Tag: schools for misrule

Schools for Misrule at Cato Tomorrow

Yesterday was the publication date for my new book, Schools for Misrule: Legal Academia and an Overlawyered America, and tomorrow afternoon (Thursday, March 3) at 4 p.m. you can catch me in person talking about it at Cato’s headquarters or watch online at the above link. Commenting will be the Hon. Douglas Ginsburg, distinguished federal judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, and Cato’s Roger Pilon will be moderating. Registration is required for the in-person version and seating not guaranteed.

From Cato’s description:

The ideas that emanate from the nation’s law schools in one generation often wind up shaping law and national policy in the next. But as Cato senior fellow Walter Olson argues in this new book, for more than four decades the nation’s law schools have been a hatchery of bad ideas, from tort and contract theories to class actions, environmental law, racial reparations, the recasting of domestic policy differences as questions of international human rights, and more. Yet the common theme is to confer power and status on the schools’ own graduates and faculty, as law pervades ever wider areas of life. The pipe dream of training up philosopher-monarchs, Olson says, distracts law schools from their genuinely useful function of training competent, ethical, and suitably humble practitioners of the law.

Publisher’s Weekly calls the book “hard-hitting,” “witty,” “cutting-edge commentary,” and “astute.” Commentary magazine runs a lengthy excerpt in its new (March) issue, available here (subscribers or individual purchase). A different excerpt is online at Minding the Campus (free). You can read about some of the early reaction to the book here and here, catch Cato’s audio podcast interview with me, or see whether I’m visiting your city on my spring speaking tour.

Schools for Misrule Is Off To the Printer

I’m happy to report that my forthcoming book on bad ideas from the law schools, Schools for Misrule, just went off to the printer. Encounter Books commissioned a terrific jacket design (by Tamaye Perry) which you can preview here. Here’s the description from the book’s jacket:

Schools for Misrule: Legal Academia and an Overlawyered America

By Walter Olson

From Barack Obama (Harvard and Chicago) to Bill and Hillary Clinton (Yale), many of our national leaders today emerge from the rarefied air of the nation’s top law schools. The ideas taught there in one generation often wind up shaping national policy in the next.

The trouble is, as Walter Olson explains in this book, our elite law schools keep churning out ideas that are catastrophically bad for America. Rights to sue anyone over anything in class actions? Hatched in legal academia. Court orders mandating mass release of prison inmates? Ditto. The movement for slavery reparations? Court takeovers of school funding, at taxpayers’ expense? It’s not by coincidence, Olson argues, that these bad ideas all tend to confer more power on the law schools’ own graduates. In the overlawyered society that results, they are the ones who become the real rulers. And the worst is yet to come, the book demonstrates, as a fast-rising movement in the law schools demands that sovereignty over U.S. legal disputes be handed over to international law and transnational courts.

Some imagine that the law schools possess a finer, purer moral sensitivity than the everyday America outside their walls. (“Welcome to the Republic of Conscience!” Yale Law dean Harold Koh announced to incoming students.) But as this book shows, the pipe dream of training philosopher-monarchs not only leads to one policy disaster after
another, but distracts law schools from the most useful function they can serve: training competent, ethical and suitably humble lawyers for tomorrow.

On the back of the jacket are terrific blurbs from star law professor Randy Barnett of Georgetown (famous most recently for the ObamaCare court challenge), bestselling author and attorney Philip K. Howard (The Death of Common Sense), and perennial libertarian TV hero John Stossel.

You can pre-order the book at great prices from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or your favorite bookseller. Publication date is February 15, so copies should arrive before you know it.