Doing the Business: Judges, Academics, and Intellectuals
York University - Osgoode Hall Law School
September 22, 2010
University of Queensland Law Journal, Vol. 29, No. 1, p. 134, 2010
In this short essay, I want to explain what is the ‘business’ that I think that I am in as an academic or, more grandly, as an intellectual. In particular, I will explore and explain what the implications of these intellectual commitments are for the fraught and misunderstood relationship between the academic and judicial (and, by implication, the professional) sectors of the legal community. In order to do this, I will first of all introduce an important distinction between the two different types of intellectual role – a traditional one and a critical one – that polarize law schools; this duality is far from original or unfamiliar. Then, I will take the recent confirmation process of Elena Kagan in her appointment to the United States Supreme Court to illustrate the political characteristics and institutional context which give rise to and sustain the pervasive acceptance by most law professors of their role as traditional intellectuals. Lastly, I will look at how this continuing nexus between judges and law professors affects academics in the way that they go about doing their intellectual business. Throughout the essay, I will emphasise that ‘law is politics’ and that there is no site of political innocence or independence that academics or judges can inhabit in meeting their professional roles and responsibilities.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 10
Keywords: Judges, Academics, Intellectuals, Role, Law, Politcs, Political Independence
JEL Classification: K39Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: September 22, 2010
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