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September 14, 2004

The Ogletree Plagiarism at Harvard Law

Via Volokh, The Weekly Standard tells us that Prof. Charles Ogletree of
Harvard Law doesn't even read what's published under his own name, assembled by
research assistants.

Despite his very limited scholarly credentials, Charles Ogletree was granted
tenure at Harvard Law School in 1993 as an expert in race relations during the
peak of the agitation--sit-ins, marches, accusations of racism--to diversify the
school's faculty. Rumors swirled about the writing, editing, and placement of
his tenure-winning essay in the Harvard Law Review, but, by any measure,
Ogletree was hired precisely because race cases like Brown v. Board of Education
were his specialty. He's not supposed to need other sources. He's a Harvard law
professor; other sources are supposed to need him.

AN ANONYMOUS NOTE, sent to Yale's Balkin and Ogletree's dean at Harvard shortly
after All Deliberate Speed was published in April, prompted an investigation,
which the dean assigned to former Harvard president Derek Bok and former dean
Robert Clark. The only result so far is Ogletree's public explanation on the
Harvard website. In the end, Bok told the Boston Globe, the investigators
decided that though there was "a serious scholarly transgression," they found
"no deliberate wrongdoing at all." Ogletree merely "marshaled his assistants and
parceled out the work," Bok explained, "and in the process some quotation marks
got lost."

It looks like affirmative action strikes again, in this case aided perhaps by the bad influence of judges who rely on clerks. Or maybe Ogletree has spent time in government, where one of the rules for top bureaucrats is "Never write anything you sign and never sign anything you write." Academia is not like that, so Harvard should bounce him down to Washington.

Of course, the Democrats now seem to advanced the maxim a bit. "Never write anything you sign, never sign anything you write, and if it's incriminating, sign it using the name of a dead National Guard officer."

Posted by erasmuse at September 14, 2004 08:47 AM

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