Harvard Plagiarism Archive


"[T]he problem of writers . . . passing off the work of others as their own . . . [is] a phenomenon of some significance."
PROFESSOR LAURENCE TRIBE, e-mail to Dean Lawrence Velvel, 9/13/2004

"'I . . . delegated too much responsibility to others . . .,' [Prof. Charles Ogletree] said. 'I was negligent
in not overseeing more carefully the final product that carries my name.' * * * Ogletree told The Crimson that
he had not read the passage of Balkin’s book that appears in his own work. An assistant inserted the material
into a manuscript . . . . But Ogletree said he was closely involved in most of the drafting of the book . . . ."

STEVEN MARKS, "Ogletree Faces Discipline for Copying Text," The Harvard Crimson, 9/13/2004

"'Ronald Klain . . . then only a first-year student at Harvard law . . . spent most of his time with
Tribe working on Tribe's [1985] book God Save This Honorable Court,'" the Legal Times added in 1993.
* * * 'Many of Klain's friends and former colleagues say that he wrote large sections of the book . . . .'"

JOSEPH BOTTUM, "The Big Mahatma," The Weekly Standard, 10/4/2004

"[A]fter several plagiarism scandals broke over distinguished faculty members at Harvard's law school, including
Laurence Tribe,a group of students there set up a blog, Harvard Plagiarism Archive, to follow the University's
handling of the problem. They believe that the University, President Summers, and Dean Elena Kagan
essentially white-washed the scandal and are demanding further action.

PROF. RALPH LUKER, History News Network's "Cliopatria" blog,4/26/2005

“The Tribe and Ogletree matters have catalyzed bitter complaints from Harvard students that the university
employs a double standard. . . . The students have every right to be incensed over this gross double standard.
They in fact ought to raise hell peacefully about it: a constant barrage of letters, emails, statements . . . .”

DEAN LAWRENCE VELVEL, "Velvel on National Affairs" blog, 4/28/2005

"If you want to keep track of this story, I recommend the new Harvard Plagiarism Archive. . . . [I]t's pretty thorough."
TIMOTHY NOAH, Slate's "Chatterbox" blog,9/28/2004

"[Y]ou have done a wonderful service to all by operating the AuthorSkeptics website . . . a fine public service."
DEAN LAWRENCE VELVEL, author of "Velvel on National Affairs," e-mail to AuthorSkeptics, 4/19/2005



Sunday, August 29, 2010

Proof That Laurence Tribe Used Ghostwriters on the Second Edition of His Treatise

The June 28 National Review article by Robert VerBruggen (article here), which we've mentioned several times on this blog (principally here and here), basically put the nail in the coffin on Professor Laurence Tribe's efforts to deny what we and Dean Velvel have long contended based on sources who have contacted us with personal knowledge of Tribe's practices, who unfortunately we have not been at liberty to name:  that  Tribe has for years run a ghostwriting mill in which his books and articles (including his career-making constitutional law treatise) have been drafted for him by his current and former students, with Tribe serving mostly as a compiler of material written by others, not as an actual "author" of the works bearing his name.

The evidence marshaled by Mr. VerBruggen (and R.O. Denver) that Tribe used student ghostwriters even on his treatise dealt with the first and third editions of Tribe's treatise.

To summarize, as to the first edition, published in 1978.  It contained many passages copied straight out of the 1976 Law Review, something Tribe obviously would not have done, but which the students working on the Law Review might understandably have done).

As to the third edition, published in 2000.  One section on the Seventh Amendment contained hundreds of words copied straight out of a 1995 Supreme Court pro-plaintiff amicus brief which had been filed by eleven lawyers and law professors (not including Tribe), without any credit being given that brief.  The brief was funded by contingent-fee plaintiffs' lawyers with a huge stake in the then-pending $5 billion Exxon Valdez jury award for plaintiffs, an award which would be much easier to uphold in full if the expansive interpretation of the Seventh Amendment argument in the amicus brief was accepted.  Without any disclosure that the constitutional analysis in the brief had been developed in an advocacy context, and paid for by plaintiffs' lawyers, the material was copied into the third edition of Tribe's treatise by one of the plaintiffs' lawyers who had worked on the brief, who Tribe admitted he had let help "draft" his treatise.  This lawyer's pro-plaintiff bias was so extreme that in 2002 the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit imposed $71,000 in sanctions against him for filing a plaintiffs' appellate brief which contained "a substantial number of outright falsehoods" in what was "indisputably an act of deliberate misrepresentation."  Nothing about how large chunks of an advocacy brief ended up in Tribe's treatise due to the work of an ethically challenged Tribe ghostwriter was known to readers until Mr. VerBruggen confronted Tribe about the hundreds of words copied from the Amar brief, and Tribe was forced to confront the latest malfunction in his ghostwriting mill. To the contrary:  both in the preface to his treatise and in the Seventh Amendment section itself, Tribe heralded his Seventh Amendment analysis as offering fresh, new scholarly insights.

