Tuesday, December 16, 2008

New Ranking Method for Nation's Law Schools: How Many Corrupt Officials are Counted Among their Alums

In this era of Stevens, Blagojevich, Spitzer, Fossella, Ney, and so on, it was refreshing when I came across this wholly new spin on law school rankings. As we've seen in the Obama camp, there defninitely seems to be a strong preference for Ivy League backgrounds. But according to the new Moss Law School Rankings, posted over at Concurring Opinions, the Ivys' have some other claims to fame -- or should I say infamy? Anyway, before I explain, here's the unorthodox ranking developed by Scott Moss:

#1: Harvard (7 points)
#2: Yale (4 points)
#3: Tulane (3 points)
#4: NYU (2 points)
#5: Georgetown (2 points)
#5: Cincinnati (2 points)
#5: Rutgers (2 points)
#5: Pepperdine (2 points)
#5: Louisiana State (2 points)
#10: Fordham (1 point)
#10: Washington & Lee (1 point)

And how did he arrive at this ranking, you ask? Well, here's the skinny:

Law schools accrue points by having alumni who were high public officials convicted, or simply forced to leave office, following criminal or otherwise serious unlawful misconduct they allegedly committed while in office in the 1990s or 2000s. [Footnote: I carefully say “alleged” so nobody on this list should sue Dan Solove, Concurring Opinions LLC, or (especially) me.] A law school gets four points for a President, two points for a Governor or Senator, and one point for a member of Congress or non-Gubernatorial high statewide official. Here is the list I compiled:

• Harvard: Gov. Elliot Spitzer (NY) (prostitution; possibly abuse of state police resources); Rep. William Jefferson (LA) (bribes); Sen. Ted Stevens (AK) (bribes); Sen. Brock Adams (WA) (sexual harassment)
• Tulane: Sen. David Vitter (LA) (prostitution); Rep. Robert Livingston (LA) (prostitution)
• Yale: Pres. Bill Clinton (perjury, and a number of other things that may or may not have been illegal)
• NYU: Sen. Bob Packwood (OR) (sexual harassment)
• Georgetown: Gov. Don Siegelman (AL) (bribery)
• Washington & Lee: Chief Judge Sol Wachtler (NY) (criminal threats related to extramarital affair)
• Fordham: Rep. Vito Fossella (NY) (DWI while visiting child from extramarital affair )
• U.Cincinnati: Gov. Robert Taft (OH) (illegal campaign contributions)
• Rutgers: Sen. Bob Toricelli (NJ) (illegal campaign contributions)
• Pepperdine: Gov. Rod Blagojevich (IL) (bribes; misuse of government funds to try to punish political opponents; etc.)
• Louisiana State: Gov. Edwin Edwards (bribes)

Kudos for such strong showings not only to Harvard but also to the Louisiana schools (alleged crimes by three notable public officials who attended law schools in the state), which reminds me that I’m surprised no New Jersey schools ranked higher. Condolences to Stanford, Columbia, and U.Chicago for lacking any presence on this list; I’m sure there are many other fine ranking systems that reflect some other strengths of your schools.

This is just a comparative ranking among law schools, not evidence that law schools produce public corruption. Here is a short list of non-lawyers who otherwise would qualify: Gov. John Rowland (CT); Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham; Rep. Rick Renzi; Rep. Dan Rostenkowski; Rep. Mark Foley; Rep. James Traficant; Sen. Larry Craig; Gov. Fife Symington (AZ).
Gives you a whole new perspective on what it means to be #1, doesn't it?? Brilliant!

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