Pepperdine law professor Douglas Kmiec comments on UC Irvine's disgraceful treatment of Erwin Chemerinsky in the LA Times. Here's a taste:
Erwin Chemerinsky is one of the finest constitutional scholars in the country. He is a gentleman and a friend. He is a gifted teacher. As someone who participates regularly in legal conferences and symposiums, I have never seen him be anything other than completely civil to those who disagree with him.
So the news that UC Irvine had selected him to be the first dean of its new law school was welcome indeed. And the subsequent news -- that it withdrew the offer Tuesday, apparently because of Erwin's political beliefs and work -- is a betrayal of everything a great institution like the University of California represents. It is a forfeiture of academic freedom. . . .
Ironically, Erwin and I have often disputed the extent to which law is only politics. It has been my view that law must be understood as its own discipline and that the Constitution must be interpreted in a manner that respects its text and its history rather than any desired outcome. If federalism is a principle to be honored in the Constitution, for example, deference must be given to state choices, whether they are liberal or conservative. Erwin was less confident that law and politics could be so neatly divided.
I will continue to believe that the law has its own place above politics, but Erwin's dismissal surely makes that belief harder to sustain. UC Irvine's inability to keep politics out of its decision-making will make things difficult for the new law school. It will become more difficult to recruit new faculty and to attract the respect that the school would have so easily acquired by giving the deanship to Erwin -- and which it so tragically forfeited by its casual, and all too last-minute, withdrawal of the offer.
All Related Posts (on one page) | Some Related Posts:
- When Is it Permissible for Universities to Refuse to Hire Professors Based on their Political Views?
- Matt Welch (L.A. Times) Roundup on Chemerinsky News and Commentary
- Chemerinksy Update:...
- More from the L.A. Times on the Chemerinsky Matter:
- Kmiec on Chemerinsky:
- UC Irvine Chancellor Michael Drake's Statement on the Decision to Rescind the Offer to Erwin Chemerinsky:
- UC Irvine Law School Foolishly Rescinds Offer of Dean Position to Erwin Chemerinsky Because of Fear of Offending Conservatives: