Thursday, September 19, 2002

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THE PERILS OF PUBLISHING: As ideology becomes a determining factor in the nomination and confirmation of federal judges, Michael McConnell -- a distinguished former University of Chicago law professor nominated by Bush -- is Exhibit A on why academic publishing and federal service are like oil and water. According to this story, Chuck Schumer -- Schumer's staff, really -- tried to paint McConnell as someone who values opposition to abortion above the law, when in fact McConnell explicitly states the reverse in the article in question. McConnell corrected Schumer in his testimony, but this is a small example ofd a larger problem. McConnell's sin here is that he is prolific, provocative, and pungent with his prose [Enough with the p's--ed.]. Democrats will troll his publications to find anything controversial enough to deep-six the nomination, even if they are stripped of context.

Pundits love to crow about how academics are so far removed from politics. However, if academics are going to be raked over the coals for being good at their job -- publishing articles that provoke new ways of thinking -- what's the incentive to enter the political maelstrom?

P.S.: Here's the article in dispute -- check it out for yourself.

posted by Dan on 09.19.02 at 09:42 AM