How quickly some journals give offers

Mark Graber mgraber at
Thu Nov 3 16:21:22 PST 2005

Let's complicate the world a bit.

People do not belong to "camps" in law or political science in the same
sense that many of us cheer for favorite athletic teams.   There is a
sense in which I am well aware that my favorite teams (Yankees, Giants,
Knicks) are no better and may even be morally worse than some other
teams, but that does not influence my partisanship.  It would be pure
bias to proclaim Eli Manning the best quarterback in the NFL as, in my
partisan moments, I am prone to do.  On the other hand, I'm somewhat
identified with the historical/institutionalist school of public law
because I believe historical institutionalists have made the most
significant contributions to public law in the last decade in a half,
and that the fundamental premises of historical institutionalism are
sounder than, say those underlying the attitudinal model of judicial
behavior.  And I recognize that in perfectly good faith many political
scientists think just the opposite, that the behavioralists are doing
the most cutting edge research in the field, and that the assumptions
underlying their view of the world are sounder than my assumptions.  As
I phrase it in a forthcoming essay in the Law and Courts Newsletter,
political science (and academic law) are characterized by a "contested
pluralism" where people vigorously dispute the standards for sound
scholarship and original scholarship.

I've rejected more than my share of pieces in my life and have had more
of my share of pieces rejected (always unfairly in my mind!).  But I've
never thought by rejecting piece A I was opening a space for piece B
closer to my heart.  Rather, my assumption always is that if I reject a
public law piece, its place will probably be taken by a comparative
politics piece.

This is not a salute to the status quo.  Indeed, a theme of the piece
noted above is that younger scholars ought to be taking more chances and
that senior reviewers ought to be willing to reward more risk taking. 
But taking chances means that some people may not recognize your genius
and think, according to their misbegotten standards, that you are wrong.

Mark A. Graber
>>> Scott Gerber <s-gerber at> 11/03/05 6:28 PM >>>
I agree with Sean Wilson.  I would add that some peer reviewers for
political science journals can be less favorably disposed to a
if they don't "recognize" it as something submitted by someone in their
camp.  Unlike law reviews, there aren't many spots available for law and
courts pieces in, say, the American Political Science Review and some
reviewers don't want to lose a spot to someone whose work they don't


More information about the Conlawprof mailing list