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As you now know, I am the Al Gore of the tenure crisis — it’s not a political issue, it’s a moral one; the existence of our very civilization is at stake; we must save ourselves while we still can, etc. So imagine my horror when I amble over to Above the Law and discover this:
Is the American Bar Association going to deal with the unmitigated proliferation of law schools? No. Will the ABA deal with overflow of lawyers entering the profession at a time when few well paying legal jobs seem to be available? No. Will the organization seriously address the rising cost of legal education? Not really. Instead, the ABA committee on law school accreditation wants to take a look a tenure. The National Law Journal reports:
Should the American Bar Association require law schools to maintain a tenure system? The committee reviewing the ABA’s accreditation standards doesn’t think so. It has floated a proposal that would eliminate the term “tenure” from the ABA standards covering job security and academic freedom. The committee also wants to kill a requirement that law schools provide clinical faculty members with job protections similar to those enjoyed by full-time professors.
Look. The job security of clinical faculty members is not a pillar of cultural order. But what could be more sickening than this latest exercise of lawyer-think at its worst: treat something real as a mere term of art, purge it from official documentation, and do war in that way on the reality itself. Where have we seen that tactic play itself out before? No, it can’t make jihadist terrorism go away. But with something as weakened and vulnerable as tenure, this monstrous attack just might work.