Sunday, May 30, 2004

You are entitled to your political opinion...

Posted from eMail to the Dean:
Dear Dr. Level:

You are entitled to your political opinion and you definitely have a right to place this on the internet. My problem is not with you[r] positions (as I agree with so it myself). My problem is that I received this email from you, either through a Latin American Studies Association, The American Sociological Association or American Society of Criminologts listserve. All of which are enaged in the study of society. I do not know how your BLOG came to be on these association's listserves. My reply was not to you, but intended as direct reply to whoever placed this posting on one of these listserves (If it was you who did post this, then my reply was meant for you. If you please let me know which listserve you posted this on I will unsuscribe immediately).

Clearly, your posting was based upon conjecture, as you made no effort to provide any resemblance of objective fact. Instead, like so much leftist and rightist ranting and raving found on all mediums, it leads us nowhere in understanding any of these issues.

I guess the old saying is true, that unless you know who your adience is, you should not politics [ideology or religion [theology]. I [understand] that there is place for activism in this world, but like the immenent scholar Max Weber, I believe that it should be seperated from the scientific investigation of society. Thus, my issue with your opinions bering voiced but instead my objection rests with presenting your opinions on a medium that can be construed as scientific. There are other venues throughout many mediums of communication (on the web and off), were this would be appropriate.

Ultimately, I would not like this fulfilling up my email account and not having my time wasted by hearing extremist ramblings of the left and the right.


Friday, May 28, 2004

Re: Your E-mail of May 28, 2004

Dear Professor Clark:

I am sorry you feel that what you received from me is “political leftist crap” and “left/right bantering,” and apparently feel as well that it can have nothing to do with “realist, real world solutions to complex issues such as prison abuse, terrorism, state-centered and non-centered violence.” I would have thought that discussions of and suggestions for media inquiry and writing about the subjects which have been taken up in my blog are not mere leftist crap or partisan political bantering, and do relate to trying to learn the truth about and solve problems regarding “prison abuse, terrorism, state-centered and non-centered violence.” Or do you disagree about the importance, and suggestions for consideration, of such subjects as deliberate, widespread and possibly criminal circumventions of the Geneva Conventions and the laws of war, the use of torture to aid in simultaneously fighting two major wars, one in Iraq and one against terrorists, the use of private contractors to abuse prisoners, the fact that various prison abuses in Iraq are practiced in American prisons, the actions of the Department of Justice in creating approaches designed to try to deliberately circumvent the Geneva Conventions, the failure to release videos and still pictures because they tell people the truth in a way that otherwise is not as well understood, arguing to the Supreme Court that it should rule there can be no federal court jurisdiction over Guantanamo trials because the American government would never mistreat people, while in fact the government is violently mistreating and even killing them, and the possibility that America has a president who is seriously deficient in acumen?

Do you really think these subjects do not relate to prison abuse, terror and violence? Or is your real complaint something else entirely: to wit, that politically you disagree so violently with the views expressed in the blog, and find them so intolerable, that you are attempting to put them outside the pale of respectable discussion by calling them names -- by calling them “political leftist crap,” “left/right bantering” and so on. That kind of maneuver -- i.e., trying to bury views by attempting to put them outside the pale of respectable discussion -- is, of course, one of the oldest tricks in the book. And, in this country, as opposed to leftist nations (particularly communist ones), it is a maneuver that historically has been practiced by the political right, from the mid 19th century south, which banned antislavery expression, to the right wing of the Republican Party in the 21st century.

Or is your problem something else entirely -- is it that somehow you mistakenly think my blog and email are connected with some sort of “association” for “science” that you allude to?

Whatever your problem may be, I would like you to know that you are perfectly welcome to contribute views which differ from my own to the blog. And because your e-mail rather vigorously expresses such views, I intend to post it on the blog and send it via e-mail to recipients, unless you inform me that you wish me not to do so. I also intend to post this reply on the blog and to send it via e-mail regardless of whether or not you nix the posting and sending of your own missive. You, of course, will then be entitled to write a response to this letter for identical posting and emailing.

Sincerely yours,

Lawrence R. Velvel
Massachusetts School of Law

Please do not fill my email up with this political leftist crap

Posted from eMail sent to the Dean:
Please do not fill my email up with this political leftist crap. I am aware of these issues as well as the left and the rights views on this. I was hoping this listserve would be concerned with social science issues, and thus was hoping anything I would receieve would not focus on left/right bantering.

Instead we should consider realist, real world solutions to complex issues such as prison abuse, terrorism, state-centered and non-centered violence.

If this is what this association passes for science, I may have to reconsider membership.

Tim [C----]

Thursday, May 27, 2004

Bush, like Reagan, is not a stupid man

Posted from eMail to the Dean:
Dear Dean Velvel,

Thank you so much for sharing your insights about the war crimes perpetrated by the Bush administration. You are right on target.

I would however differ a bit regarding the Bush-as-Dumb thesis. It was the same defense used by Reagan during Iran-contra: I was asleep at the switch, gee, I didnt keep tabs of things, duh...etc

In fact, in my view, Bush, like Reagan, is not a stupid man. He flubs words and sentences, so did Reagan and Eisenhower. He sometimes defers to subordinates, as has every president including Nixon and Kennedy.

He is ill-informed at times. But he has the intelligence of a rat. He knows where his interests lie. He picks the right people who know what reactionary course to take on all fronts, be it global interventionism, the undermining of public school funding, the elimination of environmental protections, the appointment of judges, the undermining of Medicare (while seeming to be bolstering it), etc., etc. He is performing "brilliantly" and we are getting screwed royally. I wish the Dems had a leader who was as ruthlessly and effectively dumb as Bush. In fact, now that I think of it, they probably do, alas.

With every good wish and appreciation for all your work,

Prior Questions About Iraq. Plus, Is Bush Dumb?

Dear Colleagues:

I. Previous Questions About Iraq, And New Information About Them

In the first two weeks of May, before much that is now known about the prison abuse scandal had become known, a number of specific questions were raised in this blog, as was the more general suggestion that the media should investigate and discuss them. Here, for example, are some of the questions, and some of the additional information uncovered by the press since the posting earlier in May.

• The question was raised as to whether the abuses at Abu Ghraib were “imported” from Guantanamo. It is now known that abusive practices were used not just at Guantanamo, but in Afghanistan and at still secret places all over the world, some of which even consist, apparently, of big shipping containers sited abroad. Even the heads of the Congressional intelligence committees are not told where these places are. Also, though it was somewhat known then, it is now know to a greater extent that prisoners are given to Syria, Jordan, Egypt and Morocco to be tortured.

