Talk:Laurence Tribe

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Case list?[edit]

Is a listing of his court cases neccessary? to me, it doesn't and makes the article too long. Kiwidude 09:41, 13 March 2006 (UTC)

I find the list fascinating, and the list isn't easy to find elsewhere. It's an interesting insight into Tribe's causes (and their diversity) and, let's be honest, this article is pretty thin to begin with.
I agree that the list is very nice to have, but there's an inconsistency: the introduction states that he "has argued before the U.S. Supreme Court 36 times," but the article later presents "[a] complete list of the 34 cases Tribe has argued in the U.S. Supreme Court". So is it 34 or 36? Kurivaim 01:43, 11 November 2007 (UTC)
This hasn't been resolved for a year. I'm correcting to 34. If someone finds the two missing from the list, or two that for some reason don't count, they can correct and clarify. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:09, 10 November 2008 (UTC)

A Shanghai born native of San Francisco?[edit]

The article says Professor Tribe is a Shanghai born native of San Francisco. Does this mean Professor Tribe was born in Shanghai but currently resides in San Francisco? Or was he born in both places? Or..... (I'm not sure what the next question should be).

Just wondering. Yours, Famspear 04:03, 11 August 2006 (UTC)

Reference to "Shanghai" removed, as apparent vandalism. Yours, Famspear 21:05, 11 August 2006 (UTC)
I removed the China thing. If it is true then it needs to be cited. More information would be interesting too, were his parents refugees from the Nazis? Also do we have some information on his wife and children, if any? Steve Dufour 21:32, 22 February 2007 (UTC)

There is a link about his birth in Shanghai in a community of Nazi refugees at this page: Why not include this link the other way? Just a suggestion.


I have just seen the first advertizement f/ Senator Obama not shown for news purposes, including Mr. Tribe, I want to know whether there is an endorsement list, please.

Thank You,

[[ hopiakuta Please do sign your signature on your message. ~~ Thank You. -]] 15:45, 21 January 2008 (UTC)

I've just seen it again; if there is a list, it should include Kirk_Dillard.

[[ hopiakuta Please do sign your signature on your message. ~~ Thank You. -]] 21:35, 21 January 2008 (UTC)

Best or most extraordinary?[edit]

Interesting to note that O'Bama was his "best" student and Kathleen Sullivan his "most extraordinary". Obviously, those two quotes are from different sources at different times, but rather funny to see them within a few sentences of each other since they seem to say the same thing... —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:47, 10 November 2008 (UTC)

plagiarism--at least minimally exculpatory info[edit]

The NYT has: "His book, however, did credit Professor Abraham's book, "Justices and Presidents," (Oxford University Press, 1974) as the "leading political history of Court appointments." and "Professor Tribe declined to comment on the matter. His office released a letter that it said Professor Tribe sent to Professor Abraham 20 years ago, along with a copy of Professor Tribe's manuscript; Professor Tribe wrote that he had drawn on Professor Abraham's book, in part, and asked for his reactions." by Sara Rimer 11/24/2004 — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:01, 8 July 2011 (UTC) --Rich peterson199.33.32.40 (talk) 19:03, 8 July 2011 (UTC)

Looking at the two sources cited, I do not see anywhere that Tribe admitted in so many words to plagiarism,which the article currently claims.T'm waiting to find out more before I remove those words. I did remove "lifted" and put in something like "used closely similar words". (talk) 04:02, 6 August 2011 (UTC)
"closely similar to material" is actually what i changed it to. (talk) 04:04, 6 August 2011 (UTC)
Now I added "some sentences were identical". (talk) 21:01, 6 August 2011 (UTC)

Why was plagiarism section removed?[edit]

It is a notable and verified part of Professor Tribe's life. I happen to think the incident was unintentional and wasn't plagiarism (since law professors often think and talk alike; also, see section directly above)but I think the incident should be in the article.-Richard Peterson24.7.28.186 (talk) 19:19, 15 July 2011 (UTC)

It was removed because Tribe is a liberal operative who can detail some undergrad to scrub his page. At the end of the day, he cares a lot more about what this page says than anybody else does, just like the Scientologists or the Moonies.

