clearly false.

        As a practicing lawyer, I’ll put it in legal context.
        Imagine that Leiter is Aduren, and he put this type of statement in an opening brief, and in the response Campos said: “Here’s what he failed to tell you. He is Aduren.”

        The Court would not conclude that the original statement was a lie or that it was sanctionable, but there is no doubt that Leiter would lose credibility with the Judge, and rightfully so. Everything else would be viewed with extreme skepticism, because it would be established that he was comfortable trying to deceive the court. Personally, I think that attitude should be extended beyond the legal scene.

  • Rob in Buffalo

    “Campos is (quite accurately, it must be said) accused [only] of publicly criticizing Brian Leiter.”

    The biggest concern troll in the most recent thread seemed to believe that Paul’s biggest sin was using information about Leiter’s activities supposedly obtained by a commenter who by accessing Leiter’s pseudonymous Gmail account. This sin was so grave that it necessitated Paul’s deleting all 3 posts about Leiter, or something like that.

    • tonycpsu

      The fog of nerdwar gives us imperfect information about what really happened, but I do think that Campos had Leiter dead to rights without using these allegedly hacked emails to prove his point.

      Undoubtedly the information would have shown up in comment threads, but whereas there would have been no Climategate without the hacked East Anglia emails, Paul would have had a very strong point without using information of such a dubious nature, so he could have left it out of his posts.

      • TWBB

        The thing is the hacked email apparently revealed that Leiter was PhiloStudent on TLS, which was not available anywhere else. I suspect that this is what really freaks Leiter out, because while there’s nothing illegal about making up a fake graduate student to praise himself on a forum for prospective students, it makes him look ridiculous.

    • Royko

      I’m entirely against hacking (which had nothing to do with Paul anyway), but seriously, if the hacking story is true, using Neruda backward as an alias and forward as a password is the kind of thing an idiot would have on his luggage![/spaceballs]

      • TWBB

        That’s amazing. I’ve got the same combination on my luggage!

      • tonycpsu

        Yeah, the thing is, in our society, we don’t refuse to prosecute burglars just because the lock on the victim’s front door was easily picked. Hacks are hacks whether the victim made it easy or not.

        • Scott Lemieux

          I don’t think this is in any dispute.

          • I don’t think this is like busting into a person’s home, it’s like busting into a hideout, a place used for morally questionable/illegal purposes.

    • Totally not Brian Leiter

      The biggest scandal is surely the presence of Simon on the last post. Although I have never met Brian Leiter I understand he is the kind of upstanding fellow who would never create a sockpuppet to post comments in his own defense. Ipso facto it must have been Campos trying to make the honourable Brian Leiter look bad.

      I suggest that the only appropriate response is for this board’s administrators to delete all of the posts on this topic.

      • retieL nairB ton yllatoT

        This guy clearly sounds like a fraud. I’m sure he’s not a real Brian Leiter, as he is stringently opposed to anonymity on the internet.

        • john

          +1 for the name.

  • Shakezula

    A few days ago there was a post about Scalia being the intellectual on the Supreme Court bench. I was – to say the least – surprised. Somehow I missed the early development of this meme or people who believed it and was instead exposed to people who correctly pegged him as a regressive SOB. But if I understand it correctly, his claim to intellectualism stems from an ability to pronounce long words and cite (not necessarily correctly) obscure bits of trivia.

    This is a rather long-winded way of drawing a completely irrelevant parallel between Leitershosen and Scalia. Other than that, I enjoy P.C’s contributions to his continued tizzification because bullies suck. That’s why.

  • Glenn

    Paul came in and trashed the place, and it’s not his place.

    • penpen


  • JDE

    Note that Leiter claims to have been abroad at a conference since his posting on March 6 at 4 am. But on one of his other blogs (Leiter Reports), he has posted six times since 4 am on March 6. Why is he out of the country and unable to respond for one blog, yet able to keep posting on his other blog?

    Anyway, Leiter’s response is very informative in what it doesn’t say.

    He doesn’t deny that the Peter Aduren online identity is his.

    He doesn’t actually deny that the Peter Aduren gmail account is his. Nor does he offer any theory by which this otherwise unknown person would have an email account for the purpose of tracking down Brian Leiter’s critics.

