September 14, 2007

The Erwin Chemerinsky mystery, part 2.

(Part 1 is here.)

Michael Drake speaks:
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.

Nor was this a matter of academic freedom. UC Irvine -- and I personally -- staunchly support and defend freedom of speech and the expression of a wide range of viewpoints on our campus; nowhere is this more important than at a public university. There are individuals with political views far more liberal than Professor Chemerinsky's or mine who conduct research, teach and serve in senior administrative positions at UC Irvine....

I am confident that our search process will ultimately result in the appointment of a founding dean who will work with my colleagues and me to build the world-class law school that we envision for UC Irvine.
What bureaucratic drivel! Glad you're so convinced and confident about absolutely everything. We're not.

UPDATE: The L.A. Times reports on the furor at UCI:
The search for Chemerinsky took nine months before a formal agreement was reached, and search committee members said they would now probably start again from scratch...

Although Drake has denied that he took action under pressure from conservatives, [psychology professor Elizabeth F. ] Loftus said Thursday that the chancellor told the [dean search] committee during an emergency meeting Wednesday night that he was forced to make the decision by outside forces whom he did not name. A second member of the committee confirmed Loftus' account to The Times but asked to remain anonymous.

"I asked whether it was one or two voices or an avalanche, and the answer is that it was an avalanche," Loftus said. "But we are not supposed to capitulate to that in the world of academic freedom."
And here's lawprof Jack Balkin:
This is a disgraceful way to treat Erwin Chemerinsky, a very fine legal scholar. It is bad enough that Drake fired him in what can only be described as an act of cowardice. Now he must go on an extended public relations campaign lying about why he did so and further impugning Chemerinsky in the process. One suspects that the next person whose job is on the line will be Drake himself.
Can anyone explain why Drake should not resign? After nine months of searching for a dean and recruiting a man who is highly respected throughout the law school community, he turned around and fired him in a way that has undercut the whole project of founding a law school at UCI.

36 comments:

Smilin' Jack said...

I am confident that our search process will ultimately result in the appointment of a founding dean who will work with my colleagues and me to build the world-class law school that we envision for UC Irvine.

I certainly hope so, because if there's one thing this country desperately needs, it's more lawyers.

Maxine Weiss said...

Greedy Bureaucracy---- that's exactly what UC is.

And it's not just this issue. I can tell you every single hiring decision UC has ever made is based upon how much money they think will bring them.

If you've got enough $$$$$$$ they'd even be willing to rename the UC initials to yours!

It will never change. People can scream "academic freedom" all they want.

UC is beholden to the almighty dollar (no what its politics) and they'd sell anyone (students, faculty, admin, etc) down the river if they felt it would interfere with that.

The Regents are simply fat cats who sit and collect honorariums and perks, no matter how much false sentiment and fake platitudes come out of that Board---they have never reversed a University decision !!!

It will never change.

John Kindley said...

"I certainly hope so, because if there's one thing this country desperately needs, it's more lawyers."

I absolutely agree, Smilin' Jack. More lawyers, and more doctors, because those two fields are charging way more for their services than they could get away with in a free society. For that reason, and the reason that people have a fundamental right to earn an honest living, I propose that all licensure laws prohibiting those who haven't ponied up the tariff of years of their lives (including the future ones they've indentured to pay for the privilege) from practicing law, medicine, not to mention hair styling, pest extermination, etc., etc., be repealed. People could still select their doctors and their lawyers the same way they do now, by reputation and word of mouth, and, yes, if they're really picky and have money to burn, by whether they have a diploma from some credentialing institution on their wall.

John Kindley said...

And note, for everyone who thinks we should "kill all the lawyers," if everyone's a lawyer, then no one is.

Revenant said...

I'm inclined to believe him when he says the decision wasn't due to outside pressure. If deep-pocketed conservative donors were going to start pitching a fit over UC staff, they wouldn't start with Chemerinsky. Drake is entirely right that Chemerinsky's politics weren't that extreme.

My personal suspicion is that this was a clash of egos between Drake and Chemerinsky. Both seem to have ego to spare.

Maxine Weiss said...

Why is it that the Negro always takes the hit ?

UC provides generous pensions, and I'm sure they've set him up for life.

By the way, Happy New Year, everyone!

Peace, Maxine

rcocean said...

Not being in the know. How many law schools have Scailia/Bork type conservatives as the Dean of their Law school?

What are the chances that Irvine will simply pick another liberal as Dean, just one not as vocal as Chemerinsky?

rcocean said...

