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  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
Saturday, March 26, 2005
About a month ago the National Review published an article on Professor Laurence Tribe which took as its predicate Professor Tribe's own 2002 letter to The Harvard Crimson defending Doris Kearns Goodwin against the plagiarism charges brought against her (for more background on the Goodwin case, see here).
In his letter, Professor Tribe distinguished Goodwin's case as much less serious than that of other scholars (evidently referring to scholars such as Joseph Ellis) "who have been caught falsifying as fact what was, in truth, fantasy — either about their own lives or about the events they were chronicling," and he stated that "purveying false or misleading information" is "the cardinal sin for any scholar."
According to the National Review article, Tribe himself committed this "cardinal sin" in 2003 in an essay about his first U.S. Supreme Court argument.
The article is by National Review senior editor Ramesh Ponnuru and is entitled: "How to Be a Hero of Liberty." It appeared in the print edition dated March 14, 2005, and first appeared online February 25, 2005. An electronic copy is available online here.
The essay by Professor Tribe discussed in the article, which appeared in the Green Bag legal journal in 2003, is available online as a PDF file (courtesy of Legal Affairs) here: Part 1 and Part 2.
There has been a considerable amount of blog commentary concerning the National Review article, both pro and con, since it came out, but we have refrained from posting anything on this subject out of a desire to give Professor Tribe the benefit of the doubt until we have an opportunity to see both his reply letter in the National Review and Ponnuru's reply to that letter, which according to Ponnuru are due out in the next issue. We hope that the National Review will make Professor Tribe's letter and Ponnuru's reply freely available on its website, just as was the original article, so everyone interested will be able to fully evaluate the exchange and draw their own conclusions.
We will update this post once links to the letter and reply become available. We will then try to do an a chronological listing of all known links to Internet-available material concerning this story. We may also take the relatively rare step (for us) of editorializing on this topic, as we believe much of the commentary to date dwells on minor details and on the motives of those on both sides, and does not get to the heart of the issue concerning Professor Tribe's 2003 Green Bag essay: namely, whether it meets the standards Professor Tribe himself laid down for judging other scholars, in his 2002 letter to The Crimson regarding Goodwin.
The National Review has now published Professor Tribe's letter to the editor, and Ramesh Ponnuru's reply, and they are freely available online here. (Hat tip: Howard Bashman, "How Appealing")
We plan to post further on the National Review article, time permitting.
Posted by AuthorSkeptics at 6:18 PM