    He doesn’t deny getting IP addresses and email addresses of people who thought they had commented anonymously somewhere.

    He doesn’t deny the involvement of Dan Filler at The Faculty Lounge.

    He doesn’t deny emailing those people with veiled or not-so-veiled threats.

    He doesn’t deny (but rather brags about) uncovering the identity of one anonymous commenter through the help of someone who Campos has apparently criticized. (Paul Campos: who have you criticized who would be in a position to help figure out dybbuk’s identity?)

    He doesn’t deny that he sent “a threatening e-mail, via his University of Chicago e-mail account, to a lawyer whose name is that same as that used in the email address of another critic (Leiter employed the lawyer’s work email rather the e-mail address submitted to TFL).”

    He doesn’t deny that he has been “threatening at least two web sites with negative repercussions, perhaps including legal action, if they did not remove certain posts critical of him.”

    • anon

      You are correct on all of that.

  • Royko

    It’s clear the two aren’t fond of each other. I don’t want to sound too High Broderite, but there has been an element to the tone of Paul posts of relishing in Leiter’s public misconduct. I don’t have any particular objection to the way he’s written it, but I think that might be why some commenters have dismissed the whole thing as “distasteful internet spat”.

    That said, there are certainly reasons that make the series worthwhile:

    1) If the Faculty Lounge has been giving out private information about its commenters, that’s a serious breach of ethics, and the site’s visitors and commenters should know about it. I hope you keep on them.

    2) Leiter appears to have been acting pretty unprofessionally (sockpuppetry, harassing critics). I would think that prospective students and his peers would want to know about this. In fact, I would think the U of C would want to conduct some kind of investigation into his behavior, if only to protect their reputation. (I suspect they won’t unless this story becomes even more visible than it already has.)

    Less concerning to me is the apparent evidence that Leiter is a big egomaniacal douche. I suppose this might matter to some, but you can’t throw a rock on the internet without hitting a big egomaniacal douche. There’s the idea that an Important Academic with a tenured position at an Important Institution shouldn’t be a big egomaniacal douche, and while I’m all for using public shaming to police the culture, I fear that it brings with it an implicit validation of the loftiness of Important Academics and Important Academic Institutions that (much like you see concerning Noble Objectivity in journalism) isn’t entirely warranted.

    • TWBB

      Mostly fair points, though I will point out two things:

      1. Leiter attacked Paul Campos viciously from the moment he started the ITLSS blog, and Paul’s responses have been measured until now. I don’t blame Paul for taking a little schadenfreude in Leiter’s public humiliation.

      2. While people criticized Leiter fully in the past (as he did them) it wasn’t until his latest move into trying to out anonymous posters and ruin the careers of young lawyers in real life (over internet posts!) that the concentrated effort to out HIS own sockpuppets took place. He escalated this.

  • Ed K

    Let’s also recall that Leiter has been at very least a bully and a profoundly divisive figure on the philosophy side too, most recently with his attacks on SPEP, which largely had to do with protecting his own position as ‘keeper of the rankings.’ This isn’t that different from most of his arguments against ‘party-line continentalism’ and other such figures of malice, which amount to little more than attempts to delegitimate points of view that he doesn’t like or that ‘compete’ with his own, often using boilerplate arguments that are decades old (how ironic for him to about ‘party-line’ behavior). Philosophically, all of this is particularly bizarre given that the overall spirit of things these days seems to be all about mutual engagement between ‘analytic’ and ‘continental’ scholars, especially younger ones. All of that can be established by a comprehensive look at what he says and does in his own name, openly. And the general point of doing it seems to be more or less in line with what’s being discussed here, insofar as the point of what Leiter’s accused of doing would be to suppressing any sort of discourse that might threaten his entrenched position. In the arguments I’ve followed (and I’ve tried to ignore the more recent ones), L’s always taken the position in his own defense that all of what he’s doing is purely motivated, good scholarly agon. But the degree to which the entire force if it has been to establish a position of authority from which he can ‘argue,’ separate the ‘good’ people from the ‘bad’ ones, enforce the othering of those he deems illegitimate, and so on, seems not only to give those defenses the lie (to the extent that they aren’t self-refuting already) but to consist with the kind of cyber-bullying being described here. In many ways, you could argue that at least half of his philosophy blog is cyber-bullying on its face.

