Trump’s Bias Towards Elite Law Schools

Trump’s Bias Towards Elite Law Schools

Yesterday, Trump was on TV News telling has core that they are the Elite. Or at least Trump, because he is rich and has a bigger yacht. We know Trump feeds the conservative rural areas by claiming to be the candidate who is not the elite. Now, he wants a Supreme Court nominee who is from the Elite law schools: Harvard and Yale.

Trump himself graduated from the Wharton School of the U. Of Pennsylvania. The U. Of Pennsylvania is a member of the Ivy League Eight noted for its academic excellence and social elitism.

I know of two lawyers from Yale: President Bill Clinton, who Trump’s party impeached for telling a single lie, and Secretary Hillary Clinton, for whom Trump encourages his audience to chant “Lock Her Up”, without Due Process.

Being a Western academic (but certainly not elite) I wish that Trump would consider other law schools also, such as UC Berkeley, or Stanford Law, or even UCI Law faculty, since our graduates are still young.

One way to look at this problem, is to see where Trump’s own lawyers, and his White House lawyers come from. Let’s start with his personal lawyer, Michael Cohen. According to Fortune, Cohen went to a “Uniquely Awful” law school, Michigan’s Thomas M. Cooley Law. Cooley’s founder has disturbing views on race and religion. Politico picked Cooley Law as America’s worst law school. It accepts 85% of its applicants. The ABA has threatened the school’s accreditation.

Trump’s legal mentor, Roy Cohn, was from Columbia University. That is not connected to his role in the Army McCarthy hearings as chief counsel.

Trump’s current lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, got his JD at New York University. He prosecuted the Mafia, and was Mayor of NY City. No problems there.

Trump’s appointee for Attorney General, Jeff (Maximum Penalty) Sessions got his law degree from the University of Alabama. He was appointed US attorney for the Southern District of Alabama, and then US attorney by President Ronald Reagan. His nomination for the US District court was rejected by some charges related to racism. He was elected attorney general of Alabama in 1994, and became a US Senator in 1996. He opposed all liberal acts.

Harvard Law had 20 attendee Justices, and 16 graduates. They include the present justices Anthony Kennedy, Elena Kagan, Ruth Bader Ginsburg (who attended, but graduated from Columbia), Chief Justice John Roberts, and Neil Gorsuch. Justice Steven Breyer received an LL.B. From Harvard, and taught Law there from 1967 to 1994. Past Justice Antonin Scalia graduated from Harvard Law.

Yale Law has 10 alumni and 8 graduates in Supreme Court Justices. Current Justices Samuel Alito, Sonia Sotomayor, and Clarence Thomas are Yale Law graduates.

Columbia Law School has 7 alumni and 4 graduates which were or are Justices, including Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

So currently, we have Harvard 5, Yale 3, and Columbia 1 on the present court.

Many other Law Schools educated other Justices.

Stanford Law had Sandra Day O’Connor and Chief Justice William Rehnquist, and is ranked #2 in the US News law schools.

UC Berkeley School of Law had Chief Justice Earl Warren, and is tied for #9 in the US News law schools.

In the US News ranking of law schools, Yale is #1, Stanford #2, Harvard #3, U. Chicago #4, Columbia U. #5, NYU #6, U. Pennsylvania #7, U. Michigan-Ann Arbor #8, and UC Berkeley tied with U. Virginia for #9. For other California Law schools, UCLA is #16, USC #19, UC Irvine #21, UC Davis tied for #37, and UC Hastings #58.

One of the criticisms of the Court is its lack of diversity in law schools. California has more progressive laws in Environmental Protection, Climate Change Prevention, Progressive Income Taxing, Gun Control, Equal Rights, and other areas. The Supreme Court could use our justices’ input in these much needed areas. California is the largest State, with 1/8 the population of the US, and is the fifth largest World Economy.

About Dennis SILVERMAN

I am a retired Professor of Physics and Astronomy at U C Irvine. For a decade I have been active in learning about energy and the environment, and in lecturing and attending classes at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at UC Irvine.
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