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Chemerinsky to Become Dean At U.C. Irvine After All:
Brian Leiter's post with the news is here; U.C. Irvine's press release is here.
FantasiaWHT:
My first impression is to question the wisdom of accepting a renewed offer that had originally been rescinded for such reasons.
9.17.2007 2:49pm
wm13:
But, so far as I know, Larry Summer's banishment still stands. And, again so far as I know, while conservative blogs like Instapundit and VC supported Chemerinsky, the Balkins, DeLongs, Leiters etc. of the left-wing academic world don't consider free speech to be a two-way street. I think "useful idiots" is the phrase they use for people like the VC bloggers.
9.17.2007 3:06pm
Steve:
I think "useful idiots" is the phrase they use for people like the VC bloggers.

Not all of us are credulous enough to believe that Summers' problems with faculty stemmed solely from the fact that he was unlucky enough to make a non-PC comment or two.
9.17.2007 3:17pm
OrinKerr:
wm13,

You give the phrase "as far as I know" unintended irony.
9.17.2007 3:22pm
Gaius Marius:
Chancellor Drake should be removed from office.
9.17.2007 3:34pm
wm13:
Steve, I refer to Summers's being prevented from speaking to the UC Regents, not to his dismissal from Harvard.

Prof. Kerr, are you suggesting that there is something about that story that I don't know? I look at the Prof. Balkin's website pretty regularly, the others less often, but of course I could miss a post on one of those sites or some other left/liberal academic's website. I'm not aware that any of those sites took up the cudgels for Summers's right to speak.
9.17.2007 3:39pm
OrinKerr:
wm13,

I think your misunderstanding is deeper than just missing "something about that story," among them that Summers was not "fired" for his speech.
9.17.2007 3:44pm
Rick Shmatz (mail):
The phrase, "as far as I know", was attached to Mr. Summer's banishment and nothing else. I am forced to agree with wm13. The real irony is that Chemerinsky himself interprets the constitution based on his personal political views. Why shouldn't we interpret his ability in the same manner?
9.17.2007 3:45pm
OrinKerr:
Oh wait, wm13, reading the first part of your 2:39 post I realize that you are talking about something else. I didn't even know that Summers was invited to UC Irvine, or "banished" from it, or if he was, so I haven't a clue about the story. In general, though, the fact that someone hasn't blogged opposition to something is a very poor basis on which to assume their acceptance of it.
9.17.2007 3:48pm
Rick Shmatz (mail):
[Deleted by OK on civility grounds]
9.17.2007 3:52pm
Ralph Phelan (mail):
[Deleted by OK on civility grounds]
9.17.2007 3:55pm
Rick Shmatz (mail):
Has Dewrong confiscated Kerr's computer?
9.17.2007 4:00pm
PLR:
The Summers speaking engagement story apparently just came out Friday.

www.davisenterprise.com/articles/2007/09/14/news/114new1.txt

The two stories are apples and oranges, except for those who are superficial or who cannot process information without reference to their political beliefs.
9.17.2007 4:17pm
AF:
wm13: If you're comparing UC's handling of Chemerinsky's job offer with its handling of Larry Summers's invitation to appear at a meeting, you are really comparing apples and oranges. Chemerinsky's job offer and Summers's resignation would be a better comparison (though they still aren't remotely comparable for a variety of reasons).
9.17.2007 4:20pm
Steve:
I had no idea that principles of ideological neutrality were supposed to extend to the issue of who gets to speak at a dinner of the Board of Regents.

I mean, if someone doesn't want to babysit Larry Summers' kids because they think he's a sexist pig, is academic freedom thereby endangered?