• It was suggested that the Pentagon’s chief Rummy, plus some generals, plus Bush, did not care about torture or where people were sent, because their goal was to get information in order to ward off terrorist attacks and save soldiers’ lives, and how the information was extracted from prisoners was not a matter of concern to any of these people. At this point, it is ever more clear that all of this is true (albeit the full extent of Bush’s precise knowledge, assuming he is capable of precise knowledge, is still not entirely clear).

• The legal memoranda of CIA lawyers and of the once August but now dishonorable Department of Justice, supposedly justifying the use of torture, were called corrupt. This has been increasingly established, as information and informed opinion increasingly make clear that the memos pandered to the desire of Bush, the chief Rummy, Wolfo and generals not to have to adhere to the Geneva Conventions.

• It was suggested that the military was hiding more pictures and videos, lest the Government’s political situation become even worse because one picture is worth scores of thousands of words. (Also, faces could be blocked out in still pictures and videos to avoid humiliation to individuals). That this is true has become ever more obvious. (One curious and, one would think, unlikely fact about the corrupt DOJ memos, incidentally, is that one or some of them were written by a fellow whose permanent position is as a law professor at Berkeley, one of the most politically correct universities in the country.)

It is obviously necessary for the press to continue investigating and discussing these matters (about which The Washington Post, as with Watergate, seems to largely be beating the competition). But there were other suggestions made here in the first part of May that still have not received much discussion in the media, yet should be inquired into and discussed. Here are some examples:

• The Government has insisted to the Supreme court that it must be allowed to try the Guantanamo prisoners by military tribunal and that federal courts cannot properly handle these cases. Is one of the reasons for this insistence the fact that the Government knows that the evidence from and against defendants was obtained by torture, and therefore would be thrown out in federal courts, so that convictions cannot be obtained there?

• George Bush certainly knew enough (both through Albert Gonzalez and otherwise) to be aware that methods of interrogation were being used that violated the Geneva rules. Yet he did nothing to stop it. Rather, he quite obviously desired it because he wanted information to be extracted. Isn’t he therefore guilty of participating in a criminal conspiracy (along with the chief Rummy, Wolfo, various generals, etc.) to violate the laws of war, not to mention being involved in a conspiracy to commit possible war crimes or crimes against humanity? Why isn’t the media investigating and discussing this obvious and important question?

Bush, of course, would rely on the corrupt legal memos from the DOJ and the CIA to justify his actions or at least to “immunize” him from prosecution. But these pandering pieces of paper are no better than the legal opinions relied on by tax cheats and securities law violators. (Bush apparently has some personal experience with possible securities law violations.) Increasingly those pimped - up opinions do not protect these people, and the corruptly pandering memos that Bush would rely on should stand no better. This is only the more true because the pimped-up memos relied on by Bush apparently use transparent dodges such as that, regardless of the truth, the Geneva Conventions do not apply if we simply say they don’t, or people are not prisoners of war if we simply say they aren’t -- all of which is like you or I taking the position that our cold blooded killing of someone we don’t like is not murder, and the law against murder does not apply to us, if we simply say it is not murder to kill someone you don’t like.

So I ask again: Why isn’t the media investigating the question of whether Bush was involved in a conspiracy to violate the Geneva Conventions and the laws of war? In this regard, it is interesting, is it not, that there apparently were some high military lawyers who opposed what was being done? Not everyone was deliberately blind, deaf and dumb.

New Question: Is Bush Simply Dumb?

It sounds badly to the ear, and reads badly to the eye, to say in person or in writing that a President is dumb. The media avoids this, so for a long time The New York Times has used the euphemism “incurious” when speaking of George W. Bush. Lately, however, some members of the media have begun to use the word “incompetent” when speaking of the Administration generally. Incompetence often, if not usually, starts at the top and, of course, is often the result of being dumb. Therefore, I should think that the time is long past due to give up our verbal politeness and politesse -- which every day, as we learn more and more, is more and more out of sync with obvious reality -- and to say or at least ask questions about what might be the awful truth: the American people elected, or, more accurately, the Supreme Court appointed, a dumb person as President.

There is much that could cause one to ask how anyone could doubt this lack of acumen. The media (and books?) are filled with stories of how the man sits at meetings without saying anything. How many corporate board chairmen or university presidents or others in a like position sit at meetings and say nothing? -- they wouldn’t be board chairmen or university presidents if they did this. He apparently thought he could fool Americans indefinitely with falsehoods about the real reason(s) why we were going to war. Would anyone but a dumb person think this -- especially after living through Viet Nam? He indulged the most bizarre assumptions about what would happen in Iraq, and neither he nor the Chief Rummy nor Wolfo would listen to anyone who thought differently (e.g., Lindsey, Shinseki). He is in charge of an Administration that lacked anything that could properly be called planning for post war Iraq and now finds itself having to try to enlist its international opponents (France and Germany) and the enemies it fought in Iraq itself (Baathists, militias). Is this dumb or what? Before becoming President he was a serious alcoholic and a serial failure in business who had to repeatedly be bailed out by Daddy’s friends or wannabe friends -- serial failure in business equipped him to be President? (Not to mention the possible SEC violations that Daddy’s SEC was not about to prosecute). Despite being educated at Andover, Yale and Harvard, he was (and is?) tongue tied to the point of inarticulateness when not reading prepared remarks. Though he is a national and international leader who needs to know things in order to try to avoid terrible mistakes, he apparently eschews reading, although, as Harry Truman so sagely said, there is nothing new under the sun except the history that you don’t know, and apparently also said, or at least believed, that not all readers can be leaders, but all leaders must be readers. He is a fundamentalist and, like so many fundamentalists of any and all religions, arrogantly thinks that his way is the only way and that all people who think differently are immoral or evil (such as people who want to use stem cell research to save lives?).

How could any half-way objective person think that this background and this combination of traits do not raise the question of whether the President is a dumb person? Yet the media has from the start given George W. Bush a free pass on the question of his basic intelligence, or lack thereof, just as it gave Bill Clinton a free pass on Gennifer Flowers and on serial immorality when he ran for President. A free pass! Considering the awful trouble which has arisen under Bush’s “stewardship,” and considering that lack of basic competence, foresight and acumen are so heavily responsible for this trouble, isn’t it long past time that the media began to raise the fundamental question of Bush’s intelligence or lack thereof? Are we supposed to possibly get four more years of someone who gives sign after sign of possibly being quite a dumb person who creates disasters and whose decisions have led to evil, without anyone raising the question of his basic intelligence because, in American society, politeness and politesse demand that it not be raised?