    And of course, the great defense of the bully is whining about how what he or she does is no different from what other people are doing to him or her.

  • Cian

    In many ways, you could argue that at least half of his philosophy blog is cyber-bullying on its face.

    Yeah I’d second this.

  • Brandon

    How can anyone be so singularly obsessed with rankings, anyway? Who, really, gives a fuck?

    • Advokat

      How can anyone be so singularly obsessed with rankings, anyway? Who, really, gives a fuck?

      Haven’t been near a law school recently, I see…

    • People who collect tuition, people who collect status.

    • sibusisodan

      +1…oh, wait…sorry.

    • Scott Lemieux

      See the final paragraph.

      • Brandon

        That looked more like an economic/job-saving argument. This appears to be the single-most important thing in Leiter’s life, central to his psyche.

  • One thing I find interesting is that Leiter does feel some anonymity is sacred, for example, consider the following passage:

    UPDATE: A senior legal academic, who has been involved extensively with legal education reform, writes: “Keep up the Campos bashing…

    (I see this quite a bit in his posts.)

    • Anonymous

      Right. Where’s the integrity of intellectual purpose?

    • The lurkers support him in e-mail?

    • calling all toasters

      Apparently quoting fictional cabbies is beneath him.

      • Scott Lemieux

        I demand an update citing what an unnamed but very respected scholar told him at an apocryphal cocktail party.

        • Advokat

          I was recently at a cocktail party with all the leading lights of legal scholarship in the United States, and they were in unanimous agreement that Paul Campos is a poo-poo head.

  • Anony

    Granted, about economists, but this Paul Krugman blog post about ‘pulling rank’ and how it is, and isn’t, appropriate to do so in debates. (“But “Me big famous economist, you nobody” is not a valid argument.:)

  • Timb

    How can a person be let down by Adler? It’s like saying you we’re letdown that Robert Stacy McCain expressed racist views. Adler, by dint of temperament and fervently held ideology, is wrong on almost every public issue one can conceive

  • anon
  • Pooh

    Stepping back for a moment, there’s an interesting aspect of line drawing going on here. I don’t remember with specificity, but wasn’t the general opinion of the (truly deplorable) reddit guy getting doxxed basically “fuck that guy” and any worries about the precedent set were sort of waived away because, well, fuck that guy? On some level this situation is not that, but what’s the principled distinction that’s a little more robust than “reddit guy was a slimy dbag”?

    • Ed K

      Surely there’s the matter of asymmetries of power relations being expressed in the uses of anonymity. I think where anonymity is clearly being used to enable abuses directed against folks in disempowered positions, that’s pretty obviously a different matter than when it’s being used to subject folks powerful positions to criticisms (or critical points of view) that they would otherwise likely be able to avoid.

      • Ed K

        Gah! Last sentence should read ‘…folks *in powerful positions…’

      • Pooh

        Fair, but to play devils advocate a little, isn’t that just a fancier way of saying we like what one guy is saying more, so it should be protected/respected?

        This might sound concern trolling but I was really surprised by how much people were willing to let their inner authoritarian run wild on the reddit guy given how small a logical leap it was from there to more or less the exact situation Campos et al are discussing.

        • Ed K

          I think you’re in danger of falling into the ‘fairness slippery slope’ trap a bit (small logical leap). But to use a different analogy, I think we recognize manifest power differentials and how they change the moral standing of speech all the time. The most obvious example is comedy, where a lot of jokes only work ‘going up.’ (Chris Rock explains the principle nicely here.) Obviously, it’s not always possible to say where ‘going up’ is happening, but in some cases it’s pretty obvious that the targets of things are at least folks who are ‘up’ or ‘down’ on power ladders. And I think, to reiterate, that that differential makes the two sorts of speech a lot less comparable than your ‘small logical leap’ suggests.

    • When you talk about general opinion are you speaking of the entirety of the internet or this specific blog? I couldn’t find any blogging about that incident in a cursory search, so it’s not entirely clear that lines are being redrawn.