Sometimes the cult of martyrdom that springs up around those who are considered "victims of political correctness" is truly amazing.
9.17.2007 4:24pm
CJColucci:
I have no dog in this fight, but we're so obviously not getting the straight story that I'm getting pissed off. Not hiring EC in the first place is a non-story. What basis could Drake have had to rescind the offer that wasn't obvious before making it? Why did Drake change his mind a second time? Why would EC take the gig now under the circumstances? I can't imagine an explanation that doesn't make everyone involved look like idiots or jerks.
9.17.2007 4:44pm
Jeffrey T. Renz (mail) (www):
When Chancellor Drake rescinded his offer, he triggered an uproar that transcended politics. His action may have endangered the law school's preliminary ABA accreditation. Drake, moreover, was potentially liable for violations of Prof. Chemerinsky's state and federal constitutional rights, although Erwin is such a decent guy, I would be surprised if he sued. In any event, cooler heads prevailed, Drake took his hat in hand and flew to NC. They hammered out an agreement that, I have to assume, assured Prof. C that the Chancellor and UCI would have his back in the future.
9.17.2007 4:59pm
Ralph Phelan (mail):
Sorry about that.
I'll try to be politer, though the substance of my point remains harsh:

(1) Chemerinsky is known for his vocal involvement in civil rights causes.

(2) A major civil rights abuse (the Duke Lacrosse Burning) was occuring in the town where he lives and on the campus where he works.

(3) He was uncharacteristically silent.

(4a) Without claiming it's true, I can at least claim it's a plausible hypothesis that the cause of his silence was that in his political philosophy the rights of middle-class white males are not a priority. The existence of such a belief is not a strawman; many faculty involved in the affair said so explicitly.

(4b) Without claiming it's true, I can at least claim it's a plausible hypothesis that the cause of his silence was that he was concerned about the social or career repurcussions of speaking out against the ongoing injustice. KC Johnson's blog has had unverifiable comments claiming to be from Duke faculty who remained silent for just those reasons.

(4c) I don't have a 4c and Chemerinsky isn't usually shy about making his views know, so I think it's reasonable to believe that at least one of the above hypotheses must be true.

(5a) If 4a is true, it's hard to believe Chemerinsky will hire in a politically unbiased way or treat fairly the concerns of those who are not members of a traditionally recognized "victim" group.

(5b) If 4b is true, it is hard to believe Chemerinsky will ever be able to stand up to the law school's faculty on any issue even when he knows they are in the wrong.

(6) It is my opinion based on the above that Chemerinsky's management style will more closely resemble that of Richard Brodhead than that of John Silber.

(7) It is my personal opinion that it would be better for UCI to have a Silber than a Brodhead.
9.17.2007 5:05pm
JosephSlater (mail):
I have no dog in this fight either, but Ralph Phelan and others, whatever EC's role was during the Duke Lacrosse case, that would have been well known before the initial offer to hire, right?
9.17.2007 5:17pm
loki13 (mail):
If:

1) I can assume that the Nifong case has anything to do with the UC-Irvine hire AND

2) I can plausibly assume that I hate any libruls who spoke out on the issue are bad THEN

3) I can plausibly use unverified comments that show that anyone faculty member that did not speak is just as bad as those who did AND

4) Because Chemerinsky is vocal about his specialty in ConLaw, it is really suspicious that he wasn't vocal about this local criminal matter, actually waiting until evidence came in AND MOST IMPORNTANTLY

5a, b, and c) Silber was a great BU president, and i don't think Chemerinsky is like that, because not speaking is exactly like speaking.

My mind is embiggened.
9.17.2007 5:18pm
LM (mail):
Ralph Phelan,

Don't stop now. That bootstrap is just building up a nice head of steam. A few more lines and we'll be able to prosecute EC for conspiring with the Rosenbergs.
9.17.2007 5:20pm
wm13:
Obviously, there is a difference between, say, selling a defective carriage wheel and selling a defective automobile tire. Most lawyers would see a similarity between the two cases, however.

Similarly, there is a difference between a group of right-wing donors complaining to the UC regents about the expressed political views of a prospective dean, and having his offer of employment rescinded, and a group of left-wing faculty complaining to the UC regents about the expressed political views of a prospective luncheon speaker, and having his speaking invitation rescinded. Both, however, are violations of the principle of free speech. What's interesting to me is that several conservative bloggers complained about both episodes, but every liberal blogger I know of complained only about the first.

