Clarification About an Earlier Message From Brian Leiter to Me:

A comment in the Brian Leiter/anonymity thread referred to "Brian Leiter contacting Eugene Volokh as an 'anonymous law prof' to attack a law student who outdid his law school rankings."

This turns out to be not entirely accurate. Prof. Leiter e-mailed me and asked me to post a comment pointing out the inaccuracy, but I thought it was worth noting as a separate post.

The original e-mail from Prof. Leiter to me, which I quoted and attributed to "another lawprof," was not strictly speaking anonymous: He certainly signed the message to me. The message pointed out various posts at xoxohth, and argued that the operators of the site deserved to be blamed for not removing those posts. It then said that if I wanted to publicly shame the xoxohth operator — a decision on which Prof. Leiter expressed some ambivalence, since he wasn't sure whether it was better to shame the operator, or to avoid calling more attention to what Prof. Leiter thought was a bad site — I shouldn't refer to Prof. Leiter in the process.

I found myself disagreeing with Prof. Leiter's criticism of the xoxohth operator, sent Prof. Leiter my explanation, invited him to go public with his criticisms, so that his and my views would provide an interesting contrast, but said that "[i]f you prefer, I could post your message with my response, and just label you as an anonymous lawprof." He agreed to that latter approach, and that led to the post that I link to in the preceding paragraph.

So Prof. Leiter did not precisely contact me "as an 'anonymous law prof' to attack a law student . . . ." Rather, he contacted me nonanonymously (or onymously, reader BillB points out) with a criticism of the law student, and suggested that if I did criticize the student, I should do so without referring to him (Prof. Leiter).

UPDATE: Prof. Leiter points out that, at the time he e-mailed me, he didn't yet know the site was run by a law student. I'm not sure how much of a difference this makes, but I'm happy to note it for the record.

Related Posts (on one page):

  1. Clarification About an Earlier Message From Brian Leiter to Me:
  2. Brian Leiter's View of the Tenure Process:
  3. Brian Leiter Trying To Out Juan Non-Volokh:
He certainly signed the message to me.

I think we all understood this to be the case. I don't think anyone was under the impression that Prof. Volokh would attribute something in a post to a person purporting to be a lawprof without knowing that the person was, in fact, a lawprof.

So, point taken: Prof. Leiter did not try to attack someone else anonymously as he now accuses JNOV of doing. With that said, it will take a lot more than this to rehabilitate Prof. Leiter's rather poor reputation. I'm not sure why he even cares what the VC readership thinks of him, given how little he thinks of the Conspirators (aside from Eugene, as long as he's talking about the First Amendment).
6.24.2005 5:27pm
Thanks for the clarification. This makes the parallels even more striking.

"Juan Non-Volokh": VC audience does not know his true identity, but Eugene Volokh does.

"another lawprof": VC audience did not know his true identity, but Eugene Volokh did.

If Brian Leiter thinks it is appropriate for him to have his comments critical of another individual posted anonymously on VC just as long as Eugene knows who he is, why does he take issue with whoever is behind Juan Non-Volokh posting anonymously as long as Eugene knows his real identity? It still seems like Leiter is not applying the same standard to himself.
6.24.2005 5:27pm
So what? Leiter was not anonymous to Volokh but anonymous to everyone else. I bet also not anomymous to Volokh.
6.24.2005 5:30pm
Bob Flynn (mail):
I say, the more e-mails and direct exchanges between Volokh and Leiter, the better. Hopefully, incrementally, the class, distinction, politeness and legal acuity of the former, will rub off on the latter.
6.24.2005 5:54pm
Any xoxohth posters could easily tell that the 'anonymous law prof' was Leittter, a fact later confirmed by xoxohth operators.
6.24.2005 8:41pm