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free..."

Reproduced with permission of Richard Sanford Dewey, Professor of Sociology, Emeritus:

I liked the contents of your letter of May 21 [an eMail, but posted here on May 17], and believe that you would agree with Thomas Jefferson’s observation that “If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.” The current muddle- headedness of both advocates and opponents of same-sex unions is illustrative of the price paid for the pervasive ignorance of the difference between social psychological and sociological phenomena. We sociologists have been so busy collecting, statisticizing, and publishing carloads of facts in pursuit of promotions in academic rank and salary that we have had neither the time, the energy, nor the will to teach what sociology is all about. Given the dominance of the American universities’ policy of “Publish — or attract off-campus money — or perish”, I see little chance that colleges and universities are soon to offer the kinds of knowledge needed if the nation is to be free. Until they do, I see a great need for professional schools — law, journalism, etc.— to equip their graduates with the requisite knowledge. The basics of the social sciences are, of course, not unrelated to the problems you list in your letter.

The essence of my idea is encapsulated in the demonstrable fact that the phrase “a liberally educated boor, bore, bigot, or terrorist” is an oxymoron. A few well planned seminars can assure your graduates that they will recognize as errors pronouncements such as Chief Justice Margaret H. Marshall’s demonstrable misperception of the institution of marriage as a social psychological phenomenon as “the exclusive and permanent [sic] commitment of marriage partners to one another”. This is comparable to a physiologist attempting to redefine the function of the kidneys as respiratory.

I will be interested in your evaluation of the suggestion that there is room in our school’s curriculum for seminars in the basics of social science, particularly social psychology and sociology.

Richard Sanford Dewey
Professor of Sociology, Emeritus
191 Packers Falls Road
Durham, NH 03824

Department of Sociology

Friday, May 14, 2004

The LSAT and Affirmative Action

Dear Colleagues:

It has recently been learned that the (low) numbers and percentages of African Americans and Chicanos declined somewhat from 1998 to 2003. This fact apparently was disclosed at a midyear conference of an allied organization by an official of the Law School Admissions Council (“LSAC”), which sponsors the LSAT.

The decline occurred before and during the period that various legal education groups, whose personnel often are incestuously tied in with the LSAC, were persuading the Supreme Court in the Michigan Law School case that continued affirmative action is needed for diversity in law schools. I read a number of their briefs, but do not recollect them telling the Supreme Court (much less emphasizing to it) that the numbers of blacks and Chicanos in law school were in the process of declining under the regime of affirmative action which they so strongly favored. One inevitably wonders whether this apparent omission was a method of deliberately withholding an unpalatable truth from the Court by failing to tell it facts which would show that truth. Or is my memory incorrect?: That is, did legal organizations, e.g., the American Bar Association, tell the Court that the numbers of blacks and Chicanos were declining under the affirmative action favored by the ABA, but I just don’t remember this?

It is unpalatable to liberals, and to the minority leaders who exemplify what might be called “professional race men,” to recognize that for a long time affirmative action has not been a method of getting an adequate number of minorities into law schools. Rather, it has been a band-aid used to get small numbers of African Americans into some schools, especially the so-called “elite” law schools, in order to compensate to a small extent for the fact that the law schools’ method of selecting students keeps most African Americans out of law schools. The law schools place very heavy, often overwhelming, emphasis on the extremely questionable LSAT in their admissions processes. Were it not for this emphasis -- born in major degree of a desire to be “elite” -- there would be plenty of African Americans and Chicanos in law schools. They would be in law schools without need of using the band-aid of affirmative action to try to minimally compensate for the fact that stress on the LSAT generally keeps them out.

The point I am making here is one that the Massachusetts school of Law made in a short amicus curiae brief filed in support of neither side in the Michigan Law School case. As far as I know, MSL was the only party or amicus to inform the Court of the truth under discussion. Ironically, the only two Justices to pick up on the idea, whether because of MSL’s brief, or much more likely, for other and perhaps not very admirable reasons entirely, were two who are rabid conservatives and who, it may be thought, have cared the least for minority rights in the Michigan case or elsewhere even though one of them is himself a minority. (That, of course, is Thomas. The other was -- you guessed it -- Scalia.) The rest of the Court was bamboozled by the many briefs desperately urging affirmative action upon it as the only remedy for a lack of minority students.

I have set forth below excerpts from the amicus brief filed by MSL in the Michigan Law School case. The excerpts develop more fully the idea, the reasons, and the terrible societal consequences of the fact that the law schools’ heavy reliance on the very dubious LSAT results in a dearth of minority law students.

Sincerely yours,

Lawrence R. Velvel

For the complete version of the below excerpted text, please click here.

The Massachusetts School of Law (“MSL”) takes no position on the outcome of this case. MSL submits this amicus brief solely to assist the Court in understanding why law schools have found it necessary to use affirmative action in their admissions practices in order to enroll minority students. We emphasize that affirmative action has been considered necessary because use of the LSAT as a major tool of law school admissions – indeed as the major tool of law school admissions -- results in a decreased pool of Aqualified@ minority applicants and in reduced admissions of minorities. We also briefly discuss other practices that decrease the pool of minority applicants. The facts we present can appropriately be considered relevant, on one side and the other, to the question of whether a compelling state interest supports the use of affirmative action by law schools and to whether, as a general matter, affirmative action is tailored to provide racial minorities with legal education and entrance into the profession.
MSL was founded, and is dedicated, to providing legal education to racial and ethnic minorities, members of the working class, immigrants, and persons in mid-life. It was thus founded and is devoted to providing education to persons who, as shown in this very case with regard to minorities, were not and are not receiving legal education in sufficient numbers.
The type of affirmative action practiced by the University of Michigan Law School, and at issue in this case, is one that has been necessitated in significant part by the numbers-oriented admissions tools used by most law schools, especially the schools' heavy focus on the LSAT. Perhaps no other tool used in graduate school admissions has come under such attack in recent years as the LSAT, which for many decades has been the only admissions test approved by the ABA's Section of Legal Education.
A. The Belief That Diversity Is Necessary In Law Schools Because A High Percentage Of American Leaders Are Attorneys.
It is by now widely, but not universally, believed that racial, ethnic and economic diversity in student bodies at institutions of higher education is beneficial both to the academic institutions and to society as a whole. Moreover, it is felt that the need for diversity in law schools and the legal profession is as or more important than in any other field. For it is an undeniable fact that, more than any other profession, lawyers fill the ranks of leadership in this country. The legal profession has supplied more than half of our presidents, more than half of our senators, almost half of our state governors, and more than one-third of our federal congressional representatives.[2] One entire branch of our tripartite federal and state governments -- the judiciary -- is by necessity comprised, with few exceptions, of those trained in the legal profession. Lawyers play a leading role in major public and private universities, often serving as presidents (as was the case with the former President of the University of Michigan, Lee Bollinger, who headed the University when this case was brought). They often head or are important actors in corporations, are very active in real estate investment, and are major figures in non-profit organizations. To deny minorities access to legal education -- to a major avenue of advancement in American society -- is to deny them the right to fully participate in American life.

