Post Date: September 3, 2004
I write to express my profound apologies for serious errors I made during the final days of the research and production process for my recent book — errors which resulted in several paragraphs from another book appearing in my own, without quotation marks or other attribution. The errors were avoidable and preventable, and I take full and complete responsibility for them.
During the final stages of the preparation of my book, material from Professor Jack Balkin’s book, What Brown v. Board of Education Should Have Said (NYU Press, 2001), was inserted in a draft section of the book by one of my assistants for the purpose of being reviewed, researched, and summarized by another research assistant with proper attribution to Professor Balkin. The material was inserted with attribution to Professor Balkin, although the extent of the quoted material was not entirely clear because a closing quotation mark was dropped. Unfortunately, the second assistant, under the pressure of meeting a deadline, inadvertently deleted this attribution and edited the text as though it had been written by me. The second assistant then sent a revised draft to the publisher, compiled from sections of a number of my previous drafts, which included the material from Professor Balkin’s book, without identification or attribution. When I reviewed the revised draft I did not realize that this material was authored by Professor Balkin.
The passage beginning at the top of page 259 with the phrase, “The history of school desegregation mirrors the Supreme Court’s original separation of the principle of racial equality” continuing through six paragraphs and ending on page 261 with “its practical effect seems increasingly irrelevant to contemporary public schooling” appears practically verbatim in Professor Balkin’s book. The cases discussed within this passage were then footnoted as if they were original material written by me, when in fact the passages were from Professor Balkin’s book. That material, including footnotes 1-8 on page 340, should be attributed to Professor Balkin of Yale Law School and to his book. Anyone wishing to quote from this material must contact NYU Press directly.
When I learned of this error I contacted Professor Balkin and apologized for my mistake. Professor Balkin was exceedingly gracious in accepting my apologies for this error, and for that I’m grateful. This negligence on my part will be corrected, and Professor Balkin’s work properly noted, in all future printings of All Deliberate Speed.
Harvard Law School Dean Elena Kagan was informed of this matter and immediately asked former Harvard University President, Derek Bok, and former Harvard Law School Dean, Robert Clark, to conduct an investigation of this matter and advise her on the circumstances. President Bok and Dean Clark interviewed those involved in the research and editing process of the book, and reviewed copies of the documents that traced how this error occurred. President Bok and Dean Clark presented their findings to Dean Kagan, who has accepted them. Their findings are consistent with this statement, which both President Bok and Dean Clark reviewed for accuracy.
I made a serious mistake during the editorial process of completing this book, and delegated too much responsibility to others during the final editing process. I was negligent in not overseeing more carefully the final product that carries my name. I accept full responsibility for this error and apologize to Professor Balkin, NYU Press, Norton, my colleagues, students and others for this serious mistake.
Charles J. Ogletree, Jr., Jesse Climenko Professor of Law, Harvard Law School