A new study from the University of Chicago concludes:
At a statistically significant level, law professors at elite law schools who make donations to Democratic political candidates write liberal scholarship, and law professors who make donations to Republican political candidates write conservative scholarship. These findings raise questions about standards of objectivity in legal scholarship.
Josh Blackman comments on some of the nuances of the study:
First, the authors had a tough time finding enough law professors at the top 14 schools who donated more money to Republicans.
In the initial sample of 140 professors, however, only 8 had donated more money to Republicans than Democrats (which is our principle measure of ideology). . . .
Second, the authors broke down these professors by subject matter they wrote in. My initial thought, was, how many of those 24 “Republican” Profs teach constitutional law. The authors note (p. 21) that virtually none of them teach ConLaw . . . .
Third, the authors confirm what seems to be the conventional wisdom–many closeted conservatives get ahead by stifling their ideology, or writing in field where ideology isn’t as important. . . .
Fourth, for the small number of “Republican” law professors, there sure were a lot of “Conservative” articles written. The article found:
Of the 780 articles in our dataset, 512 are liberal and 237 are conservative.
The authors don’t draw any conclusions here, but it would seem this small cadre of conservative law professors is quite productive. . . .
Fifth, the authors find that “net Democratic donors write highly ideological articles, whereas net Republican donors write articles that are distributed widely across the spectrum.” . . .
Read Mr. Blackman's full analysis on his blog.