RfC: Plagiarism Scandal & Controversies Section Biased[edit]

(RfC resolved Rich Farmbrough, 21:01, 21 October 2011 (UTC).)

I am writing on behalf of Laurence Tribe regarding the content presently on his Wikipedia page. The section entitled “Plagiarism Scandal and Controversies” is inaccurate and portrays him and his work in a false light. I have tried to delete the section before but was promptly restored. The alleged “supporting documentation” for the claims in the present section are both inflammatory and pure opinion (for example this blog post - -- (talk) 15:07, 27 September 2011 (UTC)Matt Reedy On October 4, 2004, The Weekly Standard accused Tribe of plagiarizing passages from Henry Abraham’s 1974 book, JUSTICES AND PRESIDENTS, in Tribe’s 1985 book, GOD SAVE THIS HONORABLE COURT.1 At the end of GOD SAVE THIS HONORABLE COURT, Tribe credited Abraham’s work as an important source of his findings but did not cite the appropriate pages in Abraham’s book with respect to several specific phrases, and one sentence.2 Tribe issued a public statement acknowledging his failure to properly attribute some of the material in question and taking responsibility for that failure. He also sent a letter of apology to Professor Abraham.3 Harvard President Lawrence Summers and Law School Dean Elena Kagan jointly asked President Emeritus Derek Bok, former Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Jeremy Knowles, and Harvard University Professor and Librarian Sidney Verba, to inquire into the circumstances by reviewing the materials and speaking with the individuals principally involved. After that group reported back to President Summers and Dean Kagan, the latter two administrators issued a public statement in April 2005 observing that it was “apparent that [Tribe’s] book contained various brief passages and phrases that echo or overlap with material in the Abraham book, and that [Tribe] failed to provide appropriate attribution for them.”4 The public statement took “note that the relevant conduct took place two decades ago, that [Tribe] book (written without footnotes and for a general audience) mentioned the Abraham book in a concluding bibliographic note, and that the unattributed material related more to matters of phrasing than to fundamental ideas.”5 The Summers-Kagan statement added that the two were “firmly convinced that the error was the product of inadvertence rather than intentionality.” It nonetheless said that “the error in question [was] a significant lapse in proper academic practice.” Having “conveyed these conclusions and concerns,” President Summers and Dean Kagan announced that they “now consider the matter closed.” 1 Bottum, Joseph (October 4, 2004). "The Big Mahatma". The Weekly Standard. Retrieved August 29, 2011. 2 Laurence Tribe (1985) “GOD SAVE THIS HONORABLE COURT” p. 153. 3 Rimer, Sara (November 24, 2004). "When Plagiarism's Shadow Falls on Admired Scholars". The New York Times. Retrieved August 29, 2011. 4 Daniel J. Hemel (April 15, 2005), “School Won’t Punish Tribe,” The Harvard Crimson. Retrieved August 29, 2011. 5 William L. Jusino (June 09, 2005), “Professors Admit to Misusing Sources,” The Harvard Crimson. Retrieved August 29, 2011.— Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

