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Justice Thomas to Teach Abroad Program for Thomas Jefferson School of Law

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By Jonathan R. Tung, Esq. on March 30, 2016 6:59 AM

What do you do if you've just managed to win one of the most significant law school cases in history in which you were accused of fraud and illicit marketing? You hire Associate Justice Clarence Thomas to teach, of course. At least, it almost looks that way.

Thomas Jefferson School of Law (yes, that Thomas Jefferson School of Law) announced on March 22nd that Clarence Thomas would participate in the school's study abroad program that would take place from June 26 to July 21, 2016. Justice Thomas agreed to be part of the program in place of Justice Scalia due to his senior's untimely passing. It will be the first time that Clarence Thomas will participate in the joint program between TJSL and the University of Nice School of Law.

Timing Is Everything

Originally, Justice Scalia was scheduled to teach the Constitutional Law class during the June - July 2016 session, but since his death, the TJSL has been looking for a proper replacement. Given Clarence Thomas' tendency to concur with Justice Scalia's opinions on most points, his hiring by the school hardly seems surprising.

What You Get for Your Money

In the law, there are famous personalities that get a lot of repeat coverage. Justice Scalia was one of those jurists, though almost any sitting supreme court justice would be a notch in any school's cap. The program will be held in France and coordinated with the University of Nice School of Law. It's four weeks of comparative law and international law study. If you join, you'll enjoy a day in French court, a luncheon series with famous judges, and more speeches from luminaries all in an august, European setting. You'd better enjoy it: it costs $3,000.

In the Shadow of Alaburda

It was only days after TJSL announced that Thomas would replace Scalia as the host professor that Thomas Jefferson School of Law secured a huge win in the case of Alaburda v. Thomas Jefferson School of Law. The case was the first of many attempted lawsuits against various law schools that claimed a culture of misrepresenting employment numbers as a means of luring unsuspecting students into attendance and overwhelming debt. Former students have tried suing TJSL numerous times and all failed. Alaburda's case was notable in that she was at least successful getting her case heard on the merits.

It must be said: the lawsuit controversy does seem to cast a looming shadow over Justice Thomas' new teaching gig. Even if there was no direct attempt to gloss over the school's legal troubles, it sure does look that way.

After all, those who followed the Thomas Jefferson School of Law scandals are now that much more cynical about what what we read. For example, will the Study Abroad Con Law class really be taught by Justice Thomas or just some guy who sold lingerie at Victoria's Secret?

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