September 12, 2007

The University of Chattering Idiots

Our local branch of the University of California, UC Irvine, is known for its (hideous, IMO) post-modern architecture, some distinguished scholars, a money-losing hospital, and its predominantly Asian student body, among other things.

Lately the powers that be have decided to start a law school. We have a few, locally, including Chapman University's which started slow but is getting better and better, so one wonders why we need another. The truth be told, law schools are profit centers. No labs, research on paper and by computer, and alumni who earn good incomes and become generous donors.

So UCI decided to start a law school, and offered the Deanship to one Erwin Chemerinsky, a quite liberal constitutional law scholar who is also bright, diligent, articulate, and probably generous enough in spirit to hire professors of all shades of opinion. Someone, however, wasn't happy that they picked such a liberal guy to head a law school in Orange County, where the machine politicians, some crooked, are in the GOP. So UCI backed out.

Hugh Hewitt, a talk show host and blogger who is a GOP partisan, often has Chemerinsky and Chapman professor John Eastman on his show doing a con law point-counterpoint. He calls them the Smart Guys and lets them talk.

To his credit, Hugh is irate.

The whole thing is hugely embarassing to the University. The episode is worthy of the basest cow college. Whoever is responsible ought to be fired or quit. And having hired Chemerinsky, they ought to hire him back and apologize.

Let me be clear. I don't agree with Chemerinsky about much, and if I were on the hiring committee I probably would have picked someone else, like Justice Kozinski or Eugene Volokh. But Chemerinsky is amply qualified. Firing him because of discomfort with his views is despicable.

Forget about the law school. Open a cosmetology school instead.

UPDATE: The superb Patterico agrees with me on the firing, but like me, wouldn't have hired the guy in the first place. He offers specifics.

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