Announcing the Moss Law School Rankings: Harvard #1, Yale #2!
posted by Scott Moss
Congratulations to Harvard on ranking #1 in the newly minted Moss Law School Rankings! Below are the raw statistics, which I explain below:
#1: Harvard (7 points)
#2: Yale (4 points)
#3: Tulane (3 points)
#4: NYU (2 points)
#5: Georgetown (2 points)
#5: Cincinnati (2 points)
#5: Rutgers (2 points)
#5: Pepperdine (2 points)
#5: Louisiana State (2 points)
#10: Fordham (1 point)
#10: Washington & Lee (1 point)
My ranking is unorthodox, I admit, but all the great statistical innovations yield unintuitive outcomes, no? Let me explain my methodology.
Law schools accrue points by having alumni who were high public officials convicted, or simply forced to leave office, following criminal or otherwise serious unlawful misconduct they allegedly committed while in office in the 1990s or 2000s. [Footnote: I carefully say “alleged” so nobody on this list should sue Dan Solove, Concurring Opinions LLC, or (especially) me.] A law school gets four points for a President, two points for a Governor or Senator, and one point for a member of Congress or non-Gubernatorial high statewide official. Here is the list I compiled:
• Harvard: Gov. Elliot Spitzer (NY) (prostitution; possibly abuse of state police resources); Rep. William Jefferson (LA) (bribes); Sen. Ted Stevens (AK) (bribes); Sen. Brock Adams (WA) (sexual harassment)
• Tulane: Sen. David Vitter (LA) (prostitution); Rep. Robert Livingston (LA) (prostitution)
• Yale: Pres. Bill Clinton (perjury, and a number of other things that may or may not have been illegal)
• NYU: Sen. Bob Packwood (OR) (sexual harassment)
• Georgetown: Gov. Don Siegelman (AL) (bribery)
• Washington & Lee: Chief Judge Sol Wachtler (NY) (criminal threats related to extramarital affair)
• Fordham: Rep. Vito Fossella (NY) (DWI while visiting child from extramarital affair )
• U.Cincinnati: Gov. Robert Taft (OH) (illegal campaign contributions)
• Rutgers: Sen. Bob Toricelli (NJ) (illegal campaign contributions)
• Pepperdine: Gov. Rod Blagojevich (IL) (bribes; misuse of government funds to try to punish political opponents; etc.)
• Louisiana State: Gov. Edwin Edwards (bribes)
Kudos for such strong showings not only to Harvard but also to the Louisiana schools (alleged crimes by three notable public officials who attended law schools in the state), which reminds me that I’m surprised no New Jersey schools ranked higher. Condolences to Stanford, Columbia, and U.Chicago for lacking any presence on this list; I’m sure there are many other fine ranking systems that reflect some other strengths of your schools.
This is just a comparative ranking among law schools, not evidence that law schools produce public corruption. Here is a short list of non-lawyers who otherwise would qualify: Gov. John Rowland (CT); Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham; Rep. Rick Renzi; Rep. Dan Rostenkowski; Rep. Mark Foley; Rep. James Traficant; Sen. Larry Craig; Gov. Fife Symington (AZ).
A final note: by gerrymandering the criteria (a) to include only 1990-present illegality and (2) to cover only statewide or federal officeholders, I spared by former employer, Marquette University Law School, a high spot on the list based on Sen. Joe McCarthy (whose 1950s antics do not qualify) and recently convicted Providence Mayor Buddy Cianci (who never has held federal office despite sufficient popularity to get elected after a conviction for assaulting a man with a lit cigarette, an ashtray and a fireplace log). Were I to stress these two alums, the school slogan — “We are Marquette!” — might take on a somewhat different meaning than intended.