In response to our recent coverage of the National Review article, we are delighted to report that a Harvard Law graduate who was on the Law Review in 1984, but who did not work for Tribe, has contacted us to confirm in the strongest terms that Tribe also used law students to ghostwrite the second edition of his  treatise, which was in the works in 1984 and was ultimately published in 1988.  Our source indicates that he knew several editors who were Tribe ghostwriters, both on his treatise and on other projects, and that it was common knowledge that these "research assistants" were actually writing up various sections of Tribe's publications, subject to Tribe's line editing and final approval. During this era, apparently, people typically did not have personal computers, so that Tribe's ghostwriters were frequently seen using the Law Review's "word-processing machines" (apparently specialized computers), often until late into the night, to draft up material for Tribe.

Our source is unwilling to go public on this matter, for fear that his career would thereby suffer (a common problem for us in pursuing the Harvard Law School plagiarism stories), but he provided us with evidence of the operation of Tribe's ghostwriting mill that in our view is even better:  a document memorializing that Tribe's ghostwriters had so much autonomy in drafting his publications that it would not be too much of a stretch to suggest that they were the actual authors of his publications (with Tribe generally functioning as an editor or compiler, not an actual author). 

The document is the May 4, 1984, issue of the "Harvard Law Revue," which we are told was a parody version of the Review put out each year poking fun at professors and editors. One of the articles, beginning on page 8, is a parody of an article Tribe actually published in the Review during the prior year, authored by one "Laurence H. Trite."  In the initial footnote, "Professor Trite" confesses that he has "a staff of four graduate assistants" in charge of keeping his thoughts on constitutional law straight.  In footnote 5, two of the editors who our source recalls being Tribe ghostwriters -- David Sklansky and Joan Greco -- are identified as the co-authors of the second edition of Tribe's treatise (with Tribe not listed as a co-author).  The cover, and all four pages of the "Trite" article, are embedded as thumbnails below.  Click on the thumbnails for a larger view.

In a parody context, a humorous exaggeration only works when the audience -- here, fellow Law Review editors -- immediately recognize that there is a large kernel of truth to what is being exaggerated for effect.  Thus this footnote works to confirm that we know from multiple sources who have disclosed Tribe's practices to various journalists, to Dean Velvel, and to us over the years:  that David Sklansky and Joan Greco, and the other Tribe ghostwriters who worked on the first, second, and third editions of his treatise, weren't just doing research, or editing, or cite-checking -- they were drafting sections of Tribe's scholarly works, subject of course to his final review and editing.  They were ghostwriters in Tribe's ghostwriting mill.

Of course, the "Revue" parody issue, standing alone, does not itself prove that Tribe used ghostwriters on the second edition of his treatise.  For that, we need a public statement by a Tribe ghostwriter that the work he or she did in fact involved drafting sections of Tribe's scholarly works.

That, it turns out, is exactly what we have here.  Joan Greco, after serving as a Tribe ghostwriter, went on to further burnish her already impressive credentials by clerking for Justice (then-Judge) Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. She then moved on to a law firm, then to law teaching, and then to work on various media projects.  Here's how she described her work for Tribe, in the resume she posted on her AOL homepage (archived copy here):
"Researched and drafted sections of Constitutional Choices and the second edition of American Constitutional Law."  
Again, here are the relevant pages of the 1984 Harvard Law Revue. Enjoy!






Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Post-Modern "Paper Chase": Larry Tribe as the Anti-Kingsfield

Three prominent law professors, all Yale law grads, recently had a good laugh at the expense of a public figure who we have had occasion to mention on this blog.  Thanks to the reader who called this to our attention and who forwarded a short clip.

In the August 11 episode of PJTV's InstaVision program which you can watch in its entirety here, Professor Glenn Reynolds (of "Instapundit" fame) reflected on the heroic qualities of Professor Charles W. Kingsfield, Jr., the fictional Harvard Law School professor depicted in The Paper Chase

Professor Reynolds then directed his imagination to what a post-modern version of The Paper Chase would look like, and what sort of character would play the villian -- the "bad example of a law school professor today."

His answer?  Larry Tribe, a leading figure on this very blog! In identifying the sort of anti-Kingsfield he had in mind, Reynolds made a not-too-thinly-veiled reference to Tribe's practice of having large tracts of his constitutional law treatise ghostwritten by assistants (here), some of whom, it seems, just cannot resist inserting into their drafts plagiarized passages (here).

This amused the other participants in the discussion -- NYU law professor Richard Epstein and Berkeley law professor John Yoo -- who were quick to pledge they've never had a research assistant write a single sentence in any of the articles they've published.

