Even LawProfs Can Have the Occasional Character Flaw...
The Scamblogs have been accused more than once of being "unethical" as regards their position that Law School is, well, a scam for many, many, many, many well-intentioned people. This has certainly raised the ire of some, as, frankly, who likes being called out on their own, ah, ahem, "deplorable" behavior? Thank goodness that some LawProfs like Stephen Lubet, who actually study ethics, are willing to confront his fellow LawProfs:
As a liberal Democrat, I have no sympathy for Conway’s habitual disregard for truth. As a professor of legal ethics, however, I think this [ethics] complaint is dangerously misguided and has the potential to set a terrible precedent...[f]irst, the complaint keys in on two specific statements, neither of which had any connection to Conway’s law license...it might be different if she had been acting in an official capacity, which could be construed broadly as related to the practice of law, but she is a political adviser to Trump with no governmental responsibility. Political debate is protected by the First Amendment, even when it strays into questionable territory, and it should not be the job of the bar authorities to police the exaggerations and misstatements of politicians just because they happen to be lawyers.
While I hardly want to draw a comparison between the scamblogs and Kellyanne Conway, or frankly just about any politician of any stripe, Lubet cuts through the tangle to the heart of the issue. Nor would I consider the means and methods scamblogs employ as "exaggerations and misstatements" - we may use humor, or sarcasm, or stinging rebukes, but we are not in the business of hucksterism. We do get accused of bending the truth, which is rather funny considering all the truth-bending engaged in by the academy - but I digress.
But the worst outcome would occur if the professors’ complaint were actually to succeed. Imposing discipline on Conway—even the mildest slap on the wrist—would inevitably lead to a slew of new complaints against attorneys involved in public debate. Lawyer-candidates in the 2016 election cycle included Hillary Clinton, Tim Kaine, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Chris Christie, Rick Santorum, Lindsey Graham, and Martin O’Malley, with many others in Senate and House races...[e]ach of these candidates presumably could have been subject to a bar complaint by a disgruntled adversary...[e]very statement by a candidate or spokesperson [would then be] potential fodder for a politically motivated disciplinary complaint.
Luckily, the politically-motivated ethics complaint against one of our own was dismissed for more-or-less the same analysis. And we are not politicians at the national stage, though we hope our message has some degree of national effect. It is indeed unfortunate that many within the academy apparently don't have the discipline to refrain from such tactics those criticized by Lubet. Moving on:
The professors recognize that bar complaints about public speech can "lead to mischief and worse" but argue that Conway, as counselor to the president, has a "higher obligation" than other lawyers to avoid dishonest statements. I think this gets it exactly backward. Speech is most strongly protected when it is part of a robust political debate...Justice Louis Brandeis once said that the remedy for bad speech is more speech. Likewise, the best remedy for alternative facts should be real facts.
Wouldn't it be interesting if scambloggers lodged ethics complaints against ScamDeans and LawProfs for concealing material information, issuing misleading statements, and the like? Wouldn't that raise it's own kind of pearl-clutching condemnation of "mischief and worse"? Apparently it's ethics for thee, but not for me, when it comes to some members of the academy. And if one thing has been clearly demonstrated by the scamblogs over the years, Law Schools in particular are tremendous fans of their own pet "alternative facts," especially where employment outcomes and job projections are concerned. Thank goodness that the right of free-speech is being upheld by the academy, even when some facts are not to their liking, because vigorous debate is a cornerstone of our democracy, or something. I mean, who would want to engage in speech-chilling behavior, just to protect their own egos, amirite?
Yes, indeed. Onward into 2017, friends! Your comments and support are part of what brings the truth to light, and we appreciate your involvement. Here's hoping more and more continue to listen in the months and years ahead.