In Defense of Excellence

18 Pages Posted: 21 Nov 2019 Last revised: 10 Dec 2019

See all articles by Jasper L. Tran

Jasper L. Tran

University of Minnesota Law School

Date Written: 2019


While Anthony Kronman’s The Assault on American Excellence certainly has many rich veins to mine, this Review aims to tap only those central to his observations on how academic excellence has gradually lost its reign in colleges and universities. Part I situates the Book among his earlier scholarship and other scholars’ work. To better understand his vantage point, Part II contextualizes the Book with Kronman’s intellectual journey and the historical development of diversity. Part III discusses the Book in detail, beginning with Kronman’s argument for the pursuit of excellence followed by his identification of the three anti-excellence movements, and critically engages the Book with arguments/counterarguments that it could have, should have, but did not cover. Part IV briefly concludes with an ex ante view on the future of excellence.

Keywords: excellence, aristocracy, meritocracy, elitism, education, politics, anthony, kronman, assault, American, Yale, Bakke

JEL Classification: K00, K10, K19, K20, K29, K30, K39, K40, K41, K49

Suggested Citation

Tran, Jasper, In Defense of Excellence (2019). Vanderbilt Law Review En Banc, Vol. 73, Forthcoming . Available at SSRN:

Jasper Tran (Contact Author)

University of Minnesota Law School ( email )

420 Delaware St. SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455
United States

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