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Laurence Tribe, leading constitutional law prof, critical of law blogs

August 20, 2006

In an email to Adam Liptak at the New York Times and now posted at Balkinization, Harvard Law Professor, Laurence Tribe, slammed the validity of law blogs.

The Times story was on legal experts who were critical of a federal judge’s reasoning and rhetoric, not the ultimate ruling, in finding the National Security Agency surveillance program to be unlawful. Lawyers and blogs cited in the article include:

And this low blow from Tribe:

My point isn’t that judges who play the role Judge Taylor did should never be held to account for the shoddy quality of their legal analysis; of course they should, especially in the context of sober second thoughts offered in law reviews and other scholarly venues.

Ann Althouse, a Wisconsin Law Professor and well respected blogger, let Tribe have it.

Could you put that in plain English? Are you saying the law professors who dared to engage with the opinion and scrutinize it on their blogs were mainly showing off and trying to further our careers? Are you saying that ordinary people who don’t read law reviews and who are trying to understand current events shouldn’t have the benefit of law professors helping them understand an important new case, that we’re distracting them from their proper job of despising the President?

Tribe has always had an air of elitism to him. This will not serve him well in concluding that bloggers do not deserve the respect of mainstream media and law reviews. Especially in the case of law professors who are his equal and of his intellect.

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