Here's a brief  clip (to subscribe to PJTV click here).



Professor Tribe was unavailable for comment on whether he will be playing himself in the film.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Script and Synoposis of the July 8 "I'm Larry Tribe" Video

We have been covering the ghostwriting/plagiarism scandals at Harvard Law School for nearly six years now.  (For background on our decision to blog anonymously, see here, here, and here).  We have addressed virtually every aspect of the scandals and virtually every comment by journalists and bloggers about them, often in considerable detail.  As mentioned earlier (here), recently we had the opportunity, working with the bloggers on the Harvard Parody site (here; earlier platform here), to attempt to boil down the history of the scandals using a video format, so that someone with no prior knowledge of them could after watching the video have a working understanding of the issues they present, some of which remain unresolved. 

With considerable (and needed) help from the Harvard Parody bloggers, we did our best to present the material in a way that is not just informative, but entertaining.  We introduced that video in our July 10 post, here.  It's hosted on WordPress, as one high-quality video, here.  It's hosted on YouTube (though in slightly lower quality) here

A reader suggested that we post a script of the video, to help facilitate analysis of and commentary on it.  We prepared one and provided it to the Harvard Parody bloggers, who posted it here.  However, as concise as we tried to make the presentation, the video runs 31 minutes, so as quick guidance for those who may be new to our blog, and to help encourage people to watch the video, we also prepared an informal synopsis of the video, which also includes a few additional comments as context, most of which will be familiar to long-time readers of our blog.

Although the segments of the video are not numbered, the video covers seven areas, which for convenience we are numbering here.  In parentheses we indicate where in the video each area is covered, for those readers who want to watch only a particular segment.

1.  Introduction and basic background concerning the March, 2005, Harvard Law School Drama Society parody show in which students made fun of Professor Laurence Tribe for his routine use of student ghostwriters, and for his recently discovered plagiarism, for which he had received no punishment.  (0:00 to 2:15)

2 .  Alan Dershowitz:  an "orgy of plagiarism." Evidence summarized on the AuthorSkeptics' blog (here and here) and the detailed analysis of California attorney Frank J. Menetrez (here, here, here, and here), together show beyond any doubt that Alan Dershowitz's 2003 book, A Case for Israel, plagiarized extensively from Joan Peters' 1984 book, From Time Immemorial -- an "orgy of plagiarism," as one reviewer commented shortly after the book appeared. Despite all this evidence, Dean Elena Kagan imposed no punishment on Dershowitz.  (2:15 to 4:00)

3.  Charles Ogletree:  "Double plagiarism" and "tenure-revoking ghostwriting."  Interviews of Harvard Law Review editors and Harvard Law School professors, as reported by the New Republic in 1993, document that then-untenured professor Charles Ogletree was charged with having fraudulently hired students to ghostwrite his tenure article.  Ogletree denied the charge.  There was no conclusive proof of the ghostwriting, as no one was willing to come forward publicly as a witness for fear of being called racist.  In this climate, Ogletree was granted tenure.  However, a decade later in 2004 the original charges took on new credibility, when Ogletree was forced to admit to heavy reliance on student ghostwriters, after ghostwriters who drafted a just-released book for him plagiarized six consecutive paragraphs from a book by Yale law professor Jack Balkin.  (Here, here, here, and here.) Dean Elena Kagan learned of the offense through an anonymous tip.  She did nothing for months. In a Clintonesque effort to minimize news attention she waited until the Friday evening before Labor Day to release her brief internet statement on it (here).  This tactic which backfired when several students, disturbed by such chicanery in an academic environment, started the "OgletreeSkeptics," later renamed "AuthorSkeptics," project in response.  Kagan imposed no punishment on Ogletree, nor did she revisit the original charge that Ogletree had obtained tenure through fraud.  Kagan imposed no punishment even after the Harvard Crimson reported in 2006 that Ogletree's book contained four consecutive sentences which plagiarized from a 1996 book by University of California scholar Roy Brooks (the four sentences appeared in exactly the same order in Brooks's book) (here).  (4:00 to 7:00)

4.  Laurence Tribe's "research factory":  "a bigger kind of plagiarism."  The Ogletree scandal led Ogletree's colleague at Harvard, Professor Laurence Tribe, to write an e-mail to Dean Lawrence Velvel defending Ogletree, but also agreeing with Velvel that "the problem of writers . . . passing off the work of others as their own" was a significant one (here).  Without objection from Tribe, Velvel posted Tribe's e-mail on his blog (here). Another professor (whose identity remains unknown), who regarded Tribe's remark as rather hypocritical, then tipped off the Weekly Standard about Tribe's own plagiarism, in a 1985 book about the Supreme Court, of a 1974 book on the Supreme Court published by Henry Abraham of the University of Virginia.  Joseph Bottum of the Weekly Standard published a lengthy article (here) summarizing the evidence that Tribe had hired a first-year law student to write much of the book for him and that whoever drafted the book had lifted many passages nearly verbatim from Abraham's book.  Tribe apologized for the offense (here and here) and then refused to grant any interviews, not even to the New York Times (here)  Dean Elena Kagan investigated the matter despite her conflict of interest (in the 1980s she, too, had helped draft a book for Tribe and even lived in his basement (here), and thus she had an incentive to keep hidden the extent of Tribe's ghostwriting operation).  On April 13, 2005, Kagan released an official statement on behalf of Harvard clearing Tribe of any intentional wrongdoing (here). (7:00 to 12:00)