Maxine: happy holidays.

Maxine Weiss said...

Ah, how nice---rcocean!

One more cute little thing: Do you all really think Jews are gonna take orders from Blacks?

Think about it.

Currently, I'm the only one with the temerity (was does that word mean?)....to bring up the racial issues.

I know, for a fact, that Chemerinsky is a wonderful, sweet, polite-to-a-fault, kind gentleman.

But, so what. There are some things in this world that will never be---and Jews, even the polite ones...aren't going to answer to Blacks.

The truth hurts, but you all have to admit, I do have an eye for these racial and color issues.

It was probably a combination of things, the money and donor issues being paramount. But the race thing also played a part.

Love, Maxine

Maxine Weiss said...

"Can anyone explain why Drake should not resign?"---Althouse

A better question is why he got hired in the first place....

The fact that Joan Irvine Smith is even having lunch with him speaks volumes. He was their "house" servant. He was their "boy".

Irvine-Smith, Bren et al, loved having someone that would readily take orders, and ultimately be the fall guy for their mishaps.

That's the problem with Chemerinsky: he won't pamper the fragile egos, and massage Joan Irvine Smith at lunches the way she'd like....no matter what empty public statements she makes.

Drake is little more than a liveried butler to them. A muse. A novelty, and of course he'll be (gracefully) let go, now.

Irvine is a different animal. Althouse, when are you going to submit your application?

ricpic said...

"Why is it that the Negro always takes the hit?"


Wow, are you ever the screaming Lefty!

Maxine Weiss said...

Yeah, ya got me there!

Also, you can't compare USC with UCI.

USC wasn't a start-up, during his tenure. The USC law school is one of the oldest in California, and the USC law school, itself, has a high degree of financial autonomy from the main school. And SC has vast resources. They aren't beholden to a single benefactor, or a single group like at Irvine.

UCI Law is completely tied to Bren et al. The school, at this juncture, just can't make it without the benefactors, and the amount of interfacing, and stroking that needs to go on in order to maintain those relationships.

I just don't see him (Chemerinsky) as having the wherewithal to do that---attend all their society parties, lady-leasure lunches, extensive charity fund-raising...the majority coming from Republican sources... ahem.

UCI itself is a relatively new school. The place opened in the early 60s. Donald Bren was on the original steering committee. It was an amazing place of serene quietude during the upheaval of Vietnam on every pther campus!

T Mack said...

So Chemerinsky is "brillant" even though he is wrong about practically every constitutional issue.
Can someone explain that to me?
Under that logic Gene Roddenberry is wrong about space physics but nevertheless is a "brilliant" astrophysicst.
About his "fairness" or "honesty".
I saw him propose in the 2000 election that the best way to solve it was have Florida vote over.
A lie and he knew it.
He also presented himself as a neutral expert, not disclosing that he was an unpaid advisor to Gore. Thus another lie.
The guy believes it is okay to have the judicary branch impose one's individual foreign policy beliefs on the US, by his suing Catipillar.
Did you hear him say anything about the Duke "rape" case?
Hear his opinions about filibusters? Under Clinton, they are unethical with no historical precedent.
Under Bush, they are a valuable tool to prevent the majority from abusing the minority.
So again, someone please explain how some one can be brilliant and wrong?
My gut feeling is that only in the law profession can one be "brilliant" and wrong at the same time.

XWL said...

I'm guessing that if Michael Drake was thinking of using Prof. Althouse as a fall back law professor to hire as Dean, he'd have to offer an awful lot to convince her to accept.

(plus I don't get the Dean vibe from Prof. Althouse anyway, but the chance to be the first Dean at a new law school could be intriguing)

As far as conservative Deans, within So. Cal alone I can think of two right off the top of my head, Pepperdine in Malibu has Kenneth Starr as Dean (no need for me to go over his credentials as a conservative), and at Chapman University in Orange (not far from Irvine) you have John C. Eastman (his wiki shows that he clerked for Clarence Thomas, and ran for Congress as a Republican in 1990).

Ruth Anne Adams said...

rcocean asked "How many law schools have Scailia/Bork type conservatives as the Dean of their Law school?"

Bork, though not a Dean, is a prominent member of a very new law school, Ave Maria Law School. It's currently in Ann Arbor, but will be relocating to Ave Maria, Florida in a year or so. Pepperdine has Ken Star as its Dean.

That's two that I recalled. But even if the Dean leans right, it doesn't mean the whole school does.