B. The Long Exclusion of Minorities From Law Schools.
The history of minority admissions to our nation=s law schools and the legal profession is not one of which the legal profession can be proud. For nearly 100 years the ABA, and almost all American law schools accredited by its Section of Legal Education, used rules and practices that excluded the groups that are now the subject of affirmative action plans such as the one at issue in this case. Sometimes the exclusion was the specific purpose of those rules and practices; sometimes it was “only” the inevitable result of them. Either way, exclusion was the order of the day for nearly 100 years.[3]
The ABA itself, and its Section of Legal Education, which accredits law schools, were both founded in major part to insure the exclusion of “undesirables” from the legal profession. See the works cited in n. 3, supra. Among the unwanted were Jews, African-Americans, immigrants, Catholics, Italians, Slavs and women. To further insure that only the desired types could enter the legal profession, in the 1920s the Section of Legal Education began accrediting law schools, using rules and policies that excluded institutions, particularly night schools, that served the unwanted groups. Id. Over the course of the next fifty years, the ABA persuaded almost all state supreme courts and state boards of bar examiners to permit their bar examinations to be taken only by graduates of exclusionary ABA-accredited schools -- only by graduates, that is, of schools which adhered to rules and practices which, sometimes purposely and sometimes “only” by effect, largely excluded African-Americans.
The exclusionary practices of the ABA and ABA-accredited schools were highly successful over the years with regard to African-Americans. No blacks were permitted even to be members of the ABA itself until 1943. See Boyd, supra n. 3, at 101; Brief of American Bar Association as Amicus Curiae to the 6th Cir. Court of Appeals at 3-4. And, until the Civil Rights Revolution of the late 1950s and early 1960s, there were few African-Americans in law schools, except for those in the few historically black law schools such as the Howard University Law School. As late as 1971, at least 12 to 15 years after the beginning of the Civil Rights Revolution, and 17 years after Brown v. Board of Education, total minority enrollment in ABA law schools -- that is, total enrollment of blacks and all other minorities -- was only about five percent. The enrollment of women, who had also been discriminated against in earlier decades, was less than ten percent.[4]

C. Reliance on the LSAT by American Law Schools and by ABA Accreditors.
When the ABA and its Section of Legal Education, as well as many individual law schools, finally decided that it was necessary to reduce the exclusion of blacks and other minorities from law schools, and to attain diversity, they found it very difficult, indeed nearly impossible, to do so. For the accreditation criteria required by the ABA, including admissions criteria approved by the ABA and used by most law schools, made it extraordinarily difficult to attract or to admit blacks and other minorities to ABA schools.[5] For example, for decades the LSAT was the only admissions test approved by the ABA accreditors, who also demanded that schools admit only students with scores sufficiently high to satisfy the accreditors. Yet even the accreditors themselves have long conceded that ABA law schools were placing “undue weight” on the LSAT, and that, because of the test’s discriminatory impact, it should only be used in conjunction with non-numerical factors. Thus, the Section of Legal Education and the Law School Admissions Counsel issued cautionary statements ostensibly warning against misuse and/or over-reliance on the test. See e.g., William C. Kidder, Does the LSAT Mirror or Magnify Racial and Ethnic Differences In Educational Attainment?: A Study of Equally Achieving AElite” College Students, 89 Cal. L. Rev. 1055, 1064-1065 (1999), (discussing a report concluding that the vast majority of ABA-accredited law schools are using the LSAT inappropriately); William C. Kidder, Portia Denied: Unmasking Gender Bias On the LSAT And Its Relationship To Racial Diversity In Legal Education, 12 Yale J.L. & Feminism 1, 20-21 (2000); Eulius Simien, The Law School Admission Test As A Barrier To Almost Twenty Years Of Affirmative Action, 12 Thurgood Marshall L. Rev. 339 (1987). But, despite the ostensibly cautionary statements, the Section of Legal Education has failed to follow its own warning regarding use of the LSAT. The Section has continued to insist on use of the LSAT and on high LSAT scores, and this, combined with law schools’ desire for an “elite” student body, causes the LSAT to be as influential and exclusionary a tool in law school admissions today as ever before.[6] (The exclusionary effect of the LSAT, and of other accreditation rules, has been extensively elaborated in an article by Professor George B. Shepherd of Emory University Law School. The article, entitled No African-American Lawyers Allowed: The Inefficient Racism of the ABA’s Accreditation of Law Schools, is due to be published in The Journal of Legal Education, the “trade publication” of the legal academic world.
We note that the District Court opinion is replete with references to testimony by witnesses who confirmed that use of race-based admissions policies in law schools has been necessitated by the schools’ heavy reliance on numerical criteria, specifically the LSAT. Grutter, 137 F. Supp. 2d at 840-841. The record below, as well as other published studies, confirm that minorities= LSAT scores are consistently lower than those of non-minorities. Color-blind application of numerical criteria such as the LSAT would result in such a low proportion of minorities being admitted to law school that many schools, such as Michigan, have chosen to employ affirmative action programs to try to compensate for the racial discrepancies.
The importance of the LSAT to law school admissions cannot be overstated. It is fair to say that, academically, law schools insist that applicants have high undergraduate grade point averages and high scores on the LSAT, with the LSAT generally being the far more influential of the two requirements. In fact, because of the Section of Legal Education’s insistence on use of and high scores on the LSAT, and because of law schools’ widespread desire to be among the “elite,” the LSAT has become virtually the summum bonum of law school admissions; it usually is the major factor that most schools rely on in making admissions decisions. [7] Most schools even use arbitrary “cut off” scores -- in which the LSAT usually is the major factor -- and will not even consider admitting an applicant who is beneath the “cut off.” And truly tiny differences in LSAT scores -- such as one or two point differences on a scale of 120 to 180 -- will settle a person’s fate adversely with regard to admission to a particular school or even any school. Persons with superior grade point averages are often turned down strictly because of their LSAT scores -- a fate that is distressingly common among African-Americans and other minorities.[8] Schools ignore traits necessary to success in law school and the practice of law, such as diligence, persistence, creativity, ability to write, ability to speak, ability to plan, and ability to work with people.
The District Court said, over the contrary claim of the University of Michigan’s counsel, that the ABA does not require schools to use the LSAT, because the ABA’s formal, written accreditation rules say only that applicants must take “an acceptable test.” Grutter, 137 F. Supp. 2d at 870-71. In theory, the District Court may have been correct, but in practice, it was not. While the ABA’s formal written rules do not require use of the LSAT, the ABA requires this in practice. No school that does not use the LSAT has ever been accredited. For decades it was unquestionable that a school employing an admissions test other than the LSAT (or not using any standardized admissions test) could never hope to become accredited, and it remains at least highly questionable as to whether such a school can even hope to be accredited anytime in the future.
The District Court also said that the ABA does not require law schools to give LSAT scores any particular weight. Grutter, 137 F. Supp. 2d at 871. Again, while correct in theory because the formal rules of accreditation do not mandate any particular LSAT score, this conclusion is not accurate in fact. True, when it comes to schools like Michigan, whose students, minority and non-minority alike, all have high, or at minimum good, LSAT scores, the ABA accreditors do not care what students’ scores are. But when it comes to schools which seek to provide legal education to minorities and the working class, who generally have lower LSAT scores than those of students at schools like Michigan, the ABA accreditors care very much about the students’ LSAT scores. See John A. Sebert, Accreditation Aids All Students, National L.J. A21 (June 25, 2001). If the accreditors’ regard the scores as too low, they will deny accreditation to a school, or will threaten disaccreditation if it previously was accredited. ABA accreditors recently revealed that they generally deny accreditation to schools whose students have an average of less than 143 on the LSAT. Since the average LSAT scores for African-Americans is 142, the accreditors’ concern for the level of LSAT scores makes it very difficult, or actually impossible, for a school that wishes to extensively serve minorities to obtain accreditation. Shepherd, supra at 6, 24-25; See John A. Sebert, Accreditation Aids All Students, National L.J. A21 (June 25, 2001).
We note that there also are other practices which law schools and their accreditors insist upon but which also adversely affect the number of African-Americans who are able to enroll in law school. These practices are Ainput@ rules that require, and measure a law school by whether it is inputting and using, large amounts of expenditures and resources, rather than by whether it is teaching students the skills and techniques they need. These rules – which are being used although Congress unsuccessfully sought the elimination of input rules in its 1998 Amendments to the Higher Education Act[9] -- have driven the costs and tuitions of law schools so high that the average law school graduate now graduates with more than $84,000 in law school debt alone, with law school debt of $100,000 to $140,000 being reasonably common. These rules have raised the cost of legal education far beyond what can be afforded by minorities, immigrants, and working class persons.[10]

