Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Plagiarism and other sins of the intellectual world

I don't think I am airing dirty laundry out to dry. Three days ago, I was as surprised as the rest of the "interested" world to learn that the Philippine Supreme Court has been accused of plagiarizing substantial portions of three law review articles by international law profs (Evan Criddle, Syracuse, Evan Descent-Fox, McGill, Christian Tams, Glasgow and Mark Ellis, FSU) in a high-profile ruling denying a group of Filipino "comfort women" to compel the Philippine government to get a public apology and claim reparations from the Japanese government. (Main ground is that this has been settled by the 1952 San Francisco Peace Treaty already)

Evan Criddle's comments are in Opinio Juris and the Supreme Court's decision can be found here.

As this is a high profile and diplomatically sensitive case, a lot of IL professors are paying attention. Last I've heard, and I am not sure if this is true, Criddle and others will be registering a complaint with the Court. Criddle says that their arguments have been taken out of context and in fact have been used to argue the opposite in the Court decision.

This brings to mind some questions: what are the citation practices of law clerks and justices in other countries? Are academic articles often cited?

And of course, in keeping with the Kagan-mania (and the Kagan vote today), Brian Leiter also recently noted that the Senate Republicans has called attention to Kagan's handling of the plagiarism accusations that afflicted HLS(namely with Tribe and Ogletree) in the past.

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