Friday, September 14, 2007
Brian Leiter has a detailed post this morning on the Chemerinsky-UC irvine fiasco, with commentary on the UC-Irvine Chancellor's explanation, Chemerinsky's version of events, UC-Berkeley Christopher Edley's defense of UC-Irvine's actions, and an open letter by some UC-Irvine faculty to the Chancellor.
UC-Irvine Chancellor has published an op-ed in today's L.A. Times: Why I Let Chemerinsky Go, by Michael V. Drake.
Let me set the record straight. I made a management decision -- not an ideological or political one -- to rescind the offer to Professor Chemerinsky. The decision was mine and mine alone. It was not based on pressure from donors, politicians or the University of California Board of Regents. It was a culmination of discussions -- with many people over a period of time -- that convinced me that Professor Chemerinsky and I would not be able to partner effectively to build a world-class law school at UC Irvine. That is my overarching priority. My decision was absolutely not based on Professor Chemerinsky's place on the political spectrum, which is, in fact, quite similar to my own.
Ilya Somin comments on the decision here:
I'm willing to give Drake the benefit of the doubt on the donor issue. We don't really any proof that the decision was based on donor pressure. However, the assertion that it wasn't based on "Chemerinsky's political views" seems to directly contradict Chemerinsky's own account ...
Like Eugene Volokh, I believe that ideology can sometimes play a legitimate role in assessing candidates for deanships. A school can legitimately refuse to hire a dean whose ideology prevents him from enforcing administrative policies he disagrees with or does serious damage to the school's image. However, there is no reason to believe that Chemerinsky's fairly typical liberalism falls into that category. Indeed, Chancellor Drake says in his statement that Chemerinsky's views are similar to his own. My bottom line: if Chancellor Drake wants to refute claims that Chemerinsky's offer was rescinded for ideological reasons, he could help his case greatly by explaining what the real reason for the decision was.
The WSJ's Law Blog has more in L’Affaire Chemerinksy: What Should Irvine Do Now?, by Ashby Jones.