Harvard Law Occupation Expands

scales of justiceNon-Ivy Law Schools Hope For Supreme Court Justice Nod

It’s no secret that graduates of Ivy League law schools have dominated the U.S. Supreme Court in recent years. According to research from Lee Epstein, a professor at Washington University in St. Louis School of Law, eight of the 25 justices appointed to the court have been Harvard Law graduates since 1954. Some five came from Yale Law School and Stanford Law and Northwestern’s Pritzker School of Law have each had two.
But with the recent passing of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, some schools are hoping to get their first alums on the court. One of those is the University of California at Los Angeles School of Law, which has two alums on short lists to replace Scalia from pundits. Paul Watford and Jackie Nguyen–both judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and UCLA alums — join a list of potential successors that many experts believe is made up of about half that fall outside Harvard and Yale.
The two join Diane Wood, a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and University of Texas School of Law alum; Kamala Harris, California’s Attorney General and California Hastings College of Law alum and Elizabeth Warren, a Democratic senator from Massachusetts and Rutgers School of Law-Newark alum to be named on the short list of replacements by many pundits.
Obviously, there are many benefits to looking beyond the Harvard and Yale bubbles. Including justices from outside of the most prestigious schools would lead to a more diverse set of thinking and life and professional experience. Advocates for a larger representation of non-Ivy league graduates argue it would increase geographic, religious, educational and racial diversity among the Supreme Court. Not too mention, a broader perspective when it comes to weighing legal decision making.
“It’s not only that they all went to Harvard or Yale, it’s that they are all essentially from the five boroughs of New York,” Hasting Interim Dean, David Faigman told The National Law Journal. “I think that’s a mistake.”
Clearly, Faigman has some bias with an alum of his school on the short list. And to be sure, representative’s from Harvard and Yale are quick to point to the diversity their admissions offices strive to reach when accepting students. Harvard Law currently has four potential candidates on the short lists of pundits.
Source: The National Law Journal
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