Incidentally, standard First Amendment doctrine (which is not entirely coincident with the academic principle of free speech, but is generally understood to be less not more protective of free expression) would indicate that a state agency has much more freedom to silence a dean than to silence a guest speaker.
9.17.2007 5:28pm
LS:
Michael Dorf thinks Chemerinsky was luckier when he wasn't going to be the new dean of UCI. And
he manages to insult the vast majority of lawyers and law students in doing so
.
9.17.2007 5:35pm
Ralph Phelan (mail):
"I have no dog in this fight either, but Ralph Phelan and others, whatever EC's role was during the Duke Lacrosse case, that would have been well known before the initial offer to hire, right?"

I really don't know. If they did due diligence then they should have known in advance and I don't know why they gave him the offer in the first place. But if they weren't paying much attention, maybe they'd just bought Johson's book and after finishing it said to themselves "So where the heck was Chereminsky" But that's pure speculation and completely unsupported.
9.17.2007 5:45pm
frankcross (mail):
Summers speaking to the regents luncheon was trivial, wm13. Nothing material was at stake. I would happily condemn that but, if I had a blog, I probably wouldn't have blogged on that because . . . it is trivial. Of no real importance. Had they chosen to reject Larry as a Dean, that would be important. Having lunch is not.
9.17.2007 5:46pm
Thales (mail) (www):
"And, again so far as I know, while conservative blogs like Instapundit and VC supported Chemerinsky, the Balkins, DeLongs, Leiters etc. of the left-wing academic world don't consider free speech to be a two-way street. I think "useful idiots" is the phrase they use for people like the VC bloggers."

Any evidence of this claim? Balkin and Leiter are quite stringently protective of academic freedom regardless of ideological pedigree in all views on their blogs I have seen expressed. I've seen posts indicating Leiter believes that the free exercise clause of the first amendment is too broad in singling out *religious* expression from other forms of speech for special protection, and that hate speech may be banned without us worrying too much about enlightened public discourse being chilled (on these issues, he looks favorably on the practices of France and Canada, respectively). These are certainly reasoned and reasonable views, even if you disagree with them. But Leiter doesn't to my knowledge ever express anything to the effect that speech by conservatives ought to be subject to less protection, within or withour academia. I have seen no evidence of any sort regarding Balkin or DeLong that could be construed to support your claims.
9.17.2007 6:02pm
wm13:
Thales, the evidence is that when a group of left-wing faculty members at the University of California pressured the Regents to disinvite Larry Summers from speaking at a lunch because of his declared political views, and the Regents caved, Balkin, Leiter etc. said nothing.
9.17.2007 6:26pm
Thales (mail) (www):
"Thales, the evidence is that when a group of left-wing faculty members at the University of California pressured the Regents to disinvite Larry Summers from speaking at a lunch because of his declared political views, and the Regents caved, Balkin, Leiter etc. said nothing."

As I suspected, no evidence at all, even assuming your account of the disinvitation of Summers is accurate, or that if it was it was widely enough known to be news- or comment-worthy.

Of course, disinviting an academic *speaker* with views that some find odious (something I generally find difficult to defend and outside the spirit of free inquiry, however) is a far cry from firing an academic from a professorship or deanship. Moreover, Larry Summers is hardly a "conservative," nor could the comments that got him into trouble at Harvard be construed as such, so much as being outside of his field of competence and ill-said. I don't think left vs. right has much to do with it. The fight is more between the asserted sex-associated claims of some social biologists and the asserted "no meaningful differences" counter-claims of those in other fields.
9.17.2007 6:40pm
happy lee:
Comrade Chemerinsky will make a fine leader. And rest assured he knows "what needs to be done."