5.  Unanswered criticisms of Kagan and Tribe

Kagan's action met with severe and sustained criticism from Dean Velvel -- in particular, her apparent decision that for a Harvard law professor to delegate the writing of a book to a law student, and take sole authorship credit, is not an offense deserving of punishment.  (Here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.)  Velvel suggested two simple statements Tribe could make to clear away the charge that he'd used ghostwriters (here, para. 42), statements Professor Ogletree had earlier declined to make (here and here), and which Tribe has declined to make.  (Later, in 2006, Velvel stated (repeating a remark by a professor with personal knowledge of the matter, which would be libelous if it weren't true) that Tribe's assistants "had written large tracts of Tribe's treatise."  See here.)  Tribe's scholarly practices also came under sharp attack by noted historian Peter Charles Hoffer, who holds a Ph.D from Harvard and whose son was a student of Tribe's.  On national television Hoffer stated that Tribe "is misusing assistants"; that he's "not a scholar anymore"; that he's "sort of running a research corporation."  Hoffer further stated that he doesn't see how Tribe can "stand up in front of a group of people as an author" when he's actually "a compiler" of material drafted for him by others.  Hoffer concluded that if he had been aware of Tribe's scholarly practices while his son was at Harvard Law School, he'd have advised his son to "take someone else for constitutional law."  (12:00 to 16:00)

The portion of the 31-minute video containing Hoffer's remarks is available as a standalone video on YouTube here (or just click below):



(Note:  the Hoffer interview served as the inspiration for one of Harvard Parody's funniest songs following up on "I'm Larry Tribe," a song ghostwritten for Tribe to sing, entitled "I'm a Compiler," available here.)

To the best of our knowledge, to date neither Kagan nor Tribe have disputed any of the criticisms made by Velvel and Hoffer.

6.  The June 28, 2010, National Review article on Tribe, written by Robert VerBruggen (here), published more evidence that Tribe is not an author, but merely a "compiler" of material drafted by his army of assistants.  His assistants copied into his 1978 constitutional law treatise at least seven passages from issues of the Harvard Law Review, giving no credit to the Review for the copied passages.  The 2000 edition of Tribe's treatise contained a new section on the Seventh Amendment which Tribe had presented as new and original -- until, that is, the National Review informed him it had learned that hundreds of words of the section had been copied from a 1996 Supreme Court amicus brief which had been filed by eleven lawyers and law professors (not including Tribe), without any credit being given that brief, and without even a mention of the brief (even though the analysis in the brief had ultimately been rejected by the Supreme Court).  Making his first public admission to the use of ghostwriters (and thus confirming the criticisms of Professor Hoffer and Dean Velvel), in a written statement Tribe blamed his "then-research assistant Jonathan Massey" (who he said was one of the "many research assistants over the years" who had helped him actually "draft" portions of his treatise) for failing to disclose to readers that this material was copied from the amicus brief.  However, Tribe was silent on why he never disclosed to readers that his new, heavily pro-plaintiff section on the Seventh Amendment had actually been drafted by a lawyer more than a decade out of law school who (as subsequently discovered by law professor "R.O. Denver") had a long history of urging pro-plaintiff arguments on behalf of plaintiffs' trial lawyers (for example, in the amicus brief at issue) -- a lawyer with a pro-plaintiff bias so extreme that in 2002 the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit imposed $71,000 in sanctions against him for filing a pro-plaintiff appellate brief which contained "a substantial number of outright falsehoods" in what was "indisputably an act of deliberate misrepresntation."  (Order in Case No. 01-21064 dated Nov. 25, 2002 (here), and earlier memorandum, imposing $71,117.75 in sanctions, jointly and severally, on Jonathan S. Massey, et al.).  (16:00 to 21:40)

7.  Holding Harvard Plagiarists Accountable. Where Harvard administrators such as Dean Elena Kagan fell down on their job, by openly tolerating professors who hire students to ghostwrite their books for them, even when the ghostwriters commit plagiarism, Harvard students stepped up.  One group of students started the Harvard Plagiarism Archive.  On a more entertaining note, members of the Harvard Law School Drama Society prominently featured Tribe and Ogletree in their March, 2005, parody show, staged before an audience of thousands.  The 31-minute video includes audio clips of all three skits focusing on ghostwriting and plagiarism, including the famous "I'm Larry Tribe," complete with lyrics and photos.  You can view that masterpiece as a standalone video here, or just click below:



