With students across the country headed to campus next week, many colleges and universities are facing dire shortages of leftist professors. The reason: a growing number of academics have left the country's notoriously left-wing campuses to join the federal judiciary. These pink-hued professors say that they now see judicial activism, not the conversion of students, as the most promising method of advancing their political agenda.
Ward Churchill now attending law school
By Deanna Swift
BOULDER, CO—As college students across the country descend upon American campuses next week, prepared for another year of binge drinking and fraternity hazing, they'll find one campus staple noticeably absent: left-wing professors. That's because throngs of the pink-hued academics have abandoned the university in search of a more promising place in which to promote their political agenda: the federal judiciary.
Case in point: Ward Churchill, once the posterboy of leftist professor, who gave up a tenured position at the University of Colorado to go to law school. "He sees the federal judiciary as being a better place for his kind of activism than a college campus has turned out to be," says a source close to the former chair of the ethnic studies department. "Higher education is kind of played out as far as he's concerned."
On the move
Dr. Churchill isn't the only professor who has traded in his pipe and tweed blazer for a gavel and long black robe. Experts say that classes on everything from French literary theory to Marxist economics will go professor-less this year, as academics from such left-wing outposts as the University of California at Berkeley to New York's Columbia University go from writing books and journal articles to rewriting laws and remaking culture from the federal bench.
A trend takes shape
What's behind the academic exodus from the ivory tower to the marbled halls of unchecked judicial power? Experts say that university professors who once flocked to academe with dreams of converting individual students to their left-wing worldview or weltenschaung have grown impatient at just how long such a process takes. Winning over new students each quarter or semester, say experts, takes time, eating into weekends, holiday breaks and sabbaticals.
By contrast, activist judges are able to remake the law of the land with a single outrageous decision, requiring comparatively less exertion than teaching a course, giving a fiery left-wing speech, or even holding a one-on-one conversion session with an individual student.
Those who no longer teach, judge
A recent survey of more than 500 faculty members at some of the country's best known—and most feared—institutions reveals that as many as 23% of academics plan to make the transition from activist professor to activist judge in the coming years. The most coveted position for these federal judge wannabes: the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, responsible for a 2002 decision that declared the Pledge of Allegiance unconstitutional due to its invocation of God.
Several professors-turned-activist-judges are said to be eager to pass laws from the bench that would make breaching the wall between church and state a federal crime, complete with mandatory sentencing requirements.
Among public, fear escalates
A recent poll has found that the majority of Americans now fear activist judges more than any other single threat, including toxic mold, illegal aliens, alien abduction or North Korea. That terror of activist judges has greatly escalated in recent years. As recently as 1998, only 15% of Americans said that they were afraid of activist judges, while 62% reported that out-of-control professors represented the biggest threat to the nation.