Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Professor Congressman

Eugene Volokh reports that two law professors are either contemplating or participating in Congressional runs. First, the cool one, Stanford's Larry Lessig, who's filed an exploratory committee to possibly go for the late Rep. Tom Lantos' (D-CA) seat in California. You can see his introductory video here. Normally, I'd be skeptical of an outsider like Lessig's chances in a district where one has to think there are many, many well-entrenched Democrats looking for a promotion, but as Paul Gowder notes, this is Silicon Valley, where Lessig's status is somewhere between icon and demi-god. So he's got a shot.

The second candidate is Rutgers' Michael Livingston, who has announced his Republican candidacy to try and knock off Philadelphia Democratic Rep. Chaka Fattah. I only know Livingston from his blistering attack on affirmative action hiring at his law school -- an attack that seems to be compromised by the fact that the at least some of those minority faculty seem more qualified than he is. Oops. I also love his instincts in decrying the reduced "civility" in his department, which is due apparently to affirmative action, and not to his own screed against the qualifications of a huge chunk of his co-professors.

Anyway, Fattah's district is one of the most heavily Democratic in the country, so Livingston should be returning to his minority-dominated offices soon enough. And Lessig's election to the Congress would represent a major boon to the institution, which could use someone with his expertise on issues of copyright and intellectual property.


Anonymous said...

As a RU 3L, I am distressed to imagine that Livingston will be a representaive of Rutgers in the public arena.

Interesting that now that he has decided to run against a black incumbent, Professor Livingston has disappeared the blog which used to contain his racist screed. Much of it is still available on line if you Google his name and Prof. Perry's. I can only hope some local journalist does a little digging to find out what Livingston had to say about his colleagues BEFORE he was a white-washed candidate.

michael a. livingston said...

Dear Mr. Schraub,

I am pleased to see that your blog follows the two commands of the Democratic Party:

1. Never discuss substantive issues,

2. Accuse anyone you disagree with of racism, sexism, etc., as early and as often as possible

With these guideposts I am sure you will have a fine career as a liberal law professor

It may interest you to know that I have several Rutgers students volunteering for my campaign

Good luck with your blog

Mike Livingston

David Schraub said...

A rather bizarre comment, if I may say so, given that I never used the word "racist" at all. Freud might have something to say about that, but I merely quote the wise person who noted once that the race card is played nowhere near as often (and nearly always is trumped by) the race card card. Good to see that fine tradition extended here today.

Oh, and substantively, your attack on AA was that led to less qualified hires and reduced civility. Substantively, that's undermined by the fact that a) your attack was uncivil and b) as Professor Perry pointed out (she wasn't explicit, but I'll be), she's more qualified for her position than you are. So substantively, I'd say she's exposing a rather clear disdain for the merit principle on your part.

Anonymous said...

Wow, it may interest us to know he has "several Rutgers students" volunteering for his campaign!

This is so very impressive. Several students are willing to help him, but several THOUSAND attend Rutgers University.

It is so difficult to figure out why he feels that there is a lack of civility among the people he works with. Could it be because he responds to any criticism the same way he did here?

Unknown said...

Wow, getting passive-aggressively called out by a longshot candidate for Congress... on the internet. You're moving up in the world, "Mr. Schraub"!

I feel the need to watch Futurama with your eminence, if you will be back at Carleton Saturday and not otherwise occupied accusing anyone you disagree with of racism.