Category Archives: Florida

I Saw This Ad Just Before the Heat Game Started

This ad by VoteVets about Rick Scott is a lot better than anything I’ve seen by the Nelson for Senate campaign:

Of course, Scott has more money, and has been flooding the airwaves with warm and fuzzy stuff.

Posted in 2018 Election, Florida | Leave a comment

Florida Bar Pass Rates July 2018

UM did fine; the news is the crash over at neighboring law schools, notably Nova Southeastern, Stetson, and Barry. What happened? (In reading this list I would not read much into small differences in pass rates; but big differences (over 10%, maybe; certainly over 20%, and likely less) do mean something.)

This year’s bar was tough, with the lowest pass rate on the multistate in 34 years. In that environment, UM’s 83.2% is credible, given that we have a lot more bar-takers than our close competitors, even if it is still lower than I would like.

The shockers on this list are Nova and Stetson and Barry.  Nova had an 86% pass rate in 2009, and almost 81% in 2010; last year was 70.2.  Where are they now? At 42.9%.  What happened?

Stetson, once the #1 or #2 in the State, and  at least  in the high 70s or low 80s less than 10 years ago, was 76.8% last year, and suffered less this year, but it was down to only 67.2%. These are schools that are (were?) known for solid teaching of doctrinal law, for producing reliable local practitioners year after year, if perhaps not for being national or especially academic in their ambitions.  Barry, which not long ago was comfortably in the mid-70% range,  and got 58.9% last year, cratered too, to 45.5%. Indeed both Barry and Nova were below Florida A&M, and FAMU’s 58.5 score wasn’t much to cheer about.

There won’t be much happiness at the University of Florida. They have a fine program, and students with excellent credentials, and yet only 70.9% passed? A blip, I trust.

I’ve long said that Bar pass rates are over-rated as a measure of law school quality. But, as I also said back then,

[T]here certainly comes a point where a substantially lower bar pass rate than other schools in the state is a sign of a problem that a law school should work to fix. Most people come to law school in order to become lawyers. If they can’t pass the bar, at least on second try, in most cases they have wasted large amounts of time and money. If this is happening to a substantial fraction of the class, and it isn’t happening nearly as much in other law schools in the same state, then something is wrong either with the teaching, the work ethic, or with the admission policy. Note that the latter may not be the school’s direct fault: as there are more and more law schools it becomes increasingly likely that some schools simply are unable to attract enough students with enough discipline or talent, which puts pressure on the school to either teach to the bar, or to flunk a greater fraction of the entering students.

I’m not sure where that point is exactly, but surely a 42.9% pass rate is below it, and probably 62% also, unless the school is self-consciously taking risks on admissions in order to further a social goal (which arguably describes FAMU) — and the students understand this going in.

I’m glad we as a school did well; I feel sorry for everyone at every school who tried hard and failed. Anyone can fail the bar once; many of you will pass on second try, if you work hard again.

Posted in Florida, Law School | 2 Comments

More on DeSantis & Racism

The Miami New Times offers discussed #4, the Facebook group previously):

1. He spoke at a Muslim-bashing event alongside Milo Yiannopoulos and Steve Bannon.

3. He defended a supporter who said “bring back the hanging tree.”

5. He proudly associated himself with Sebastian Gorka, who has ties to a Hungarian far-right group that collaborated with the Nazis. …

If he’s not a bigot himself, he sure does pal around with them a lot.

Posted in 2018 Election, Florida | 5 Comments

DeSantis & Racism

Some people (including a commentator on this blog!) have said it’s unfair to suggest DeSantis’s “monkey” comment was an intentional (or unintentional) racist dog whistle. That’s his campaign’s line too.

DeSantis’s personal history is suggestive here. So you be the judge:

Ron DeSantis, the Trump-endorsed congressman who won Tuesday’s GOP primary for Florida governor, is an administrator on an active Facebook group where conservatives share racist, conspiratorial and incendiary posts about a litany of targets, including black Americans and South Africans, the “deep state,” survivors of February’s massacre at a Florida high school, immigrants, Muslims and, in recent days, John McCain.

The Facebook group, simply named Tea Party, has nearly 95,000 members, and users must join the group to post or comment. The banner for the group is an image of the Confederate, Christian and Gadsden flags flying alongside the flags of the U.S. and Israel. (It isn’t affiliated with the conservative group Tea Party Patriots.)

I’d say that at the very very least this is such a radical insensitivity to racism plus a bit of enabling behavior (being an admin for the group) as to count as the thing itself, especially for a person in public life.

Posted in 2018 Election, Florida | 3 Comments

The Luckiest Man in Florida Politics

Bill Nelson won primary day in Florida. Why do I say that when Nelson was uncontested in his primary, and Rick Scott — sure to be Nelson’s toughest-ever opponent — romped on the GOP side? Because Nelson, a very lousy campaigner who has never faced a tough election and now has one, will be on a ticket with two dynamic candidates who will spur turnout: Andrew Gillum (Governor) and Sean Shaw (Attorney General).

One wrinkle: Both Gillum and Shaw are Black, and this will excite the racist vote, which is not to be discounted in Florida. The Very Loud dog-whistles have already begun, with the GOP candidate for Governor Ron DeSantis blowing one loud in clear in his first post-selection TV interview, so loud and clear that the roof fell on him, and even Fox had to run a corrective.

Gillum is running as a pragmatic progressive, which is just the right note for Florida. Gillum-DeSantis is going to be quite a race:

Florida’s Republican candidate for governor, Ron DeSantis, is a Trump-endorsed lunatic …. His most viral campaign ad included a shot of him teaching his child about “building the wall” between the United States and Mexico even though Florida doesn’t share a land border with any other country. He has already begun sniping at Gillum, but the state Democrats have finally elected someone who might be able to counter bad-faith attacks from the state’s ever-surging right wing.

That’s because Gillum is a new breed of candidate for the Florida Democrats. The party is frequently beset by leadership struggles and is often the butt of jokes among reporters for its near-constant ability to lose easily winnable races in a state where registered Democrats outnumber Republicans. Rick Scott, for example, won two terms despite being a white-collar criminal and Medicare fraudster. The state’s Democratic candidates since 2000 have been former Republican Charlie Crist, former banking executive Alex Sink, Clintonite “New Democrat” Jim Davis, and Central Florida’s forgettable Bill McBride. To say Gillum’s platform is more exciting than Crist’s is like saying a Sherman tank has more firepower than a slingshot. Whether or not you like Gillum, it’s fair to say the state hasn’t seen a gubernatorial candidate like him before.

I’m sending in my contribution tonight.

Posted in 2018 Election, Florida | 13 Comments

Andrew Gillum Won!

I didn’t see that coming, but I’m very happy about it. Gillum is a great campaigner; as I argued previously Gwen Graham was just a dud. Florida is going to have a very interesting election season coming up.

None of the worst local candidates for judge got elected, but a couple of them sure got a lot of votes. More about that anon.

Posted in 2018 Election, Florida | Leave a comment