Maxine Weiss said...

I think Chemerinsky is "brilliant" in his encyclopedic knowledge of the Constitution.

It's his application of that knowledge that I have a problem with.

He gutted the City of Los Angeles Charter, and gave the LAPD less power at a time (the 1992 riots) when they needed more, ---not less.

One could argue that Chemerinsky's LA Charter games were a cause of illegal aliens overtaking the LAPD, and local law enforcement being helpless to do anything about rogue criminal aliens.

Gee thanks Erwin Chemerinsky.

No wonder Orange County doesn't want him!

XWL said...

I forgot to add, I'm guessing Drake would have to offer the equivalent of at least 2000 egg salad sandwiches annually, plus a nice house, free cable, and wifi for Prof. Althouse to even consider stepping in.

(and commenting on conservative deans in the same comment with speculation about Prof. Althouse being considered for Dean at UCI is not to be construed as an assumption that Prof. Althouse would be considered a conservative dean, I was just responding to rcocean's speculation about the existence of conservative deans)

Luckyoldson said...

Conservatives in Orange County, etc. were behind the entire affair.

Big bucks and political pressure.

This will set the school back a decade in reputation alone.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

XWL: Cross-posting makes me unhinged.

Maxine Weiss said...

The Irvine Co. is giving all new faculty free houses. You all know about Orange County real estate. ---MTV, The OC, Real Housewives, Laguna Beach etc..

Heck, I'd do anything they asked me, be any political pursuasion they wanted....just to get one of those homes!

Don't cry for UCI. Believe me, they've got thousands and thousands of applications begging to get in on this.

Maxine Weiss said...

Their giving a $50,000.00 moving allowance. Can you imagine?

$50 grand....just to be for the inconvenience of moving....

I got two Mexicans that only charge $200.00 to operate a moving van. I can't even imagine giving every single new faculty member $50,000.00 just to haul my junk across country.

But, I'd take it..nonetheless. Oh, yes I would!

rhhardin said...

Possibly Chemerinsky didn't return the form listing his objectives for the next year (the Administrative Encirclement form), and so was dropped.

Jay said...

Ann: I don't see Drake surviving this. I would be surprised if he lasted a week. At this point, everything he says sounds like a lie.

D said...

Has anyone considered the possibility that Drake is telling the truth?

In the LAT article, he says "we had talked to him in June about writing op-ed pieces and that he would have to focus on things like legal education in this new role, and then here comes another political piece. It wasn't the subject, it was its existence. What he said doesn't matter."

So, let's be PC for a moment. Do we believe the Black Doctor or the Jewish Lawyer?

Drake has said nothing but good about Chemerinsky. Chemerinsky is waging a scorched earth campaign against UCI, to get Drake fired and keep the law school from ever opening.

So far, Chemerinsky's winning.

EnigmatiCore said...

"Can anyone explain why Drake should not resign?"

Because the just solution would be him being fired instead?

paul a'barge said...

Can anyone explain why Drake should not resign?

Sure, here you go ... Chermerinsky was instrumental in the law suit against Caterpillar for making bulldozers under which Rachel Corrie, notorious anti-semite, committed suicide.

A man like Erwin deserved to be fired, and Drake did the right thing.

If there is one law professor walking upright who is not fit to be a law school dean, it's Chermerinsky.

S said...

1. I missed something. What's this about Negroes? Is Chemerinsky a Jew and Drake a Negro? Also, is there any particular reason to believe that this is relevant, or is it just idle speculation based on the assumption that, since the speculator frames all issues in racial terms, all Negroes and/or Jews do, too?

2. If Chemerinsky was, in fact, fired for his politics, I do not consider this praiseworthy. But the real scandal here, IMHO, is that they hired a new Dean and fired him a week later. What kind of chicken[expletive deleted] operation is this, that they hire first and vet second?

D said...

Yes, by coincidence, Professor Erwin Chemerinsky is a lawyer, and Jewish.

Chancellor Michael Drake is a doctor - an ophthalmologist, actually - and he is African American. Politically he is farther to the left than Chemerinsky is.

So I find it amusing that in todays world a Jewish man can carry out a campaign of character assassination against a black man - and all the liberals line up to support the Jew.

Yet it's conservatives that are supposedly secret racists?

EnigmatiCore said...

"Chermerinsky was instrumental in the law suit against Caterpillar for making bulldozers under which Rachel Corrie, notorious anti-semite, committed suicide."

That would be a reason for not hiring him in the first place.

