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Law Prof Political Donations:

Paul Caron has the data:

FundRace 2008 on The Huffington Post lists 635 "law professors" as having made contributions to candidates in the 2008 Presidential election totalling $623,472. Of this amount, 92.7% ($577,924) has been contributed to Democratic candidates, 7.3% ($45,548) to Republican candidates. $487,772 has been contributed to the nominees of each party — 94.7% ($461,754) to Barack Obama, 5.3% ($26,018) to John McCain.

He also has the breakout for some leading law schools.

Notice that the percentage giving Republican actually slightly exceeds the percentage giving to McCain (although probably not in a significant fashion). This is consistent with my observation that among the small number of confessed "conservative" law professors (or people in the "ideas business" generally), John McCain was not a candidate who generated a great deal of excitement. Fred Thompson, Rudy Giuliani, and Mitt Romney all seemed to be relatively more ideas-driven candidates (note that I did say "relatively") and who garnered more law prof support and excitement. And, of course, for many libertarian and conservative law profs McCain-Feingold and the view of the Constitution that it implies was basically disqualifying, at least at the time there were other apparently viable Republican options available.

Caron's report is also consistent with a hypothesis that I have heard others express, that although schools like Harvard are supposedly hiring more self-professed "conservatives" these days, they tend to be (with a small handful of notable exceptions) of a certain ilk who can make it through the meat-grinder of the appointments process--"well-behaved" conservatives who aren't going to rock the boat or otherwise challenge the prevailing culture, such as by taking public political stances or otherwise speaking out on controversial issues. I haven't done any sort of systematic analysis of this hypothesis, which presumably would require substantial first-hand knowledge.

Update:

The Harvard reference was triggered (subconsciously at least) by Steve Bainbridge's similar observations, which he makes here.

Adam B. (www):
Or, alternatively, neither Chicago nor Harvard conservative professors felt it appropriate to oppose a former colleague/student.
9.10.2008 4:43pm
Virginia:
But remember, these schools are committed to "diversity."
9.10.2008 4:55pm
OrinKerr:
And, of course, for many libertarian and conservative law profs McCain-Feingold and the view of the Constitution that it implies was basically disqualifying,

Who knew that so many libertarian and conservative professors hated originalism, and instead embraced a jurisprudence invented by the Supreme Court in the 1970s? ;-)
9.10.2008 4:58pm
LM (mail):

Caron's report is also consistent with a hypothesis that [conservative law professors] aren't going to rock the boat or otherwise challenge the prevailing culture, such as by taking public political stances or otherwise speaking out on controversial issues.

Alternatively, it's also consistent with what you alluded to earlier about the disparity in contributions to McCain and to Republicans generally, i.e., conservative professors may be less excited about their candidate than liberal professors are about theirs.
9.10.2008 4:59pm
Sua Tremendita (mail):
Oh, wait, and these professors will soon be able to vet law review articles? Hmm, I wonder how much more (or less!) we'll be seeing of libertarian law scholarship once these fellows rule the roost.
9.10.2008 5:02pm
Oren:
If a majority of legal academics put their money behind a candidate that, if we are to believe the rhetoric, wants to plainly disregard the law for his own political ends then we can conclude that a majority of qualified experts believe the law is an ass. How else could you explain their support for a candidate that so disregards the fundamental basis of their livelihood?
9.10.2008 5:08pm
OrinKerr:
Oh, wait, and these professors will soon be able to vet law review articles? Hmm, I wonder how much more (or less!) we'll be seeing of libertarian law scholarship once these fellows rule the roost.

Look on the bright side: You'll still get to read it in the Northwestern and Mason law reviews.
9.10.2008 5:10pm
Crunchy Frog:
Oren: not the law, but the Constitution.
9.10.2008 5:11pm
Cornellian (mail):
In other words, most professors donated to candidates of the party that doesn't mock university professors as snobbish "elites" who are out of touch with us regular folks. How shocking. And in other news, Tom Tancredo gets very few donations from Hispanics.
9.10.2008 5:21pm
Oren:
CF, unless you argue that the 7% that donate to McCain are all Const Law Profs (except Obama of course) then we have a significant fraction of the experts in the field voting for the candidate who allegedly promises to ignore the Constitution wholesale.