D. The Failure of Race-Based Affirmative Action Policies.
Because many law schools still strive to maintain Aelite@ status by emphasizing high LSAT scores that are out of reach of most minorities, and by admitting only a small percentage of those that apply, there is yet another point of relevance. It is that race-based affirmative action demanded by the ABA and used by the University of Michigan has had only limited success in overcoming the effects of the racially exclusionary policies.
Today, after 30 years of race-based affirmative action, most American law schools are still not truly diverse. Thus, although the ABA regularly claims success because minorities of all types, including Asian-Americans, are now about 20 percent of the collective student bodies of all ABA schools, the fact remains that African-Americans are only about seven percent of the collective student bodies. Even more disturbing, they are even more sparse at a host of ABA schools, including many located in states with large African-American populations, while disproportionate percentages of African-American students are funneled into the historically black law schools.
At least 120 of the approximately 180 ABA-accredited schools remain largely white, with 75 of the 120 schools having African-American populations of zero percent to only four or five percent in 1998-99, after nearly 30 years of the ABA’s version of affirmative action.[11] Such schools cannot be said to be truly diverse. Moreover, many of these white schools are located in states with large African-American populations, such as New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Georgia, Florida, Louisiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Illinois, Missouri, Texas and California. Id. At the same time, the ABA’s five historically black schools -- Howard, Southern, D.C. School of Law, Texas Southern and North Carolina Central -- have student bodies that are, respectively, 84.4 percent African-American, 66.2 percent African-American, 65.2 percent African-American, 58.5 percent African-American, and 45.4 percent African-American.

E. The American Law Schools= Continued Reliance on the LSAT (and Other Practices) That Creates the Need for Affirmative Action.
As discussed, many of the rules and practices of the ABA accreditors and of American law schools, including heavy reliance on the LSAT in the admissions process, and the elitist weltanschauung in legal education, have law caused schools to believe that race-based affirmative action policies are necessary to achieve diversity.
The District Judge was aware that the existing rules and practices have created the need for affirmative action. He thus said that “One . . . solution may be to relax, or even eliminate, reliance on the LSAT,” especially since “[t]he evidence presented at trial indicated that the LSAT predicts law school grades rather poorly . . . and that it does not predict success in the legal profession at all.” Grutter, 137 F. Supp. 2d at 870 (emphasis added). Thus, he said, if the Michigan Law School seeks students who are likely to succeed in law school and the legal profession, “one must wonder why the law school concerns itself at all with an applicant’s LSAT score.” Id. He also pointed out that race-neutral alternatives were available, including, among others, “decreasing the emphasis for all applicants on undergraduate GPA and LSAT scores,” Grutter, 137 F. Supp. 2d at 852-53, and he made explicit that there had been no testimony “as to whether the University of Michigan Law School has considered reducing its reliance on the LSAT or whether it has considered challenging the ABA’s requirement that applicants take “an acceptable test.” Grutter, 137 F. Supp. 2d at 871, n. 63.
A holistic, non-LSAT-driven approach, we note, is a very logical alternative for law schools to use.[13] In any event, suffice it to say here that schools can develop appropriate admissions policies to obtain diversity if the use of race based affirmative action is struck down.