  • Responding per notice from the FRS. I agree that the controversies section is far too large, such as to violate WP:UNDUE, and that there is no justification for utilizing a self-published blog as a source for a negative information in a BLP. I am bringing this to the attention of BLPN, if it hasn't already been listed there. ScottyBerg (talk) 16:02, 27 September 2011 (UTC)
  • I have tagged for neutrality, removed the text attributed to a blog, and alerted BLPN. ScottyBerg (talk) 16:17, 27 September 2011 (UTC)
I have pruned the text further. – ukexpat (talk) 16:20, 27 September 2011 (UTC)
Thanks, that was desperately needed. I wonder if the neutrality tag is still warranted? I hesitate to remove it because this is a famous law professor and the controversies section smacks of recentism. ScottyBerg (talk) 16:22, 27 September 2011 (UTC)
I removed the neutrality tag because I also removed a very poorly sourced paragraph about Tribe calling Sotomayor a bully. The source was a Tribe-written blog, supposedly, but the blog has been removed from the host website and is not available on the Wayback Machine. At any rate, the source was WP:PRIMARY but the paragraph added unsupported statements about the impact of the blog post. In a BLP, the impact must be proven. Binksternet (talk) 17:03, 27 September 2011 (UTC)
I agree that the neutrality issue seems to be rectified. ScottyBerg (talk) 17:34, 27 September 2011 (UTC)
I edited the first sentence to be factually correct. Professor Tribe did not admit to plagiarism and the cited references do not support such a claim. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:13, 27 September 2011 (UTC)
That was a stunning error. I'm glad you raised the issue at RfC. In the future, don't hesitate to notify either myself or any of the other editors who have pitched in here if there is a repetition of this kind of problem. ScottyBerg (talk) 21:57, 27 September 2011 (UTC)
What's makes it even more shameful is that Tribe is an eminent legal scholar. I'm no lawyer but even I've heard of him. ScottyBerg (talk) 21:24, 27 September 2011 (UTC)

This is a problem present in a number of BLPs where the desire to be ... sensational, shall we say, leads some editors into murky waters about what is rumour, what is legal allegation, and what is actual fact. I hope this brings the problem of such editing to the fore. Cheers. Collect (talk) 22:34, 27 September 2011 (UTC)

Tell your boss, Larry the Liar, that the internet has a memory. He can send clowns like you to scrub the wikipedia page all he wants, but the truth about him is only a google search away. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:37, 24 May 2017 (UTC)

The controversies section should not be so vast when the topic is not routinely up for controversy, it is WP:UNDUE and subjective. Also, the self-published blog is NOT a credible source for any information, positive, negative or just under the guise of straight fact. Juda S. Engelmayer (talk) 19:06, 28 September 2011 (UTC)

I took out a blog citaton and text sourced to it. If there is any remaining material sourced to a blog, it should go. Do you think the controversies section is still too long? ScottyBerg (talk) 21:55, 28 September 2011 (UTC)

Looks like this is resolved now. Am I correct? Martin Hogbin (talk) 14:07, 1 October 2011 (UTC)

Yes, it appears to be substantially resolved. The only remaining issue I can see is the section title: "Controversies". The essay WP:Criticism suggests that sections with such titles are discouraged. I'm wondering if the section should be renamed to "Authorship issue" or "Academic investigation" or something like that. Maybe the latter is most encyclopedic? --Noleander (talk) 14:36, 1 October 2011 (UTC)
In the spirit of making headway without too much chatting: I changed the section title to "Academic investigation" . --Noleander (talk) 14:47, 1 October 2011 (UTC)
Definitely worth a try. Martin Hogbin (talk) 16:03, 1 October 2011 (UTC)


Why is he characterized in the lead sentence as a "leading liberal scholar of constitutional law"? This seems NPOV to me. He's a leading constitutional scholar, period, and is widely recognized as such across the political spectrum. Without having researched the page's history, I would have to suspect that "liberal" was interpolated by some conservative editor to whom it's a dirty word. That's certainly how it's going to come across to most readers. --Michael K SmithTalk 14:26, 11 March 2012 (UTC)

  • I removed that from the intro. It's already mentioned in the article itself, which seems balanced although a little naive in its understanding of what lawyers do. (Take many cases which do not reflect their personal political views.) Skylark777 (talk) 18:11, 29 September 2015 (UTC)

EPA v. GE[edit]

I believe that he lost this case - he was arguing on the side of GE that the UAOs violated due process, and the court rejected this argument. Am I missing something? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:05, 28 November 2012 (UTC)

Wilkie v. Robbins[edit]

This case should be included on the list of Supreme Court cases that Tribe has argued. See 2007 Cato Sup. Ct. Rev 23 (article by Tribe noting that he represented Robbins). — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:30, 22 January 2013 (UTC)

