Harry Potter and Legal Scholarship. Give Me A Break!

A while back, we had some discussion with some of the law prof pioneers of the internet.  These are the old guard of blawgs, the ones who looked down their noses at the practical blawgosphere.  But being an inquisitive type of guy, I always check out what they have to say so I can pretend to be an intellectual, and not just a worker bee in the trenches.

So what are the law profs up to?  Legal analysis of Harry Potter!  I kid you not.  They are busy in their cubicles thoroughly dissecting, analyzing and cite-checking due process at the Ministry of Magic, according to William McGeveran at Concurring Opinions.  And it’s not just one article, kind of like a joke or a break from something useful.  No, no.  This appears to be one of the biggies amongst the law profs.

Check this out, and tell me if you can believe this:
[S]ee Harry Potter and the Half-Crazed Bureaucracy, 104 Mich. L.R. 1523 (2006)). The paper is pretty good (and a great read!) although I think he somewhat overstates the extent to which the Ministry of Magic represents a libertarian-oriented critique of all government. (Without revealing too much about the plot of Book Seven — published after his paper — I think I can say that some of the problems at the Ministry are the work of malicious Death Eaters, not public choice theory. Unless, I suppose, you consider the Death Eaters stand-ins for special interests.

This is what they are putting into law reviews these days.  And you wonder why courts no longer cite to law reviews.  Can you imagine an appellate court upholding a conviction on the basis of a Ministry of Magic decision?  Better yet, would it only be persuasive authority or precedent.

Now I’ve got nothing against law profs having some fun and messing around once in a while.  I’m sure they need a break from the serious just like the rest of us.  But publishing this in Law Reviews? 

Here’s the deal:  It’s a book.  It’s not real.  It’s a figment of J.K.Rawlings imagination.  There are real people being put in jail and executed based on erroneous identifications.  There are children being abused by a system that was meant to protect them from abuse.  There are people whose lives are lost the law can’t or won’t protect them.  Forget the Avada Cadavra curse.  It doesn’t really work.  Save the Law Reviews for real things and maybe they’ll be taken more seriously.

And by the way, it’s not as difficult to be a law prof as to try a capital case.  When we screw up, real people can die.  When you screw up, there is regime change at the Ministry of Magic.  Get it?

14 comments on “Harry Potter and Legal Scholarship. Give Me A Break!

  1. Gideon

    There’s a whole bunch of them!

    I’m going to start using the Harry Potter defense: “Your Honor, he’s a child without parents who is being groomed for a life of fighting evil and along the way has to necessarily kill people to advance the cause of good.”

    Think it’ll fly?

  2. Simple Justice

    Is Law School Really That Bad These Days?

    I’ve been writing about law school issues for a while, both because somebody has to call the law profs on
    some of their sillier ideas as well as helping the future of the legal profession to understand what they are getting into.
  3. Simple Justice

    But Lawprofs, It’s Just A Story

    There’s some pretense amongst the Ivory Tower crowd that they are capable of, and it’s worth their while, dissecting fiction as if it was something that actually happened.

  4. Simple Justice

    But Lawprofs, It’s Just A Story

    There’s some pretense amongst the Ivory Tower crowd that they are capable of, and it’s worth their while, dissecting fiction as if it was something that actually happened.

  5. Pingback: Liptak To Law Reviews: Snort My Taint* | Simple Justice

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