Thursday, May 13, 2004

New Questions Now Raised By The Prison Abuses In Iraq

Dear Hosts, Producers, Journalists And Legislators:

Some of us who may be considered old fashioned despise the modern cultural and political technique of constantly, repeatedly and immodestly using the word “I,” as in I said this, I said that, I introduced this bill, I introduced that bill, I did this or that to help seniors, etc., etc., etc. With deep regret, therefore, it is necessary to introduce this email by saying that on May 7th and May 10th I sent many of you emails saying that evidence already available then indicated the possibility that, and urging the media to inquire into and discuss the possibility that, the abuses at Abu Ghraib had also taken place at Guantanamo, and that Rumsfeld and Bush long knew of those abuses but were unconcerned about them because they wanted to get information from the prisoners. The last few days’ news reports, and especially those in today’s New York Times, confirm that it is indeed the case that much of what occurred at Abu Ghraib was also taking place at Guantanamo, and that doing almost anything to get information was the modus operandi. This modus operandi included the water-boarding torture, sending prisoners to foreign countries to be interrogated so that the United States assertedly would not be responsible for the resulting torture, obtaining obviously corrupt secret memoranda from the once venerated Department of Justice and from CIA lawyers approving of the legality of the latter tactic, Bush apparently saying that he did not want to know where prisoners were being kept, and refusing to grant human rights groups access to high ranking detainees.

The most recent news confirms the need for the media and other investigators to pursue previously stated questions and also to vigorously pursue certain new ones obviously raised by the most recent revelations. For example:

• It now seems even more plain that Rumsfeld and Bush must have known that serious abuses were occurring, but were unconcerned because their major desideratum was to obtain information. Am I wrong in thinking that this question should continue to be pursued? (I note that apparently there already are Americans who think that Bush knew about the abuses.)

• The Government refuses to allow Guantanamo prisoners to be tried in civilian courts (and argued to the Supreme Court that civilian courts have no jurisdiction at all in Gitmo cases). Does the Government’s refusal to allow civilian trials arise because it knows that no prosecution can be successful in civilian courts, since crucial evidence has been obtained by torture and other coercion? Does the Government correspondingly believe -- in reality, know? -- that convictions will be obtained in military tribunals because the latter will be instructed to ignore torture, or would ignore it in any event? (Amazingly enough, I note, governmental sources apparently claim that nothing of what has gone on constitutes torture. What kind of people is it who would make such a claim?)

A related question is whether the Government has accepted a plea bargain from a soldier in Iraq, and may accept them from others in Iraq, lest the defendant(s) blow the whistle on higher ups in the chain of command if forced to a full scale trial.

Am I wrong in thinking that these are questions which should be pursued by the media and others?

• Everyone now knows the importance of the Abu Ghraib pictures in causing Americans to grasp what has been going on. And there are, it is said, pictures far worse than any so far released to the public. Their release would further enlighten the public as to the full extent and, I guess, even the horror of what was occurring. Yet various federal legislators have said the military has convinced them that the pictures should not be released because they would harm the privacy and non-humiliation rights of inmates and the fairness of trials.

But shouldn’t obvious facts cause us to think that this military argument must be pure propaganda intended to ward off further criticism that would arise upon release of the pictures, and that the agreement of legislators with this propaganda simply goes to the fact that, in this culturally-riven country, some of our legislators are simply bad human beings? The obvious facts I speak of, which can lead to these views, are that the faces of prisoners can be blocked out in still photographs and in videos, just as the print and television media block out faces and so-called private parts every day. If prisoners’ faces are not shown, so that nobody can know who the persons are, the lessening of privacy and the public humiliation will be greatly decreased or eliminated, while the public would be enabled to understand the totality of what went on. The faces of soldiers could also be blocked out in pictures and videos, thereby largely or completely avoiding supposed prejudice to any particular individual at trial.

Am I incorrect in believing that the question of the real reason for not releasing pictures is a matter which should be pursued?

• How did the once honorable Department of Justice come to issue secret legal opinions which -- contrary to every principle of liability I have ever heard of since entering law school in 1960 -- say it is lawful for a governmental official to give a person to someone else (i.e., to another country) so that the other person will torture him. This kind of action is the most obvious kind of conspiracy to violate our law. It is even worse if American personnel participated in the torture, as apparently occurred. We might expect whitewashing legal opinions from the likes of the CIA. But from the Department of Justice? Am I incorrect in thinking that something is seriously wrong here? And doesn’t this all bear, at least indirectly, on the Government’s desire for extension of the supposed Patriot Act, which gives it extraordinary power over American civilians?

There is also another question stemming from all this, one that is pure political dynamite and might be one of the reasons why the DOJ and CIA legal opinions were kept secret. Especially because Bush said that he did not want to know where prisoners were being kept, it seems quite possible, probably even likely, that he knew in general terms that prisoners were being sent abroad to be tortured. If he did indeed know this -- and, as I say, it seems quite likely he did (and one might even think him incompetent if he didn’t) -- then he was a participant in a conspiracy to violate American laws and was also, like Nixon, a participant in a conspiracy to cover up the violation. If the laws against torture are criminal laws, as I would assume, then the conspiracy to violate them and the conspiracy to cover up the violation were not just conspiracies, but were criminal conspiracies and impeachable offenses. (Not to mention that, as John Dean has been saying about Bush, his violations would be worse than Nixon’s.)

Am I wrong in thinking that all of this is very serious and bears inquiry?

• Do the abuses in the prisons, and what seems the obvious corruption of the Department of Justice, illustrate a lesson that is often mentioned but rarely heeded? It has often been said in the past that the ultimate costs to our own society of engaging in warmaking are so dreadful, and the danger which war causes government to pose to our own people is so likely, that we should not get into wars without overridingly sound reasons. The costs and dangers historically include loss of civil liberties, corruption of our institutions because of war induced frenzy, and harm to the economy. Is all of this irrelevant here? Has George Bush managed to repeal these “laws” of history? Is he causing their reemergence? Shouldn’t all of this be investigated and discussed, or am I wrong?

• Don’t we have to face, understand the ramifications of, discuss, and decide the following question?: If we are going to fight in places like Iraq, and are to fight a war against terrorists (a war which in many ways we ourselves spawned by our actions in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere in the middle east from the 1970s through the 1990s), is it necessary, despite scruples, to use abusive methods and torture? We are not, after all, fighting people who use kid gloves, as the recent beheading of Berg shows yet again. Must we use abhorrent methods because this is the best or only way to save innocent lives or the lives of our soldiers? It seems that the Administration’s answer to the question is yes, and apparently the Administration would say that such methods enabled it to extract vital information from detainees who were high figures in Al Quaeda. There also are lots of people who agree with it that we should use any means necessary. On the other hand, there are experts in interrogation who say the use of torture is counterproductive. Where does the truth lie? And if it lies with the Administration, does this bear on the next question, raised below? Shouldn’t all of this be inquired into and discussed by the media?