      For me personally, I don’t think it’s particularly arbitrary to state that those publicly engaging in reprehensible behavior do not deserve to be shielded from the consequences of their actions, and that criticism of a (gasp!) full professor does not rise to the standard of “reprehensible”.

      • Pooh

        I am probably confusing general opinion with what I read here. I want to make clear that I’m not defending reddit guy, but I do think its interesting how quickly the distinction becomes “he’s a really bad guy”. In Leiter’s mind, the critics are “really bad guys” too. And while objectively we’re right and he’s wrong (heh), I’m still uncomfortable with that answer.

        Fwiw, I agree with Scott’s take, but am still uncomfortable with it as the next step is obviously to define the exceptional case down, and so on.

        • I suppose I am more uncomfortable with the concept that we have to choose between either all anonymity is protected or no anonymity is protected. I’m completely ok with grey areas that need to be decided on a case by case basis.

          Also, to be somewhat semantic, they actually are two distinct situations. The reddit dude was tracked down through investigative journalism, while currently we suspect a lawyer was outed by the guy running a forum he posts on. The latter is a clear breach of trust, the former is… what? Bad form? A mean thing to do? I’ve been accused of victim blaming in other threads, but at some point personal accountability does kick in. If you want to say vile things on the internet with no repercussions you should take more precautions to ensure the inevitable hordes of offended people can’t track you down.

    • Reddit guy was a world-famous troll and possibly-dangerous creep (incest assertions and rape advocacy and so forth) who got found by a journalist. It was an interesting story (and worthwhile!) and not a status-preserving fit of pique.

      Let’s imagine Leiter telling Gawker that some associate nobody’s heard of sent him an insolent email.

      • Ed K

        Importantly, Gawker would laugh in his face, or more likely just fail to respond at all. Similarly, the likelihood that Leiter can actually destroy anyone’s legal or academic career is, I suspect, much smaller than he would like us all to believe.

        Which doesn’t make L less of a scumbag for encouraging the belief that he could / would try to do so as a means of intimidation. And it’s a means of intimidation that’s used all the time and is often quite successful insofar as junior people frequently don’t see through it / aren’t confident in their own positions (which is pretty much the nature of being a junior person).

    • sharculese

      The reddit guy was enabling behavior that was actively predator and endangered women (by normalizing behavior stalker-esque behavior).

      Also fuck that guy.

    • Scott Lemieux

      I dunno about others, but my position was that the Reddit troll was an extreme case that justified a rare exception to the general rule against outing. One can reasonably disagree that the standard was met. However, as Substance (if that is his real name! He’d better not treat me in an insolent manner!) says I think it’s pretty clear that outing someone because they criticize you on the internet is not a remotely comparable case.

      • Scott Lemieux is the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being I’ve ever known in my life.

  • Sooner

    Agree completely with the post. It continues to remain a mystery to me that few seem to distinguish the ethical foundations that each of these authors stand on. One calls out the horrible positions law schools are putting their students in, using false information, and consistently admits when he makes a mistake. The other one says law schools are great and if you get screwed because of that false information, it’s your fault, and believes fervently that his poop smells like roses. I think Paul’s gusto in attacking Leiter for his behavior stems from the fact that he completely defends the scam. Leiter is an archetype of all that is wrong with law school academy, and he compounds that status with the high level of pride he takes in the position. Leiter has such a myopic view of the law school situation, is so obviously wrong based on outcomes, and yet defends his position as though he holds the intellectual high ground. It reminds me of Cheney still giving out national security advice. And even then most juvenile attacks end up coming from Leiter. Other professors think Campos is a “creep”? I’d probably call him worse if he was threatening my ability to remain in the top 5% of income earners while working less intensely than the average legal secretary that ends up knowing more about actual legal work than most professors. “Sign your petition?! No way creep! I’m looking to get paid $10,000 a month so I can “study” and get published!” Yes, it’s most likely a character problem of Paul’s more so than selfish economic concern that has the other professors unwilling to join his cause.

