CPRC at Fox News: If you want to see academics making fools of themselves, look at Jeff Sessions’ confirmation hearings

24 Jan , 2017  

Dr. John Lott has a new op-ed piece at Fox News on the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing Wednesday regarding Senator Jeff Sessions.  Unfortunately, Senator Dianne Feinstein delayed the vote on Sessions citing concerns about his views on women.  The piece below addresses the objections to Sessions views on women as well as other Democrat attacks.

The headline on the front page of the Washington Post sure sounded impressive: “More than 1,100 law school professors nationwide oppose Sessions’s nomination as attorney general.” Since then, the total has increasedto 1,424 faculty members from 180 law schools in 49 different states.

With Senate Judiciary committee getting ready to vote on Senator Jeff Sessions’ confirmation today, the letter is being used as Exhibit A for many liberals arguing that experts view Sessions as unqualified and outside the mainstream.

But with 17,080 faculty members nationwide, perhaps the real question is why there were so few signers. Only 8.3 percent of faculty members signed the letter.

Given that 82 percent of law professors identified themselves as Democrats in 2010, one can infer that only about 10 percent of Democrat professors signed the letter.

From 1991 to 2002, over 23 percent of law professors at the top 20 law schools contributed at least $200 exclusively or mostly to Democrats. By contrast, just 4 percent of law professors were active Republican donors. Assuming that over 23 percent figure has held true today (and given the inordinate hatred for Trump, this might be an underestimate), just a third of active donors to Democrats signed the letter.

The letter itself is written vaguely to maximize signatures. There is a regurgitation of charges made in 1986 that Sessions was “prejudice[d] against African Americans.” It continues: “Some of us have concerns about … his consistent promotion of the myth of voter-impersonation fraud … his support for building a wall along our country’s southern border … his robust support for regressive drug policies that have fueled mass incarceration … his repeated opposition to legislative efforts to promote the rights of women and the members of the LGBTQ community.”

The faculty members could disagree with all of these points and still be able to sign the letter. Indeed, it is hard to find any other letter signed by academics (and there are a lot of them) that offers so many escape clauses for signers. But the goal was to get signatures, not to provide a coherent argument against Sessions.

The charges themselves are absurd.

Take their first claim. Only liberal academics would believe that “voter-impersonation fraud” is a myth. . . .

The rest of the piece is available here.


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