In an as yet unpublished paper that's nevertheless making the rounds, Columbia law professor John C. Coffee, Jr., not only takes issue with some of my work on Dodd-Frank but does so via a series of ad hominem attacks couched as what seems to be a juvenile attempt at humor. As Roberta Romano reports:
10 Coffee (2011:4, 6,9) sweepingly seeks to dismiss the scholarship with which he disagrees by engaging in serial name calling, referring to the authors, Steve Bainbridge, Larry Ribstein and me, as “the ‘Tea Party Caucus’ of corporate and securities law professors” (a claim that would have been humorous had it not been said earnestly), “conservative critics of securities regulation,” (a claim, at least in my case, that would be accurate if he had dropped the adjective), and produce outcomes at odds with the public interest which he contends characterizes emergency legislation. Second, he asserts that flaws in crisis legislation go away over time, either because the administrative process through which the legislation is implemented will and further referring to Bainbridge and Ribstein, as “[my] loyal adherents.”
One should at least get labels right when attempting to disparage intellectual foes. ...
Coffee (2011:4) further claims that I (and others who have similarly critiqued Sarbanes- Oxley) see democratic politics as “dismaying, dangerous, and need[ing] to be discouraged.” He has it precisely backwards. Advocacy of sunset review in this context – emergency financial legislation – perfects democratic politics by seeking to have legislators make decisions. It is Coffee who would leave the revision of flawed crisis-driven legislation or its inept implementation to unelected functionaries with their own agendas, and more often than not, beyond public scrutiny.
Larry Ribstein discusses the substantive issues raised by Romano's paper but also notes that:
I’m proud to be included in Romano’s and Bainbridge’s “tea party” and surprised at being there because I advocated an idea also endorsed by Carter, Kennedy, Lowi and Common Cause. It’s sad a scholar of Coffee’s stature sees a need to resort to such rhetoric, though almost understandable since Romano’s devastating critique doesn’t leave him much of a ledge to sit on.
This is not the first time Coffee's gone out of his way to be insulting. At a AALS meeting in San Francisco a few years ago, he responded to my work on director primacy by comparing yours truly to Hogans's Heroes' Sgt. Schultz.
It's not clear to me why Coffee feels the need to substitute "serial name calling" for reasoned argument, but it's about time somebody called on it.
In closing, I suppose it's a backhanded compliment when a bully like Coffee lumps me in with two scholars for whom I have such enormous respect as Romano and Ribstein.
Update: If you came here from Matt Bodie's site, go here for my response.