By: Rob Natelson
Preet Bharara, an Obama-appointed U.S. attorney, made news recently when President Trump fired him after he refused to render the resignation customary at a change of administration.
He was immediately hired by New York University Law School, one of the nation’s most prestigious. He will be a “distinguished scholar in residence.”
“I am thrilled for this opportunity to continue addressing the issues I so deeply care about — criminal and social justice, honest government, national security, civil rights, and corporate accountability, to name a few,” he said in the statement.
The hiring exemplifies how academia, and specifically legal academia, takes care of liberal Democrats. Conservatives and libertarians, on the other hand, often have extraordinary difficulty obtaining professorships in the United States. Some never enter academia, and others get positions abroad.
Because NYU is so high on the law school feeding chain, it can afford to hire scholars with outstanding research records. A search for Bharara’s publications in the Westlaw data base, however, reveals that this “distinguished scholar in residence” has produced almost no scholarship.
According to Westlaw, Bharara has precisely one research article to his credit—and that was published nearly ten years ago. (Westlaw also contains a copy of a speech he delivered in 2015.)
It is no excuse that Bharara was practicing law at the time: Many practicing lawyers, especially those seeking positions in academia, manage to produce articles. Bharara produced none over a period of nearly ten years.
I don’t begrudge Bharara a starting academic position. But justice would suggest that he should start where most of us do. That’s somewhere below the level of a “distinguished scholar in residence” at NYU.
This episode is another demonstration that universities systematically discriminate in favor of people with left-of-center political and social views and from certain ethnic backgrounds within the core constituencies of the National Democratic Party).
Compare the favorable treatment Elizabeth Warren enjoyed from Harvard, apparently in part because she claimed to be 1/32 Cherokee.
Rob Natelson ([email protected]) is a retired constitutional law professor and constitutional historian. He currently serves as a senior fellow in constitutional jurisprudence at The Heartland Institute.