Shortly after the parody wrapped, contrary to Tribe's September, 2004, statement in which he said he took full responsibility for his offense, Tribe sent an e-mail to his students (here) saying he didn't understand the suggestion in the parody that he was a plagiarist.  Given Tribe's clarification, in effect, that "his ghostwriter did it," so Tribe was guilty of using a ghostwriter, but not of personally plagiarizing from anyone, the students launched the Harvard Parody blog which retracted the "I'm Larry Tribe" parody (here) and substituted a new parody, "Harvard Plagiarist Heaven" (here).  The Harvard Parody blog continues, on a new platform, here.  (21:40 to 31:00)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Update on Senate Judiciary Committee; More on Kagan's Whitewashing of Dershowitz Plagiarism

Two bloggers published posts today regarding the interest of one or more Senate Judiciary Committee members (at least Republican members) in the indications that Elena Kagan investigated the ghostwriting/plagiarism charges against Larry Tribe despite a conflict of interest (she did ghostwriting for Tribe as a student and therefore was involved in the unethical practice she undertook to investigate) and ended up whitewashing the matter.

First, Tom Remington (with whom readers of this blog are already familiar) described the extensive efforts he made starting Monday to publicize the Kagan whitewashing matter, to lobby senators on the Committee to look into it, and to encourage many others to lobby the senators -- efforts which may well have been instrumental in focusing the attention of the senators and their staffs on the matter.  You can read his post here.  We appreciate Mr. Remington's interest and commend him for his efforts.

Second, Brian Leiter, the John P. Wilson Professor of Law at the University of Chicago Law School (bio here), and author two widely read blogs, Leiter Reports:  A Philosophy Blog, and Brian Leiter's Law School Reports, addressed our report about the interest in the Kagan whitewashing matter among at least some senators, in a post you can read here.  We appreciate Professor Leiter's mention of our "often funny blog," and we acknowledge that many will likely concur with him that "[i]t seems rather far-fetched that these matters will derail Kagan's nomination . . . ."

The most important part of Professor Leiter's post, however, is his mention of attorney Frank Menetrez's 2008 analysis (here) showing, beyond any doubt, that Alan Dershowitz is a plagiarist and that Elena Kagan wrongly cleared Dershowitz of plagiarism, thereby freeing him up to mount an attack on the person who had correctly accused him of plagiarism, Norman Finkelstein, with the result that Finkelstein -- the one not at fault -- ended up being denied tenure, while Dershowitz suffered no punishment at all. 

We were aware of Mr. Menetrez's 2008 article, which we relied on heavily in writing portions of the Harvard Parody video ("I'm Larry Tribe":  The Story Behind the Parody) on Kagan's handling of the three Harvard ghostwriting/plagiarism scandals, which you can view here.  However, we were unaware of Mr. Menetrez's article published on June 28, 2010, drawing the connection between his earlier analysis and the question of whether Elena Kagan possesses the character one expects of a life-tenured Supreme Court Justice.  Professor Leiter linked to this article, and we strongly recommend that everyone interested in the Kagan confirmation hearings read it.  It is available here. For related commentary, see here, here, here, and here.

In our view, any fair-minded person should expect and insist that the Senate Judiciary Committee inquire into the matters discussed by Mr. Menetrez -- and the other matters addressed in this blog, on Dean Velvel's blog, and in the Harvard Parody video.

Update (7/15)

In doing further searches for recent commentary on the Dershowitz affair, we came across two provocative essays about the Harvard plagiarism scandals which specifically discuss Kagan's role, which we somehow previously overlooked.  One, by blogger "Neo-Neocon," from May 15, is entitled The Harvard Law legacy of plagiarism," and features an entertaining video.  It's available here

The other, by journalist and author Jack Cashill, from May 13, is entitled Kagan, Obama, and the Harvard Legacy of Literary Fraud.  It's available here.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Professor Codevilla's Analysis of the Larry Tribe Ghostwriting Scandal and Kagan's Whitewash of It

A reader alerted us to a thought-provoking analysis of the broader implications of the Larry Tribe ghostwriting scandal, and Dean Elena Kagan's whitewashing of that scandal, recently published by Boston University professor of international relations Angelo M. Codevilla, in an article on America's current "regime class" which is available in its entirety here.  The portion of the article addressing the Tribe matter is available in a blog post published three days ago, here.