• Don’t the actions of Bush, Rumsfeld, Cheney, Wolfowitz, their Executive Branch cronies, and their dupes in Congress raise yet again the fundamental question of whether it is possible for America, regardless of how well-intentioned we are or think we are, to police the world militarily? In this particular regard, how much has really changed since one or two of the early great Americans (Washington?, John Quincy Adams? someone else?) said America does not go abroad in search of dragons to slay, but rather should serve as a beacon to the world? Am I wrong in thinking that this is a fundamental question which should be raised yet again?

I urge that the media and others should inquire into and discuss the foregoing questions.

Sincerely yours,

Lawrence R. Velvel
Dean, Massachusetts School of Law

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

The Guerilla War in Iraq Was Planned Before Our Invasion

The attached letter [see below]was sent to three major newspapers on November 3, 2003. None of them published it. A major thrust of the letter was the possibility, even the likelihood, that the guerrilla war occurring in Iraq was planned by Saddam’s people before we even began our invasion, and that the Iraqis had therefore outsmarted Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, et. al in a most crucial way.

As said, the letter was not published by any of the three newspapers it was sent to. A recent lengthy story in one of them, however, appearing five months after the letter was sent, confirms the letter’s correctness: the recent story says the Pentagon is preparing a report saying that the guerrilla war of the last year was planned by Saddam’s people even before we invaded. And now, of course, this guerrilla war has caused us to make horrible mistakes (e.g., at Abu Ghraib) and will, it seems, insure that we have to leave Iraq.

All of this raises the following questions. If Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, et. al were outsmarted by Saddam’s people in a crucial matter, isn’t this a fact which is relevant to the question of the administration’s competence in national security affairs and otherwise, and isn’t it therefore relevant to the upcoming election? Correspondingly, isn’t this matter one which both the news media and the Kerry campaign should be but are not discussing?


Lawrence R. Velvel
Dean, Massachusetts School of Law

Dear Editor:

The time has come to ask whether fighting a guerrilla war, not a conventional war, was Saddam’s plan starting even before the American army began its invasion of Iraq.

If memory serves, even before the invasion began, Saddam was saying there would be surprises for the Americans. Then, instead of standing and fighting, large parts of his army simply melted away -- somewhat surprisingly. Did Saddam realize even before the beginning of the invasion that there was no way his army could withstand an all-arms American military blitzkrieg, and that standing and fighting would only result in the complete, rapid destruction of his army? Did he therefore lay plans to have his army melt away and subsequently fight a long guerrilla war (as occurred in Viet Nam and as some Confederate officers urgently pressed upon Robert E. Lee at Appomattox -- a guerrilla war which, by common agreement among historians, would have resulted in years or decades of chaos in the South)? If this was Saddam’s plan from the beginning, he would appear to have outsmarted our warmaking civilian geniuses in the Pentagon and the White House (who have never been in a war and some of whom evaded Viet Nam), and we might have to ask whether we are faced with the prospect of a long, protracted guerrilla war in Iraq, as occurred in Viet Nam, as occurred in the Philippines at the beginning of the 20th century, and as would have occurred in the South had Lee undertaken a guerrilla war after Appomattox. However, is anyone even asking any of these numerous questions?

Sincerely yours,

Lawrence R. Velvel

Monday, May 10, 2004

Did Bush and Rumsfeld Know of But Not Care About Prison Abuse


Dear Hosts, Producers and Journalists:

I urge that the Abu Ghraib scandal has already reached the point where it gives rise to two vital questions. The two have not yet been investigated or discussed by the media, but should, I believe, become a focus of discussion. I would implore you to address them.

The first question flows from the fact that the very highest levels of the American government -- the Secretary of Defense and the President -- have known of the abuses at Abu Ghraib for a long time. This fact gives rise to the following question: Did the Secretary, the President, and generals in the chain of command not care about the abuses, and even tacitly or explicitly encourage them, because the abuses were being used to obtain information useful in combating guerrillas in Iraq and in combating the war on terrorism. There seems to already be evidence that would lead to such a conclusion. For example, it is very hard to believe that low ranking soldiers like privates, corporals, or sergeants would grinningly pose for the kinds of pictures we have seen unless they felt the abuses were approved up the chain of command. The abuses apparently were known at high levels for a long time, but little was done about them for quite a while (despite urgings by human rights organizations). It has lately been written by Fox Butterfield of The New York Times that these kinds of abuses are common in American prisons, especially in George W. Bush’s Texas, and many “veterans” of American prison work were guards in Abu Ghraib. Our soldiers in Iraq were under fire and being killed daily, which creates an understandable incentive to obtain relevant information by any means possible.

In addition to this already existing evidence, there also is an unhappy analogy that shows that the very top levels of the administration may simply not have cared whether abuses were occurring. Let me explain this in the following way:

Rumsfeld and Bush now claim that their lack of concern over the abuses was because they had not seen pictures, but merely had read or were told about the abuses. Well, I would be the first to “admit,” and am perhaps the only one to believe or say, that it is perfectly obvious that George Bush seems to not really grasp what he reads or is told. But why didn’t Bush and Rumsfeld ask to see the pictures -- Rumsfeld, at least, knew the pictures existed (though we can’t say, at least not yet, that Bush did). Perhaps Rumsfeld (and Bush?) did not ask to see the pictures because he did not want to see them lest the awfulness of the situation became graphic and unavoidably require corrective action, which Rumsfeld, Bush and generals did not wish to take because the abuses were useful in getting information. If this in fact occurred -- as frankly seems likely to me -- it constitutes not caring about the facts of a situation so long as the administration gets what it wants (in this case, information from prisoners). And not caring about the facts is, by way of analogy, exactly how the administration got us into this war in the first place. The administration presented weapons of mass destruction as the reason for going to war even though, as we now know, there was much reason to doubt that Iraq had such weapons (most Americans now believe it didn’t), and even though the real reason for going to war was that George Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfwitz and their cohorts wanted to get rid of Saddam Hussein.

So, in addition to all the evidence set forth above to show the likelihood that the top levels of American government knew but did not care about the abuses, we can say by analogy that there is no reason to believe Rumsfeld and Bush when they claim (basically for public relations purposes?) that not seeing the pictures of the abuses, rather than not caring about them, is the reason they did nothing. These people previously have shown that they lie. So why believe them when they say that not seeing pictures, rather than not caring about abuses which they thought helpful in getting information, was the reason they did nothing about them?

