Law School Rankings and Political Ideology: Measuring the Conservative Penalty and Liberal Bonus With Updated 2023 Rankings Data
22 Pages Posted: 17 May 2022
Date Written: April 1, 2022
In 2020, novel research was conducted to measure whether, and to what extent, conservative law schools are punished and liberal law schools are rewarded in the U.S. News & World Report peer rankings. The study found a drastic conservative penalty and liberal bonus that amounted to a difference in the peer rankings of twenty-eight spots. This Article updates the research using the latest political affiliation data and the most recent 2023 rankings data. The updated results produce an astounding thirty-two-place difference in the peer rankings attributable to political ideology. This increase from the 2020 research elicits discussion regarding the effects of recent societal changes in polarization and civility. A discussion on how this disparity in the rankings may perpetuate a lack of ideological diversity in legal academia is also discussed. The harm to professors, students, and society at large from such a lack of ideological diversity in law schools is discussed. Finally, this Article concludes by proposing a simple solution to circumvent this manifestation of ideological bias in legal academia.
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