Windsor v United States[edit]

Tribe's attacks on Scalia and his absurd, if not mendacious, misrepresentation of the magnitude of Windsor v United States should be included:
Tribe described Justice Antonin Scalia's response and dissent to the 5-4
Windsor v. United States decision as "intemperate", "extraordinary", and "at the very least, an exercise in jurisprudential cynicism". He posited that Scalia appeared unable to resist "the temptation to use the occasion to insult the Court's majority, and Justice Kennedy in particular, in essentially ad hominem ...terms", to wit:

"[P]rincipally to highlight the extraordinary character of this particularly vitriolic and internally inconsistent dissent ... about how the Court should have decided the very controversy that he says wasn't really before it ... [For Scalia to] accuse the majority of arrogance and then reach the merits after saying that the Court lacks jurisdiction to address the case requires no small dose of chutzpah ... Scalia didn't so much as consider the possibility ... that considerations of federalism might point to a particularly rigorous examination of the purported justifications for a measure like Section 3. ... In predicting that the opinion joined by the five Justices comprising today's Windsor majority would invariably lead to the invalidation of state efforts to limit lawful marriage to opposite-sex couples, Justice Scalia was engaging in a bait-and-switch unworthy of so serious and smart a jurist, one who often displays a principled side that even those who dislike his results would be hard-pressed not to admire ...[1][2]

Quis separabit? 01:25, 1 October 2015 (UTC)

  • 1- No secondary sources are provided to say Tribe's opinion is considered important. 2- To give a whole section and a long quote for just one incident is unbalanced. Just a heads up, I am putting a notice on the BLP board.Skylark777 (talk) 16:18, 1 October 2015 (UTC)

BLP concerns[edit]

NOTE: to anyone who wishes to contribute to this colloquy, please read the comments here as well. Quis separabit? 18:42, 1 October 2015 (UTC)

This article seems to have a lot of incidents and opinions added seemingly for the purpose of discrediting Professor Tribe's record. Have secondary sources made the same points? Or have they said these are the important things about him? Right now they take up about half the article, excluding the list of his cases.Skylark777 (talk) 17:36, 1 October 2015 (UTC)

