The Way Back…
Some CoOp guest bloggers are invited back as permabloggers.
Some return for an encore, to report on some relevant research project they have underway.
Yet others return, to address some current event falling within their particular area of expertise.
And then there’s me.
In sharp contrast to my predecessors, I’ve been called back to apologize.
That’s right. On the advice of its over-staffed Office of General Counsel, Concurring Opinions LLC has asked me to return, to apologize for this.
Dave’s recent post was kind enough not to dwell on my brief report of the now-renounced
Temple Law Review [Update: Make that the TULANE Law Review] article referenced therein, which attempted to link the voting records of Louisiana Supreme Court justices with campaign contributions from relevant litigants and their lawyers. Yet there it remained in the CoOp archives – unrepudiated.
Without equivocation, then, let me say: I renounce that post. I regret that post. And I apologize for that post.
The authors of the article were wrong. The post was wrong. And I was wrong.
There. Lawsuit averted.
Any lessons to be learned from the experience? Four come to mind, fairly quickly:
(1) First, I’ll never trust Adam Liptak again.
(2) Second, be wary of “vaporware” in scholarship, as elsewhere. When the results of a paper are announced, but not disclosed, something may well be awry. Sure, if you say nothing, someone may beat you to the scoop. But better that than the ugly denouement offered above the fold.
(3) Take care in judging a book by its author. One of the co-authors of the relevant paper was Vernon Palmer, a capable scholar of comparative law. I admire much of his work in the field. But his strengths in the one field of scholarly inquiry may tell us precious little about the strengths of his analysis in another.
(4) Finally, bringing the latter lesson home, painful though it may be to admit, most of us are not Renaissance men (or women). Given as much, we might perhaps take due caution, in evaluating claims outside our areas of expertise – perhaps especially when they happen to resonate with our natural assumptions or inclinations.
Apology issued, and lessons appropriately learned, I look forward to being back with you, commenting thoughtfully on bankruptcy law, law and literature, Dadaism, nuclear energy, and whatever other random things I happen to hear about, over the ensuing weeks…