Comrade Ralph is too thoughtful and his name has been referred to the postrevolutionary tribunal.
9.17.2007 7:24pm
wm13:
So, Thales, if the regents had invited Susan Sarandon to speak, and if a group of conservative alumni protested and caused her invitation to be cancelled, you would have no problem with that, and neither would Balkin, DeLong etc.? I don't believe that.
9.17.2007 7:32pm
frankcross (mail):
If a group of conservatives disinvited a liberal, Leiter and Balkin would probably have a mild problem with it but would realize it was trivial and not make a big deal about it. Perhaps their reaction to Summers.

It is true that far out liberal ideologues would make a big deal about it. Like far out conservative ideologues make a big deal about Summers. But it is trivial.
9.17.2007 7:36pm
wm13:
frankcross, a deanship at a third rate law school is trivial, if it comes to that. Allowing (or prohibiting) JAG recruiters at Yale Law School is trivial. Signs that say "Bong Hits for Jesus" are trivial. Most of what law professors do is trivial. What's your point?
9.17.2007 7:48pm
Steve:
So, Thales, if the regents had invited Susan Sarandon to speak, and if a group of conservative alumni protested and caused her invitation to be cancelled, you would have no problem with that, and neither would Balkin, DeLong etc.? I don't believe that.

It would never occur to me in a million years to complain about a "free speech issue" if Susan Sarandon were disinvited from speaking at some dinner because of public complaints. What's amazing is not the position you take on this issue, but the fact that you assume most other people think like you.
9.17.2007 8:05pm
wm13:
Steve: Interesting. Would you complain in a million years if a dean were fired because of donor complaints?
9.17.2007 8:38pm
frankcross (mail):
Actually, I don't think a deanship at a "third rate" law school is at all trivial and wonder why you do. Those law schools are very important. Nor do I think letting the JAG interview at Yale is trivial and wonder why you do. The JAG plays an important role. I do think that the "Bong Hits for Jesus" sign itself was pretty trivial, but once it became a lawsuit and certainly once it reached the Supreme Court precedent-setting stage, it lost that status.

A luncheon, I think, is pretty trivial.
9.17.2007 9:47pm
advisory opinion:
[Deleted by OK]
9.17.2007 9:53pm
frankcross (mail):
advisory opinion, that makes no sense. Your commitment to academic freedom of speech would grant that right to VanDyke, but deny it to Leiter, who was simply exercising his academic free speech in evaluating VanDyke.

I know Brian, and he is not actually God. He doesn't have any authority to deny any academic opportunities to Mr. VanDyke. Nor could he "threaten" anyone, in any meaningful sense of that word. As an academic, though, he should be free to criticize him with the words he chooses. It appears to me that the only one here who wants to limit free speech is you.
9.17.2007 10:18pm
r78:

A major civil rights abuse (the Duke Lacrosse Burning) was occuring in the town where he lives and on the campus where he works.

I didn't follow the story closely, but I believe that the charges against the defendants in that case were dismissed before they were even tried.

To say that is a "major civil rights abuse" stretches it a bit, don't you think?

I would think a "major civil rights" abuse would be to have them tried, imprisoned, sent to death row for several years before they were freed by DNA evidence. That has happened to hundreds of people who were ultimately exhonerated via the Innocence Project.

I don't doubt that the Duke defendants were abused and I don't doubt that the wealthier among them had to spend quite a bit on attorneys fees, but, c'mon, a "major abuse"?
9.17.2007 10:37pm
r78:
sorry - here is the second half of the post -

So I don't think it is at unusual that Chemerinsky didn't jump into the spotlight to proclaim their innocence.

Aren't spectator attorneys supposed to have some sort of respect for the judicial system and let the process work instead of passing judgment on who is and who is not innocent?

The point being, all of this was dismissed prior to trial while - to the best of my knowledge - it was unclear exactly what evidence would come out at trial, if any. I head several contradictory reports about what happened on that night and certainly would not think that - given my passing interest - that I would have any basis to declare guilt or innocence.