In Professor Cocevilla's view, once someone manages to join the "regime class" by associating with "the right people, giving the required signs that one is on the right side," and showing "that he shares the manners, the tastes, the interests of the class, gives lip service to its ideals and shibboleths and is willing to accommodate the interests of its senior members," ordinary rules of accountability no longer apply:
If, for example, you are Lawrence Tribe in 1984, Harvard Professor of law, leftist pillar of the establishment, you can “write” your magnum opus by using the products of your student assistants, Ron Klain and Barack Obama. A decade later, after Klain admits to having written some parts of the book, and the other parts are found to be verbatim or paraphrases of a book published in 1974, you can claim (perhaps correctly) that your plagiarism was “inadvertent,” and you can count on the Law School’s dean, Elena Kagan, to appoint a committee including former and future Harvard president Derek Bok that issues a secret report that “closes” the incident. Incidentally, Obama ends up as President and Kagan a justice of the Supreme Court. Not one of these people did their job: the professor did not write the book himself, the assistant plagiarized instead of researching, the dean and the committee did not hold the professor accountable, and all ended up rewarded.
We commend Professor Codevilla for addressing the Tribe matter, and for his perspective on its broader implications.  However, we note a small error in his analysis:  the book that, according to reports, was largely ghostwritten for Tribe by Barack Obama was not God Save This Honorable Court (published in 1985, on which Ron Klain was the ghostwriter).  Obama's ghostwriting work was on Abortion:  The Clash of Absolutes, published in 1992.   As Ramesh Ponnuru has demonstrated in detail (see here), in setting forth the historical context of the controversy over abortion in that book, Obama and Tribe relied heavily on a Supreme Court amicus brief signed by hundreds of liberal academic historians which was a fraud: it "falsified the sources on which it purported to rely, and it contradicted the published work of many of the signatories . . . ."

[ 7/17 UPDATE:  Far be it for us to claim we had anything to do with any tweaking of journalistic accuracy, but it appears Professor Codevilla edited his essay in response to our comments, to remove the inaccurate reference to Obama as a purported ghostwriter on the God Save book (he also corrected Professor Tribe's first name, from "Lawrence" to "Laurence").  This morning, law professor Glenn Reynolds of "Instapundit" fame (who has been kind enough to link to our blog in the past) posted this "read the whole thing" comment about Professor Codevilla's apparently final version of his article, which appears on the American Spectator website here.  We're posting this update not out of any "gotcha" attitude, but simply to make clear to readers that our post three days ago accurately quoted the version of the article which had been called to our attention.]

Of course, that's hardly the only publication produced by Tribe in which he and his ghostwriters have taken the material in an advocacy-driven, somewhat suspect amicus brief and recycled it, presenting it as the supposedly objective product of neutral scholarly inquiry.  Read this blog post, and watch this video.

[7/15 UPDATE: In case you have difficulty viewing the Harvard Parody videos, either as embedded on this blog or at HarvardParody.wordpress.com, the videos are also posted on YouTube on the Harvard Parody channel, here: http://www.youtube.com/user/harvardparody]

Senate Republicans Are Looking Into Kagan's Whitewash of the Larry Tribe Ghostwriting Scandal

A quick update on last night's post:

We managed to reach a staffer for one of the Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee who assured us that the Republicans are looking into the indications that Elena Kagan was involved in whitewash of the Larry Tribe ghostwriting scandal and -- of particular concern -- that she involved herself in an investigation of the charges that Tribe used ghostwriters to produce a book on which Tribe took sole credit as author even though Kagan herself was involved in this unethical practice as a student (as set forth in detail in a recent video, here) and thus had a clear conflict of interest in whitewashing the matter, which is exactly what she ended up doing (we credit Dean Lawrence Velvel for the earliest detailed analysis of Kagan's conflict of interest; see here).

We did not press the staffer (who we agreed up front not to name) on what information was being examined, but the staffer seemed familiar with this blog, and with the recent "I'm Larry Tribe" video put together by the Harvard parodists with our help (see here).  We hope the Senators or their staffers examining this matter will speak with Dean Velvel and other academics who we have featured on this blog.

We note that the staffer was not especially eager to discuss this matter with us, and did so only after we pointed out that if we weren't given any information on whether or not Kagan's whitewashing of the Larry Tribe ghostwriting scandal was being addressed then we would have to assume -- and report on this blog -- that even after blogger Tom Remington (see below) contacted Senator Sessions' office and the offices of several other Republican Senators on the Judiciary Committee, the Republicans had declined to look into the considerable evidence of wrongdoing by Kagan.  We're happy to be able to report otherwise.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

What is Senator Sessions' View of Kagan's Whitewash of the Larry Tribe Scandal?

Blogger Tom Remington, who we blogged about yesterday, has an interesting update today on his Black Bear Blog, here.

Remington points to the announcement of Senator Jeff Sessions, the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, that he and the other Republicans on the Committee are forcing a one-week delay of the Committee vote on her nomination, to insist that she answer questions, set out in his letter, concerning whether she will recuse herself from any cases involving the constitutionality of the recently passed federal health care legislation.