Either way, it makes serious hash out of comments implying that no self-respecting scholar of law would endorse Obama's judicial philosophy. And by hash, I mean a much more unpleasant word.
9.10.2008 5:38pm
Oren:
Cornellian, you'd think that the party committed to 'enforcing the law' would be the most solicitous of legal academia and that the party that wanted to 'bend the law' to their whims would be the most eager to discredit those academics.
9.10.2008 5:40pm
Lawyer (mail):
"[Y]ou'd think that the party committed to 'enforcing the law' would be the most solicitous of legal academia."

You would, if you knew nothing about either legal academia or enforcing the law. Bending the law is the hallmark of Critical Race Studies and their leftist academic brethren. It's all about 'changing the law to make the world more like we want it'. Good or bad, that ain't exactly paying homage purely to "law enforcement."
9.10.2008 5:54pm
frankcross (mail):
Re Harvard hiring "well-behaved" conservatives who aren't going to rock the boat or otherwise challenge the prevailing culture, such as by taking public political stances or otherwise speaking out on controversial issues.

This may be right, but it is a good thing, not an indictment. The should be hiring "well-behaved" liberals, too. Law professors do not have unique insights on politics or many other controversial issues. And the more they speak out on same, the more they demean the value of the issues on which they have expertise.

It would be helpful to have law professor insight on Supreme Court appointments, but that input is pretty much worthless once they make themselves into partisans.
9.10.2008 5:59pm
whoa there:
The attacks on Palin are hitting a new low.
9.10.2008 6:04pm
Adam B. (www):
You would, if you knew nothing about either legal academia or enforcing the law. Bending the law is the hallmark of Critical Race Studies and their leftist academic brethren.

Which, of course, Prof. Obama never taught. How much respect for the Constitution freedom of association does McCain-Feingold reflect?
9.10.2008 6:25pm
Lawyer (mail):

Which, of course, Prof. Obama never taught. How much respect for the Constitution freedom of association does McCain-Feingold reflect?


There are many courses Obama never taught -- when deciding whether the Republican party should "most solicitous" to legal academia, (the point of my comment)whether or not Obama taught a particular academic specialty has little relevance.

But the "of course" makes up for the knee-jerk reaction.
9.10.2008 6:38pm
Steve:
Orin is in a frisky mood today. But since I am apparently the last one to know, what is the general political sentiment of the faculty at Northwestern?
9.10.2008 6:49pm
Oren:
Steve, Oren != Oren. To be fair, he had the name first . . .
9.10.2008 7:13pm
Steve:
Well, I saw two comments by Orin, one of which referred to Northwestern. Really wasn't focusing on your comments.
9.10.2008 7:16pm
Oren:
My mistake, I tend to read upwards. Carry on.
9.10.2008 7:21pm
LM (mail):

My mistake, I tend to read upwards.

Is that the blog thread equivalent to reading Hebrew?
9.10.2008 7:25pm
Oren:
More life flipping backwards through a TV show to see where you last left off. If you check the site regularly while, err, 'working', it's often quicker to start from the end.
9.10.2008 7:28pm
Hoosier:
Because education is one of the most highly-subsidized industries in the nation? And professors are in that industry?
9.10.2008 8:08pm
Cornellian (mail):
Cornellian, you'd think that the party committed to 'enforcing the law' would be the most solicitous of legal academia and that the party that wanted to 'bend the law' to their whims would be the most eager to discredit those academics.

I don't see the connection. Whether a law is enforced (or to what extent) is largely a budgetary decision. How many cops, district attorneys, DOJ staff etc. that you want to hire has very little to do with the study or teaching of law.
9.10.2008 10:08pm
JosephSlater (mail):
This post reminds me that I should donate some more $$$ to Obama. Thanks!
9.11.2008 4:26pm
mel (mail):
Fred Thompson, Rudy Giuliani, and Mitt Romney all seemed to be relatively more ideas-driven candidates (note that I did say "relatively") and who garnered more law prof support and excitement.

I suspect you think he was a crank, but some of us gave money to Ron Paul too! (And don't forget Barr in November!)
9.11.2008 6:25pm