Is this the standard we want to impose on attorneys when considering them for high positions - ferret out whether they pronounced guilt or innocence during the pretrial phase of prominent cases that occurred near them? I don't think so.
9.17.2007 10:43pm
advisory opinion:
[Deleted by OK]
9.17.2007 11:40pm
Lawrence VanDyke (mail):
[Deleted by OK]
9.17.2007 11:58pm
loki13 (mail):
[Deleted by OK. Folks, that topic has no relevance to this thread.]
9.18.2007 12:06am
advisory opinion:
Lawrence VanDyke: hi Brian!

No, I'm not Hunter Baker.

Pay attention: Intelligent Design is unmitigated bunkum. Hunter, as far as I gather, is a proponent of ID. So you're wrong. Again.

Next, nothing in the linked piece by Leiter addressed what I said. Nothing about the chilling effect mentioned, nothing about Leiter deliberately using his clout in law school rankings to damage VanDyke's prospects in the academy, nothing about perceived deterrence on untenured faculty who might write on contentious subjects - but plenty of Leiter acting coy and pretending that his threatening of implicit "consequences" for VanDyke is anything but.

For a lawyer, Brian is not very persuasive. Try again.
9.18.2007 12:16am
advisory opinion:
Oh well. Don't forget to delete Frank Cross's reply and my sur-reply.
9.18.2007 12:17am
David M. Nieporent (www):
If a group of conservatives disinvited a liberal, Leiter and Balkin would probably have a mild problem with it but would realize it was trivial and not make a big deal about it. Perhaps their reaction to Summers.
I suspect that if a liberal were disinvited because of the opposition of religious conservatives, Leiter would be fulminating, as he so often does, about the "Taliban," which is his word for any non-liberal non-atheist.

Not that this is really relevant to the discussion. The Summers UC incident is very different than the Chemerinsky UC incident, obviously -- but at the same time, the virulent attacks from liberals on anyone who departs from liberal orthodoxy are rather against the spirit of, if not the letter of, academic freedom, no?
9.18.2007 12:49am
frankcross (mail):
As far as I can see, you have no evidence of a chilling effect, or of Leiter using his "clout." What exactly is his clout? You have a convenient assertion not evidence of any sort.

Here's how hiring works. Schools get evaluations from other scholars, because they want to assess the quality of their work. These are anonymous. Many are negative. Some conservatives give negative assessments. They keep people from being hired. The process works with people evaluating the research of others. That's what Brian is doing, just in public. Schools can accept or reject his points on the merits. All I can see is that you want to muzzle his free speech.
9.18.2007 12:03pm
wm13:
frankcross, what do you think about the triviality of the many UC faculty members who organized and acted to get Summers's luncheon speech canceled? Are they trivial minds, to be concerned about something so trivial?
9.18.2007 1:43pm
frankcross (mail):
I'll give you that one. It was pretty trivial of UC faculty members (as well as dubious) to try to get the speech canceled. But I fear it is not unusual for ideologues to try to make a mountain of a molehill.
9.18.2007 4:30pm
sbron:
Prof. Chemerinsky was on the Bill Handel radio show
in Los Angeles this morning. Go to

http://www.kfi640.com/cc-common/podcast.html

and listen to the 7AM hour 9/18 segment. At 24 minutes
they begin discussing the Corrie family lawsuit against
Caterpillar. Chemerinsky seems to state that Caterpillar
can be sued for the same reason that fertilizer companies
selling chemicals used by the Nazis in gas chambers
can be sued. He clearly says the word "Nazis" in
making the comparison.

