What a Difference a Dean Can Make

George Anastaplo
National Law Journal
September 12, 1983

            Perhaps the most remarkable recent development in my somewhat controversial legal career, kindly reported in an article in your Aug. 22 issue on the generous proposal on my behalf by the Illinois State Bar Association, is that a law school as good as Loyola University’s should have dared take me on as a teacher of jurisprudence and of constitutional law. This is a refreshing contrast to the simply disgraceful conduct in response in my Illinois bar admission troubles, for more than a quarter century now, by the University of Chicago Law School, from which I graduated.

            These strikingly different responses by law school faculties can be traced, in part, to the differences in temperament between two law school deans—Chicago’s Edward H. Levi, who went on to become attorney general of the United States, and Loyola’s Charles W. Murdock, who is now deputy attorney general of Illinois.

I do believe that my exclusion from the bar should be left alone, serving thereby as a salutary reminder of what can go wrong when the bar, law schools and the judiciary do not conduct themselves as they should. On the other hand, a posthumous rehabilitation of me would probably be most instructive. Such rehabilitation could well include the establishment of an annual lecture in my name at the University of Chicago Law School, preferably by a judge of stature, as a reminder of how even “the best and the brightest” can give in to fear and ignorance.

My primary offense before the Committee on Character and Fitness three decades ago, it should not be forgotten, was that of defending the Declaration of Independence and its right of revolution. My most recent comments on this and related matters may be found in my just-published book, “The Artist as Thinker:   From Shakespeare to Joyce” [Ohio University Press].

George Anastaplo
Professor of Law

Loyola University Chicago

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