I am afraid, respectfully, that in re " Right now they take up about half the article, excluding the list of his cases", I cannot concern myself with those logistics. There are more pressing aspects. Quis separabit? 18:47, 1 October 2015 (UTC)
"discrediting Professor Tribe's record."?? Not at all, I am, if anything, bringing it into focus (see [1]). Quis separabit? 18:36, 1 October 2015 (UTC)
I just think that devoting the largest part of an article on a non-politician on speculation about his political opinions is not what an encyclopedia article should be about.Skylark777 (talk) 18:50, 1 October 2015 (UTC)
PS Who says that a person's views, liberal v. conservative or Democratic v. Republican, are the most important thing about him? AFAIK Tribe has never run for office.Skylark777 (talk) 17:40, 1 October 2015 (UTC)
"Who says that a person's views, liberal v. conservative or Democratic v. Republican, are the most important thing about him?" —Tribe, like most other people who have articles on Wikipedia, are notable, and with notability comes attention and in the 24/7 news cycle and the undeletable blogosphere, comes a permanent record of the activities and sayings and stances of those deemed notable. (I don't know of or have heard anything from any other legal mind on the same level of prominence as Tribe who undermined and underestimated the Windsor v United States ruling.) The original and only true conflict on Wikipedia, from which all other conflicts here are derivative, is what belongs and what doesn't. And that will always be contentious. Quis separabit? 18:39, 1 October 2015 (UTC)
In addition to the links below, there are also these: ([2], [3], [4], [5], [6], [7]) and a book by Windsor's counsel, Roberta Kaplan, Then Comes Marriage: United States V. Windsor and the Defeat of Doma (ISBN 9780393248678). Quis separabit? 18:24, 1 October 2015 (UTC)
I agree with you 100% that United States v. Windsor is a very important and notable case. However I looked at the sources you linked and none of them seemed to mention Mr. Tribe.Skylark777 (talk) 18:50, 1 October 2015 (UTC)
I find the content Rms added problematic with regard to WP:UNDUE, particularly by creating it's own subsection and including the extensive quote. If any of the content were to be included, it should simply be a summary sentence or two that is merged into the existing "political involvement" section, and the quote eliminated. Readers can look at the sourcing for the quote. I also see that Rms changed the word "citing" to "claiming" in the sentence, "He resigned eight months later, citing health reasons." An edit like that raises a red flag, but I see it was reverted. I have no personal views on Tribe one way or the other, but the inclusion of all of this content, the way it is being given such prominence, and the changing of the neutral "citing" to the non-neutral "claiming" - which implies that he may have lied - is troubling and could perhaps indicate to some readers that the editor has an agenda and is motivated by negative personal feelings about Tribe. Czoal (talk) 19:10, 1 October 2015 (UTC)
Yes, a year ago, almost to the day, I changed the verb (see [8]) while making numerous other edits. Make of that what you will but it's ironic that first I am accused of trying to make Tribe seem like a conservative, now it's because I have negative personal feelings. Why not judge the Tribe article and the section in question based on the merits? Tribe was the sole legal talking head I could find who assailed Justice Scalia's dissent in Windsor v United States by declaring that the decision from which Scalia was dissenting (the national restructuring of the institution of marriage by the government) was overblown and a "bait and switch". Quis separabit? 20:28, 1 October 2015 (UTC)
When you changed "citing" to "claiming" is irrelevant. Why you changed it is clearly the primary concern. Your response does not address your reason for making that neutral to non-neutral change. The last sentence of your response, and the types of edits you have been making to the article, only reinforces what I said above in terms of how your editing could certainly indicate to some readers a personal animosity toward Tribe. In terms of the content under discussion, I clearly stated my concerns with regard to WP:UNDUE. And while you couldn't find any "legal talking heads" besides Tribe who assailed Scalia's dissent, that does not at all mean there weren't others. Obviously, there were many, many others. Please note I'm not indicating whether I agree or disagree with Tribe about Scalia. I'm solely focused on the weight of that content and how it is being presented as if to shine a huge spotlight on it. Czoal (talk) 21:00, 1 October 2015 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Please refrain from inserting your personal interpretations into the article, such as this: "Developments since the Court's decision, however, appear to confirm Justice Scalia's judgment as largely correct. The Court's ambiguity surrounding the legal standard of review it chose to apply, in an attempt to leave the question of the constitutionality of state laws against same-sex marriage for another day, opened the door for federal judges around the country to strike down existing state marriage laws as unconstitutional." How developments "appear" to you is utterly meaningless, and even more so in a BLP. It is a clear violation of WP:OR and WP:NPOV. It is also highly inappropirate to attach sources in an attempt to verify your personal interpretations. You included a quote; therefore, all that needs sourced is the quote. Whether that quote will remain in the article is another issue. Czoal (talk) 21:33, 1 October 2015 (UTC)
I am not going to discuss the verb change of a year ago, because for one thing I can't really remember why. I was making a lot of edits and for whatever reason it happened. I also am not going to discuss my personal opinion of Tribe. However, I will say that ──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── :: "And while you couldn't find any "legal talking heads" besides Tribe who assailed Scalia's dissent, that does not at all mean there weren't others. Obviously, there were many, many others." -- No, I couldn't find any who, and this is the point I made/was trying to make, completely dismissed Scalia's concerns, minimized a landmark ruling that Scalia presciently noted would lead to a right to same-sex marriage (Obergefell v. Hodges) and accused of Scalia of a "bait and switch". If you think you can find even one, good luck. Quis separabit? 21:24, 1 October 2015 (UTC)
If you are unable or unwilling to even acknowledge that many legal eagles assailed Scalia's dissent, it makes me even more concerned about your editing of this article. I certainly am not going to do your research for you. You are the one who added the contentious content and therefore are the one of who needs to address the concerns of editors who object to it. Czoal (talk) 21:43, 1 October 2015 (UTC)
1) I didn't deny that many legal eagles assailed Scalia's dissent, but Tribe uniquely (as far as I can discern) claimed that Scalia essentially over-reacted, that the decision was not a landmark, that Scalia had engaged in a "bait and switch", and that a path to the nationwide legalization of same-sex marriage had not in fact been carved out.
2) "Inserting a statement with your personal interpretations and then attaching soures in an attempt to support them is inappropriate. All that's needed is a source to verify the content (quote)" -- I do not agree I did that -- that is the opinion of @Czoal, however if even more and further sources are needed, here are some to chew on: [9], [10], [11], [12], and [13]. Cheers, Quis separabit? 22:04, 1 October 2015 (UTC)
No, it is most certainly not my opinion; it is a fact that the statement that preceded those four sources was obviously your own personal interpretation. So you are completely misunderstanding the point. You could find 500 sources, but none of them can be used to support your personal viewpoints. I'm not sure why you don't get this. You inserted a quote, yet attached four sources to it that have absolutely nothing to do with that quote. In fact, those four sources do not even mention Tribe's name! Therefore, the only purpose of those extra sources was to attempt to support your personal statement. In any case, a very important and relevant point that Skylark raised earlier is: Why is Tribe's opinion and quote on this particular matter even notable? This article is about Tribe, not Scalia. You need to substantiate the notability of all this contentious content. So please provide credible secondary sources that indicate Tribe's views and quote on this issue are notable. Otherwise, it should all be removed. Czoal (talk) 22:17, 1 October 2015 (UTC)