But where, Remington asks, are the questions about Kagan's role as dean of Harvard Law School in whitewashing the ghostwriting/plagiarism scandals involving Larry Tribe and Charles Ogletree -- a role she undertook despite a personal conflict of interest (as a student she'd served as a Tribe ghostwriter and hence had every incentive to sweep the matter under the rug)?

Remington writes: 
[T]here is no reference to anything to do with Elena Kagan and her role in covering up ghostwriting and plagiarism at Harvard Law School while she was dean. I know that Sen. Sessions and others on the Judiciary Committee have been made aware of this as I have contacted them asking that they investigate.
We commend Mr. Remington on his efforts to alert Senator Sessions and others on the Committee to Kagan's whitewashing of such matters, and we will do our best to follow up, by contacting members of the Committee to ask whether they have taken the time to review the matters flagged by Mr. Remington, and to report on this blog what their views are.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Black Bear Blog on Senators' Neglect of Harvard Plagiarism Story: "Shame on the Senate"!

Tom Remington of the Black Bear Blog made a cogent post this morning noting the importance of the Harvard plagiarism scandals to the Senate's task of deciding whether Elena Kagan is fit to sit on the U.S. Supreme Court (we appreciate his link to our blog).  You can read it in full here

Mr. Remington, an avid hunter and the managing editor of U.S. Hunting Today, has previously opposed the Kagan nomination, mostly based on concerns about how faithfully she would adhere to the Second Amendment right to bear arms.  In this post, Remington expresses his concern about the Senate's lack of interest in Kagan's handling of the ghostwriting/plagiarism scandals at Harvard.  An excerpt:
Like with any Supreme Court nominee, there is more to the person than simply how they stand on Second Amendment. Isn’t it just as important to know about a person’s character, maybe even to know whether they find little problem with lying, cheating and stealing?

A reader tipped me off the other day to events that have been taking place for some time at Harvard Law School, especially during the time that Elena Kagan was the Dean. It appears there is nothing short of an epidemic (at least by using Barack Obama’s standards for what entails an epidemic) of plagiarism by some of Harvard Law’s well-known associates – Alan Dershowitz, Charles Ogletree and Laurence Tribe. The history is long and sordid dating back several years.   You can find much information about this from the links given to me by a reader who claims to have been following this story for several years and puzzles over why nobody is talking about this during the Kagan hearings. The Harvard Plagiarism Archive is a good place to start and the below video I’ve posted can be found at the Harvard Parody.

Personally I have little, if anything, at stake if Harvard Law School wants to pump out liars, cheaters and stealers.  . . .  However, all Americans have a stake in this because as Dean of Harvard Law School, according to documents provided [at the Harvard Plagiarism Archive], Elena Kagan was aware of copying and pasting of other scholars’ work into books and other documents claimed by Dershowitz, Ogletree and Tribe and essentially did nothing about it. Even more troubling is that Kagan, as Dean, investigated accusations against Laurence Tribe about his using students to ghostwrite and plagiarizing for his book and other works. A real conflict of interest exists here in that Kagan used to ghostwrite for Tribe.

Plagiarism is a serious offense. Caught in the act, a student will be bounced out on their ear but evidently it is an acceptable practice at Harvard Law School for professors and staff; at least under Kagan’s watch. The ramifications of stealing another person’s scholarship goes far beyond the obvious dishonesty and threatens the very foundation of academic scholarship, much as Climategate has rattled and cracked the scientific world leaving millions not knowing who to believe or trust.

. . .  Why isn’t this being discussed during the Kagan nomination process? This knowledge challenges the very core of a person’s character; the very ethos no American should desire to see of a person sitting on the highest court in this land.

Surely members of the Senate must be aware of this . . . aren’t they? Do they want to know? How deeply tied are these Senators to Dershowitz, Ogletree and Tribe? Is this all just Washington “business as usual/politics as usual”?

For Elena Kagan, as dean of any college, to show such disregard for obvious plagiarism is an abomination but to take it upon herself to investigate the person she used to ghostwrite for, simply reeks of dishonesty and a cover-up or better yet a good, old-fashioned Washington, D.C. whitewash.
* * *
Shame on the Senate for not getting to the bottom of this in their vetting process. If you think this information is important in selecting a Justice to sit on the Supreme Court, pass it on to everyone you know and most importantly, send it to your Senator.

Elena Kagan's "Runaround Suit"

The Harvard Parody bloggers have been busy.  Yesterday they posted a new video, called Elena Kagan's "Runaround Suit."  It contains highly entertaining video from the March, 2009, annual Harvard Law School parody show, which portrayed Justice John Paul Stevens as a decrepit old man who'd lost his marbles.  That video is matched with video of Kagan professing her great respect for Justice Stevens during her confirmation hearing a couple of weeks ago.  

