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Law Review Editors Are Politically Biased, Study Finds

By George Khoury, Esq. | Last updated on

According to a recent paper written by law professors from the University of Chicago, law review editors are politically biased. When seeking submissions for a law journal, the study found that editors are more likely to select pieces that align with their own political ideologies.

It's interesting to note that after careful analysis of the data, the law profs were able to deduce that conservative and liberal leaning editors exercised the same proportional amount of political bias. Basically, conservative editors lean toward publishing more conservative authors and positions, and liberal editors lean towards publishing more liberal authors and positions. The study suggests more than just a correlation.

Yeah? And? So? What?

The study explained that the bias may not actually be as intentional as noted by Above The Law back in the 2012 expose of the Harvard Human Rights Journal. ATL published an excerpt from an email that basically stated that an author's political ideology gave the editor misgivings about published the submission.

Essentially, this new study posits that an editor's political leanings make an editor more qualified to evaluate and understand the arguments contained in the pieces that aligned with their political ideology. The problem with politically biased law review editors comes from the danger that politically biased law review journals and articles pose to the law itself. There is little doubt that law reviews and scholarship can be of great assistance to both attorneys and judges trying to understand nuances of the law and how to properly apply it. But, law reviews and journals also get read by policymakers and lawmakers.

Worth Noting

The study's authors cautioned that the measures of political leanings were based upon the financial political contributions of the law review editors and journal authors involved. Also worth noting, while the majority of law review authors and editors are liberal leaning politically, conservative editors tended to rank much higher on the conservative scale than liberal editors did on the liberal scale.

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