    • Medrawt

      As was pointed out on an earlier thread, Leiter’s frothing hostility (as opposed to just flat disagreement) on this issue is a little curious considering that his career, previously at Texas and now especially at Chicago, has been at the kind of upper echelon institutions that would be least affected by the kind of corrective adjustments Campos et al. think would be healthy for the profession. (What’s with all the people making fun of Michigan, also?)

      • spencer

        What’s with all the people making fun of Michigan, also?

        Haters gotta hate.

        • Advokat

          No – Michigan is a fine school. It’s just amusing that given Leiter’s compulsive penchant for arguing from authority, that his PhD/JD was outside the charmed circle of HYS. I’m sure that this has been a source on ongoing embarrassment to him throughout his career.

          • retieL nairB ton yllatoT

            I’m sure Michigan is very high in HIS rankings though.

            (To be fair, I hear it’s pretty cool up there.)

            • Medrawt

              The philosophy program is certainly up towards the top (though not the tippity top) of his rankings – I don’t pay attention to his law school ranking stuff, since (a) I’ve never applied to law school, and (b) it’s easier to suss out anyway, at least if you’re looking for the elitest of the elite.

              • anonymous

                Depends what you mean by “tippity top.” Michigan is currently #4, and has been robustly top-5 for the past decade. Over that time-span, it’s pretty much Rutgers/NYU/Princeton, and then Michigan.

    • Part of the great chain of irony is that Leiter identifies as a left-winger, and the political content on his blog [i]is[/i] definitely left-wing, broadly speaking. And yet here we are.

      • Ed K

        You mean aside from the fact that a guy who likes to make himself out to be ‘Mr. Nietzsche’ is so clearly a creature of ressentiment?

  • Bruce Baugh

    All I can do at this point is note that Prof. Leiter is cosplaying a Suzanne Vega song.

  • Anonymous

    More non-denial denials, now from Dan Filler via Above the Law:

    Thanks for checking with me. As exciting as it would be to have been a character in this intriguing Whodunit, I’ve been tied up for the past week reliving the old days on the Grassy Knoll, visiting with colleagues at Area 51, and checking on my dear friend Jimmy Hoffa. Jimmy still can’t believe it’s been 48 years since Paul McCartney died.

    What a putz.

    • Scott Lemieux

      Oooh, good catch. Generally, if you want anyone to believe your non-denial denials you really have to keep them a little shorter. When the cliches start piling up you can all but see the flop sweat.

      • Cody

        Why didn’t he go with the standard “I cannot recall the events of which Campos speaks…”

  • Anna in PDX

    Wow, what a creep-filled profession.

  • Sooner

    No relation to this blog article at all, but having just read the NYT article about law school created non-profit firms, I had to relay my disgust somewhere (no ability to comment at NYT, at least for a non-paying reader anyway). I am disgusted.


    My apologies for the tangent.

    • Cody

      This doesn’t seem like an obviously bad thing on it’s face.

      Although I’m rather doubtful they will go about this in a manner that actually servers low-income families with valuable legal services. The idea of setting up non-profits to get young lawyers experience and a paying job for the first few years seems good. Of course, doing it during the years of “education” and while they’re paying tuition would seem more prudent…

      • Sooner

        Indeed, there are a few positive aspects. But the negatives are clear:

        1. Tuition will no doubt actually pay for the program. So the pyramid scheme continues in the form of newer matriculants paying for the temporary returns of older students.

        2. At $125/hr. you are looking at something close to a half of a week’s post-tax wages for a “lower income” individual. Hardly going to create new legal services consumers in the area.

        3. What you are actually going to do is increase competition and drive down rates for an already desperate and strapped market.

        4. The program has absolutely nothing to do with driving down costs. Probably more important than even gaining valuable experience.

        5. Even with that valuable experience now gained, due to the reasons stated above, the graduate will still have a tough time making a living practicing law (i.e. too few have the ability to pay for legal services, the rates are too high to create new consumers, competition is increased, debt burdens continue to spiral, can’t make a living with lower rates).

        The other ideas floated, essentially externships, have been around for some time. Paying a school outrageous tuition to go work for free somewhere else to gain 4 months experience, isn’t actually a “good deal” for the student. If you can believe it.

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