As thick as academic thieves

TV celebrity Lawrence Tribe, the Harvard Law professor whose plagiarism was exposed on Saturday, has been defended by his Harvard colleague Charles J. Ogletree, a man also bedeviled by plagiarism charges. Ogletree called the discovery of Tribe's plagiarism "nonsense."

Embarassingly for Ogletree, Tribe has admitted wrongdoing today and apologized, by letter, to his victim.

Commenting on Tribe's admission, another Harvard Law professor and plagiarist, Alan Dershowitz, said "I think Larry may be overreacting."

Caught red-handed, with stolen passages published in a national magazine, Tribe's admission and apology "may be overreacting" to someone teaching law at Harvard; may be "nonsense" to others. Very pretty. And there's a pattern:

Last fall, Frankfurter Professor of Law Alan M. Dershowitz also battled plagiarism charges. And in 2002, Harvard Overseer Doris Kearns Goodwin admitted that she had accidently copied passages from another scholar in her bestseller The Fitzgeralds and the Kennedys.

Tribe, who was named one of Harvard’s 19 University Professors last June, defended [historian] Goodwin against plagiarism charges two years ago on the grounds that her work was “closely documented with something like 3,500 footnotes.”

By the way, whatever has happened to Goodwin's planned book on Lincoln? That famously honest president?

Tip of the hat to the Crimson.