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Massachusetts School Of Law Dean Assails Nomination Of Elena Kagan To The United States Supreme Court.
Friday, 14 May 2010 05:33
by Sherwood Ross

Massachusetts School of Law Dean Lawrence Velvel is of the opinion that Elena Kagan should not have been nominated to the Supreme Court.
Kagan is the former Dean of Harvard Law School and she was chosen to join the High Court by President Barack Obama, a Harvard Law School graduate, despite the taint of having taken little or no action against two renowned Harvard law professors who plagiarized and/or, perhaps even worse, had parts or much of their books ghostwritten by students while taking sole credit for the works.
Dean Kagan and President Lawrence Summers (the former president of Harvard University when Kagan was dean of the law school) did little or nothing against two famous liberal Harvard Law professors who engaged in serious misconduct,” said Velvel, who is liberal himself.  “Plagiarism and/or having your works ghostwritten is a major academic sin. It is a method of fraudulently taking all-important academic credit yourself for work done by others.  This may be okay for politicians or corporate presidents, who use speech writers, but it is verboten in the academic world.  And Harvard throws out students or other faculty members who engage in it.
“The actions -- or inactions -- by Kagan and Summers represented the kind of self protection and self aggrandizement of the east coast elite of the Boston-New York-Washington axis that began around 1960,” said Velvel.  “Going to Harvard, Yale or Princeton became the method of advancement.  Competence and honesty, especially honesty, took a back seat.  When you look at the disasters of American life from Viet Nam through Iraq, Afghanistan and the recent economic meltdown, one form or another of dishonesty -- from outright lies to suppression of information -- always was a major facilitator.”
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?”

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hjp said:

Being a graduate from an Ivy League school is not a negative. The negative is that the Supreme Court is losing Educational Diversity amongst its members. A very simple example could be vanilla ice cream. Everyone likes vanilla ice cream. The problem arises when you limit your diet exclusively to vanilla ice cream. You get lots of calcium, but you lose out on all of the other needed vitamins and minerals to live a healthy productive life. The same can be said about losing the diversity of knowledge and diverse perspectives that people from other institutions can provide. The majority of the Supreme Court Judges should not be Ivy League graduates.

I am of the opinion that Supreme Court decisions may be considered biased, due to their common Ivy League education, and they are engaging in discrimination, by limiting the Court to Ivy League Graduates.

The following applies to Kagan, just as it did to Sotomajor.

This editorial was created by 160 Associated Press readers under a Creative Commons Share-Alike Attribution License 3.0 using MixedInk's collaborative writing tool. For more about how it was created, see here. It can be republished only if accompanied by this note.

Obamas Appointment of Sotomayor Fails to Offer Educational Diversity to Court.

Sotomayor does not offer true diversity to our Supreme Court. The potential power of Sotomayor's diversity as a Latina Woman, from a disadvantaged background, loses its strength because her Yale Law degree does not offer educational diversity to the current mix of sitting Judges. Once she walked through the Gates of Princeton and then Yale Law School she became educated by the same Professors that have educated the majority of our current Supreme Court Justices, and our Presidents.

Diversity in education is extremely important. We need to look for diversity in our ideas, and if our leaders are from the same educational background, they lose the original power of their ethnic and gender diversity. The ethnic and gender diversity many of our current leaders possess no longer brings a plethora of new ideas, only the same perspective they learned from their common Ivy League education. One example of the common education problem is that Yale has been heavily influenced by a former lecturer at Yale, Judge Frank, who developed the philosophy of Legal Realism. Frank argued that Judges should not only look at the original intent of the Constitution, but they should also bring in outside influences, including their own experiences in order to determine the law. This negative interpretation has influenced both Conservatives and Liberals graduating from Yale. It has been said that Legal Realism has infested Yale Law School and turned lawyers into political activists.

A generation of appointees with either a Harvard or Yale background, has the potential to distort the proper interpretation of our Constitution. America needs to decentralize the power structure away from the Ivy League educated individual and gain from the knowledgeable and diverse perspectives that people from other institutions can provide. We should appoint Supreme Court Justices educated from amongst a wider group of Americas Universities.

Harvard -

Chief Justice John Roberts
Anthony Kennedy
Antonin Scalia
Stephen Breyer
Ruth Bader Ginsburg (Harvard, Columbia)


Samuel Alito - Yale JD 1975
David Souter
Clarence Thomas - Yale JD 1974
Sonia Sotomayor - Yale JD 1979

Northwestern Law School.

Justice John Paul Stevens

The Presidents we have elected for the last twenty years, have themselves been Harvard or Yale educated. This has the potential to create an even more closed minded interpretation of our laws.

Yale - Bush Sr. - 4 years
Yale Law - Clinton - 8 years
Yale - Bush, Jr. - 8 Years
Harvard Law - Obama - 4 - 8 years

When we consider that our Nation has potentially twenty - eight years of Presidential influence from these two Universities, as Americans, we should look long and hard at the influence Yale and Harvard have exerted on our nation's policies. Barack Obama promised America Change, but he has continued the same discriminatory policy by appointing a Yale graduate over many qualified candidates that graduated from other top Colleges and Universities in America.
May 16, 2010
Votes: +0

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