Maybe I'm misinterpreting the Professor's reasoning, as
I'm not a lawyer, but he seems to be entering
Finkelstein territory.
9.18.2007 6:38pm
advisory opinion:
Frank Cross, clearly you're keen to debate this despite Orin's injunction to cease discussion of the subject, so I'll humor you with the short version:

Hiring committees sensitive to Leiter's rankings will think twice about hiring VanDyke, in case it has a deleterious effect on THEIR rankings, given Leiter's hostility to him (is it any wonder that UT has consistently punched above its weight in his OWN rankings? lol don't answer. Conflict of interest for you. But don't try to deny that law schools don't act in their own perceived self-interest. Between two candidates - one carrying the threat of "consequences" from Leiter and one who doesn't, the committee will choose the less provocative hire, other things being equal.
9.18.2007 7:34pm
frankcross (mail):
advisory, Leiter's rankings have a transparent methodology which is objective and can be checked. You don't know what you are talking about. There is no way that he could hurt a school's rankings because of hiring VanDyke. For example, his recent ranking is based on citation counts. That's objective, not manipulable.
9.18.2007 7:37pm
advisory opinion:
As for the fatuous assertion that I'm muzzling free speech: get a grip. Condemning threats to academic freedom of speech is not itself a threat to free speech.

That's like saying condemning death threats that have the aim of silencing free speech is itself "attacking free speech". Orwellian nonsense.
9.18.2007 7:39pm
advisory opinion:
Except that his methodology is not relevant: hiring committees will choose act in their _perceived_ self interest, and err on the side of caution. Any way you slice it, the VanDykes who write on contentious issues likely to provoke Leiter's ire will think twice before putting their professional prospects in jeopardy. Ergo, chilling effect.
9.18.2007 7:42pm
frankcross (mail):
Leiter did not try to silence free speech. He criticized the content of speech. That happens all the time in academics and on this blog. He didn't threaten anything. Do you know the meaning of the word "threat"? What was the content of this threat?

You really are Mr. Assertion and pretty illogical ones at that. I gather you are now conceding that Leiter cannot manipulate his rankings. Yet you think that schools would err on the side of caution, which would only make sense if they were too dumb to figure that out, which they are not. And I don't think people are chilled from provoking Leiter's ire. I thing this because I know lots of people write stuff that provokes his ire.

I, in fact, have vigorously disagreed with Brian on issues occasionally, even at a time when he had a significant administrative position at our school. I was not chilled because (a) I'm not a total wussy wimp who fears any possible little risk of adversity and (b) he happens to be a guy of principle. He has very strong feelings but he is also fair. And I know plenty of prominent liberals for whom he has relatively little respect and some prominent conservatives he holds in high regard.
9.18.2007 8:25pm
advisory opinion:
The content of the threat is the indication of "pedagogical consequences" for VanDyke should he choose to enter the legal academy. That is a textbook definition of "threat". Look it up.

Second, I never claimed that Leiter "manipulated" his rankings. But now that you mention it, of course he can - simply by changing the metrics: giving more or less weight to citations, or placements, or considering geographical location, or the size of the law library, or even faculty perception. Tweak it enough and you achieve the desired result. Nothing about this is illogical: just obvious.

Change the methodology to give great weight to faculty perception and any school that hires VanDyke is in the gutter after Leiter's _unproven_ claim that VanDyke is a scholarly "fraud". Note that Leiter himself went to great lengths to draw law professors to this potentially libellous claim. Hiring committees aren't dumb: just rational, and prudent.

Finally, you were not "chilled" because you have tenure. Don't overstate your bravery. By contrast, the case of Juan non-Volokh on this blog is instructive. If even untenured faculty feel the need for pseudonymity when discussing contentious issues, what more junior scholars on the academic job market? Leiter conveniently proves the point: he attempts to out Jonathan at a critical point in the tenure process.

"Guy of principle"? Hilarious. Far from it given his false and vicious invective on untenured targets from behind the safety of his chair. Don't defend the indefensible.
9.18.2007 9:18pm
frankcross (mail):
I'm sure this is enough for the blog, feel free to email me. Unlike you, I happen to know him. You, in your relative ignorance, can stereotype him based on your reaction to a single comment. But that's not the best way to judge.

And, no, Brian can't manipulate the weighting, because he reports the individual components and doesn't even provided any weighted measure. Do you have any idea what you're talking about?
9.18.2007 10:02pm