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

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.


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