  1. ^ Tribe, Laurence (June 26, 2013). "DOMA, Prop 8, and Justice Scalia's intemperate dissent". SCOTUSBlog. Retrieved July 2, 2013. 
  2. ^ Developments since the Court's decision, however, appear to confirm Justice Scalia's judgment as largely correct. The Court's ambiguity surrounding the legal standard of review it chose to apply, in an attempt to leave the question of the constitutionality of state laws against same-sex marriage for another day, opened the door for federal judges around the country to strike down existing state marriage laws as unconstitutional (see below citations):
    *Enten, Harry (May 21, 2014). "Latest Same-Sex Marriage Rulings Prove That Scalia Was Right". Retrieved May 22, 2014. 

UNDUE coverage in Career[edit]

The coverage in the Career section is pretty off-base as being representative of his career. None of the notable cases are covered, instead a bevvy of minor environmental cases.-- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 01:48, 2 October 2015 (UTC)

I absolutely agree. By the way, great job on the article cleanup you did. Czoal (talk) 02:00, 2 October 2015 (UTC)
I added a source for the debate team content, but I didn't know which citation template to use for it. Czoal (talk) 04:39, 2 October 2015 (UTC)
In the tool bar above the editing window, the Citation button > books option will autogenerate citations from google books by placing the URL and clicking the green arrows/fetch -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 11:32, 2 October 2015 (UTC)
Thanks for the great tip, but I don't see any green arrow/fetch in the book template. So can you fix that citation? Thanks. Czoal (talk) 19:37, 2 October 2015 (UTC)
  • This [1]appears to be a good model that we could use to keep on track that our article follows what the third parties have found to be the important bits of his career, at least up to 2001. -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 11:32, 2 October 2015 (UTC)


  1. ^ Vile, John R. (2001). Great American Lawyers: An Encyclopedia. ABC-CLIO. pp. 807–. ISBN 9781576072028. Retrieved 2 October 2015. 

2016 Presidential Elect-ability of Ted Cruz Issue[edit]

This topic needs to be added to article.--Wikipietime (talk) 21:18, 12 January 2016 (UTC)

If you can provide a link to a source I can take care of it.Skylark777 (talk) 00:51, 23 November 2016 (UTC)