The second question which arises from the Abu Ghraib matter is this: What kind of a country are we? It has been appalling to see Senators (e.g., John Warner), Congressmen (e.g., Christopher Shays), media pundits, and ordinary citizens all over the nation attempting to excuse, lessen the culpability of, or whitewash people who committed or knew of these abuses, with the attempted diminution of responsibility often occurring by means of politicians’ statements that constitute the usual 4th of July statements about how great we are. Particularly since we are now given to understand that rapes and murder are also involved, it seems to me that, if we want to soften or evade culpability, then we likewise ought to say it was alright for Americans to use the water torture, burn down villages and kill civilians in the Philippines insurrection, to slit living, conscious Japanese soldiers from ear to ear in World War II in order to get the gold from their teeth, to create, and kill civilians in, free fire zones, and to engage in My Lais, in Viet Nam, and so forth. There is a major segment of this country -- who seem to vastly disproportionately came from one side of the political spectrum, from one political party, and from particular geographic areas – that seek to excuse horrible conduct by Americans, that did so in Viet Nam and now are doing so with regard to Iraq. These people implicitly, if not explicitly, take the position that if Americans do something, it must be alright. They are also generally the people, one may say, who in years past fought against equal rights for all Americans, especially African Americans and women, and who sometimes continue this fight today. These people bear the major responsibility for the culture war which has existed in this country since the mid 1960s, and their present actions, like their past ones, raise a question that the press should be but is not discussing: What kind of people are we as a nation, and, in particular, what kind of people are they who try to lessen responsibility for what occurred at Abu Ghraib? I would urge the media to discuss this question.

Sincerely yours,

Lawrence R. Velvel
Dean, Massachusetts School of Law

Thursday, May 06, 2004

Possible Widespread Prevalence of Iraqi Prison Abuse

Via E-mail

Dear Producers and Hosts:

As far as I have seen, heard or read, the media has not inquired into or discussed whether the kind of misconduct that occurred at Abu Ghraib in Iraq did or did not occur at Guantanamo as well. It is important to us as Americans for the press to begin inquiring about and discussing this question. It is only the more important because the Administration has told the Supreme Court that nobody has any authority over what it does at Guantanamo. I urge you to bring up the question on your programs, especially because of a lengthy article in yesterday’s New York Times.

The article said that the new commander of Abu Ghraib, Major General Geoffrey A. Miller, was previously the chief of detentions and interrogations at Guantanamo. Last August he visited Iraq “with a team of 30 experts to recommend ways of making the detentions and interrogations ‘more effective and more efficient,’” and “to help make the prison staff ‘more able to garner intelligence as rapidly as possible.’” Apparently, the abuse at Abu Ghraib that currently is being reported occurred after these recommendations.

The Times also reported that General Miller “saw his main purpose in both places as extracting as much information as possible,” and said that there are over 50 coercive techniques that are sometimes used on prisoners. General Miller “defended” the use of certain coercive techniques like sleep deprivation and forcing prisoners into “‘stress positions.’”

General Miller also recommended last August that a way of making “detention and interrogations ‘more effective and more efficient . . . . was to give the military police guarding the detainees a larger role in gathering intelligence.” He also recently “defended the use of contract interrogators, saying he had employed 30 at Guantanamo.” Military police and contract interrogators have been involved in the abuses in Iraq.

In these circumstances, it seems obvious to me that, given the abuses in Iraq, the media should be discussing and investigating whether, God forbid, the same abuses as occurred in Iraq may have occurred at Guantanamo too. Is this not equally obvious to you? General Miller is quoted by The Times as saying “trust us” in regard to the assertedly corrected situation which he says now exists at Abu Ghraib. Surely, the media should not blindly follow that advice regarding Guantanamo or Iraq, but should instead investigate and discuss the pertinent questions. Am I wrong?


Lawrence R. Velvel

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

Reasons for This Web Log

Dear Colleague:

For over three decades I have watched with dismay as the media fail to expeditiously grasp, much less care about, important points that seem perfectly clear. Equally dismaying has been the politicians’ deliberate tactic of obfuscating matters instead of clarifying them, and the dishonesty, lying, spin and cheating which have become prevalent in American society. Rather than continue to watch all of this in silent dismay, I have created a blog (i.e., a Web log) on which numerous of these kinds of matters will be discussed. In addition to setting forth my own views, the blog will be open to the sensibly expressed, reasonable views of others as well. The address of the blog is

My own views on the topics discussed on the blog will usually range from liberal to middle of the road, although a few of my opinions may be considered conservative by people on the far left. The blog will focus on, among other subjects, American wars, our penchant for trying to solve one problem after another by military action, foreign affairs, the powers of Congress, Congressional irresponsibility, Executive usurpation, freedom of speech, the lessons of American history, political machinations at the national level, higher education generally, legal education, reasons for the failure to provide education to minorities, the failures and incompetence of the media, failures of the judiciary, methods by which reasonable, decent people are excluded from politics, and the existing milieu in which success is achieved not through hard work, competence, accomplishment and at least some concern for others, but by dishonesty, cheating, playing the game the company way regardless of how venal that may be, caring about oneself alone, celebrification, and talking a big game regardless of results.

The first items which have been posted on the blog relate to the possibility that knowledge of, and deliberate lack of concern for the abuses at, Abu Ghraib went right up to the Oval Office, the all-too-logical possibility that various of the abuses at Abu Ghraib could have taken place at Guantanamo as well, and the now-known fact, and the military and political consequences of the now-known fact, that the guerrilla war in Iraq was planned by Saddam’s people before we even invaded that country. Upcoming postings will include discussions of the unpalatable fact that our history can lead one to believe that America has regularly sought war since 1945, and a discussion of the failure of affirmative action in law schools, where there has been a decline in the number and percentage of African Americans in recent years. This decline is a fact not disclosed to the Supreme Court, as far as I know, when legal groups of one kind or another were arguing to the Court in the Michigan Law School case that affirmative action was essential to create diversity in law schools. (This last point, it seems to me, relates not just to legal education and affirmative action, but also to the now prevalent practice of dishonesty by omission of important facts.)

I hope you will take a look at the new blog and, if and when the spirit moves you, will contribute to it as well. Especially if people of intelligence contribute to it, perhaps it ultimately will have a chance to help further the public dialogue about important subjects.

Sincerely yours,

Lawrence R. Velvel
Dean, Massachusetts School of Law