Monday, September 27, 2004

Larry, we hardly knew ye

An often mentioned name as a potential Democratic nominee for a SCOTUS vacancy is Lawrence Tribe of Harvard.


Power Line: "Democrats' Top Scholar Charged With Plagiarism
I got to know Larry Tribe in the days when Deacon and I were stalwarts of the Dartmouth debate team, and Tribe coached the Harvard team. Shortly thereafter, he was one of my professors at Harvard Law School. Larry was never exactly a friend, since he was a teacher and I was a student, but I knew him and considered him a nice guy and one of the most lucid intellects I've encountered.

In later years, Larry became famous as America's leading Constitutional Law scholar. His treatise, American Constitutional Law, dominates the field. Tribe, a practicing lawyer as well as a scholar, has argued 36 cases in the United States Supreme Court. He is now one of Harvard's University Professors, the highest honor the university bestows.

Tribe also went on to become the Democratic Party's top lawyer and, arguably, its leading intellectual. He created the legal and intellectual justification for the Democrats' shameful destruction of Robert Bork's career, a role that probably ended Tribe's own hopes of a Supreme Court appointment. Among other politically charged cases, he represented Al Gore in Bush v. Gore.
Now Larry Tribe stands accused of plagiarism. Joseph Bottum, books and arts editor of the Weekly Standard, presents overwhelming evidence to support his claim that Tribe's 1985 book, God Save This Honorable Court, was largely copied from a 1974 book called Justices and Presidents by the University of Virginia's Henry J. Abraham. Bottum's case rests on the relentless citation of example after example where it is clear that Tribe has copied both the substance and, in many cases, the exact wording of Abraham's text. Most damning is Tribe's repetition of errors, like slight misquotations of original sources, in Abraham's book.

Why did he do it? In a sense, Tribe seems to have fallen prey to" [Hindrocket's PowerLine comments continue at link above; Bottums' article can be read here: Weekly Standard.


Blogger Doug said...

But the important point here is not whether Tribe did or did not plagiarize:
What is important is that Tribe's book presents an accurate reflection of the arguments made in Abraham's book.

September 27, 2004 at 12:22 PM  

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