It is not a reason for firing him, though.

EnigmatiCore said...

I think we really need to hear Cedarford's views here, anyway.

Revenant said...

So I find it amusing that in todays world a Jewish man can carry out a campaign of character assassination against a black man - and all the liberals line up to support the Jew. Yet it's conservatives that are supposedly secret racists?

Well, self-interest trumps ideology -- academics of any political persuasion don't want to see academic freedom weakened.

If Drake was the Jew and Chemerinksy the black man, we'd not only be hearing that Drake was racist, but also that he was "one of the leading neoconservatives".

MikeinSC said...

As far as conservative Deans, within So. Cal alone I can think of two right off the top of my head, Pepperdine in Malibu has Kenneth Starr as Dean (no need for me to go over his credentials as a conservative)

Funny thing is, before Clinton and his people demonized him, Starr wasn't viewed as being this ultra-right wing guy.
-=Mike

Internet Ronin said...

As Chemerinsky was hired and fired in an administrative capacity, it seems to me the claim that this is an assault on academic freedom is without foundation. Administrators do not have tenure (as Ann's implied demand that Drake be fired illustrates).

Irvine, California, is not a hotbed of evangelical Republicanism (See Agran, Larry: kingmaker of Irvine for almost three decades). The law school will not be confined to drawing applicants from the local area, so the idea that because the locals wouldn't like Chemerinsky he got fired is laughable. If the University of California was so afraid of what the locals thought, they would not have established a law school specializing in public interest law, arguably not a field of law near and dear to conservative hearts and minds, at that particular site.

(Aside: Maxine, what Joan Irvine Smith thinks (or not) is irrelevant. Smith has no involvement with the Irvine Company, had no power within the company or the Irvine Foundation even when her wealth was tied up in it, opposed Donald Bren's purchase of the company in 1983, and she and her mother (Athalie Clarke) ultimately settled for $256 million in 1991.)

The Board of Regents of the University of California voted unanimously to establish this law school, knowing full well at the time its intended mission and despite the strong oppposition of the California Commission on Post-Secondary Education (the independent body responsible for planning and coordinating higher education according to the state master plan for higher education). The idea that there would be sufficient votes on the Board of Regents to cause any but a minor problem for approval of a contract with Chemerinsky is quite comical.

It seems to me what this probably boils down to are two alternative scenarios:

1) Donald Bren had not yet transferred the promised $20 million and made his views known. If he has already given the money or signed any type of contract to do so with the Regents, his opinion is irrelevant - the Regents have a long track record of ignoring donor opinion once they have cash in hand.

2) Chancellor Drake is telling the truth when he writes, "we had talked to him in June about writing op-ed pieces and that he would have to focus on things like legal education in this new role, and then here comes another political piece. It wasn't the subject, it was its existence. What he said doesn't matter."

When Chemerinsky violated their mutual agreement, Drake realized that Chemerinsky was not a team player and could not be trusted to confine himself to his administrative duties.

I don't know how many law school deans regularly publish political op-eds but I imagine the number is small, as most are too involved in their administrative duties to do so. However, it seems to me that UCI's law school's stated mission, public interest law, is quite political in and of itself, almost guaranteeing to be a continuing source of controversy once established, and Chemerinsky thought (and thinks) his behavior appropriate to his position. Drake obviously disagreed, and still does.

I am surprised, however, by the overwhelming rush to judgment by law professors nationwide, including Ann. Most of them have little knowledge of the actual facts and are quite content to rely on rumor and hearsay as if it were fact because it conveniently buttresses their personal, uninformed, opinion. Although I have not checked his recent comments, it seems to me that the only professor of law who has maintained the standards of his profession in this controversy is Eugene Volokh.

Steven said...

Can anyone explain why Drake should not resign?

Sure. He just took an action that undercut the whole project of founding a law school at UCI. He deserves not just to keep his job, but a raise, a Presidential Medal of Freedom, fifty indulgences from the Pope, and a lifetime free pass to a Nevada whorehouse.

Maxine Weiss said...

"S"----of course I should not have brought race into this.

Never open up that can of worms. Drake isn't an errand boy for the Elites. He's not their pupppet. He's not gonna take the fall, with a huge parachute. He didn't get the job because he was a sychopant and knew how to follow orders. And, the LA Times would never plaster a photo of him on their front page---showing Drake in all his glorious blackness.

Just my silly imagination working overtime again.

Trooper York said...

"College isn't the place to go for ideas." Helen Keller