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

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.


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