The video also portrays Dean Kagan putting on a superhero cape, and announcing:
"But now I'm going to D.C.; I'm going to help fix the country the way I fixed the Law School!"
Given how Dean Kagan "fixed" the ghostwriting/plagiarism scandals of Professors Dershowitz, Ogletree, and Tribe by meting out no punishment of any kind to any of them even though each was caught red-handed having students write books for them (because, as it happened, the students had plagiarized material from other books), we must admit to some concern about the future of the country, or at least of the Supreme Court!




[7/15 UPDATE: In case you have difficulty viewing the Harvard Parody videos, either as embedded on this blog or at HarvardParody.wordpress.com, the videos are also posted on YouTube on the Harvard Parody channel, here: http://www.youtube.com/user/harvardparody]

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Update on National Review article and Harvard Parody project

A week ago we reported on the June 28 National Review article by Robert VerBruggen (article here) revealing important new evidence supporting what we have long contended:  that Professor Laurence Tribe has for years run a ghostwriting mill in which his books and articles (including his career-making constitutional law treatise) are drafted for him by his current and former students, with Tribe serving mostly as a compiler of material written by others, not as an actual "author" of the works bearing his name.

One of our most important posts on this point, dated Feb. 2, 2006, discussed an essay by Dean Lawrence Velvel touching on our "ghostwriting mill" description of Tribe's method of producing books. See here.  In particular, we quoted Dean Velvel's comment that a law professor he knows had recently told him that while a student at Harvard Law School he had been asked "to work on American Constitutional Law" and "he knew several people who had done so.  . . .  The people who had worked for Tribe, said this professor, had written large tracts of Tribe's treatise."

As we mentioned last week, we first learned of the National Review article from one of the Harvard Parody bloggers.  They ended up doing a lengthy video (which we provided significant help with), explaining in detail the Larry Tribe ghostwriting/plagiarism scandal which Dean Elena Kagan was instrumental in whitewashing, entitled:  "I'm Larry Tribe":  The Story Behind the Parody. The end of the video includes highly entertaining audio, photos, and lyrics of the 2005 live performance of the "I'm Larry Tribe" parody skit.  (If you want to watch only the skit, it's available as a discrete clip on YouTube, here.)

The full video is posted at the new Harvard Parody site on WordPress.com (which apparently has video hosting capabilities not available on the old Harvard Parody platform). [7/12 update: a reader suggested we embed the video; here it is]



[7/15 UPDATE: In case you have difficulty viewing the Harvard Parody videos, either as embedded on this blog or at HarvardParody.wordpress.com, the videos are also posted on YouTube on the Harvard Parody channel, here: http://www.youtube.com/user/harvardparody]

One final point.  In response to our post of last week, "R.O. Denver" e-mailed us about the new evidence of plagiarism by Tribe discussed in the National Review article, of which he had quite detailed knowledge.  Denver was the law professor who tipped off the Harvard Crimson to new evidence of plagiarism by Charles Ogletree in 2006.  See here.  Denver immediately supplied us with very helpful background information (particularly on the research assistant singled out by Tribe) which we used in helping put together the video.  Denver recently informed us that he plans to launch a website (similar to the one he created on the new evidence of Ogletree's plagiarism, see here) setting forth that background information and fully documenting the new evidence of plagiarism by Tribe, complete with images of the relevant pages of Tribe's treatise and of the sources which were copied into Tribe's treatise.  We greatly appreciate his assistance, which will minimize our burden in keeping this blog up to date. We will post a link to his website once it is available.

Monday, July 05, 2010

On Elena Kagan Covering for Alan Dershowitz

Blogger Tony Greenstein has an interesting post on Elena Kagan's effort as dean of Harvard Law School to cover for Alan Dershowitz's plagiarism (a subject which we've given little attention, focusing more on her efforts to cover for Laurence Tribe and Charles Ogletree).

You can read it here.

For an excellent primer on the Dershowitz affair, we recommend Harvard Clown School.  (For our discussion of that blog, see here).

Elena Kagan, Medical Ghostwriter?

We note with some amusement that after drawing enormous flak from Dean Lawrence Velvel for her apparent role in the 1980s as a legal ghostwriter for Laurence Tribe (see here), Elena Kagan faced tough questioning in her confirmation hearings over the possibility that in the 1990s she served as a medical ghostwriter on a sensitive political matter involving abortion.  Here.  It's a shame no one (apparently) asked Dean Kagan about her legal ghostwriting work.

Last month Professor David Bernstein noted Kagan's ghostwriting work for law professors (hardly the first such work, it appears!) during the Whitewater affair, in a Volokh Conspiracy post here.  Some of the commentators are quite critical of Kagan.