Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Lots of law school news today. At the top, Erwin Chemerinsky is now back in as founding dean of the new state law school at the University of California-Irvine. UCI Chancellor Michael Blake, doing his best imitation of a reed in a gale, apparently bowed to pressure to bring Chemerinsky on board less than a week after he had bowed to contrary pressure to toss him out. Those concerned that UCI wouldn't have been able to hire a faculty if Chemerinsky's firing had remained a blot on its escutcheon can now breathe a sigh of relief.
Meanwhile, though it's not exactly man-bites-dog news, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has thrown out Yale University's argument that it has a constitutional right to receive federal government funding even if it refuses to go along with federal government regulations that compel it to allow military recruiting on campus. The handwriting had been on the wall after the U.S. Supreme Court decided Forum for Academic and Institutional Rights v. Rumsfeld, which had upheld the validity of the Solomon Amendment. Not even the best arguments from Yale law professors, ably assisted by Cravath, Swaine & Moore and amicus briefs from colleagues at Harvard, Chicago, Columbia, Cornell, NYU, and Penn, and by the AAUP, could keep the Second Circuit from the swift completion of it appointed rounds. Yale, with an endowment reported at some $15 billion dollars, could probably manage to scrape by without federal cash if it felt strongly enough about its anti-discrimination policy, but that's apparently not something that's on the table.
On a less cynical note, things seem to be going from bad to worse at Ave Maria Law School. The folks at the always interesting Mirror of Justice blog have issued a joint statement expressing serious concern over the treatment of tenured and untenured faculty who have disagreed with the policies set forth by the dean and the Board, saying that "the Catholic nature vital to [Ave Maria's] founding and sustenance has been derailed" by a series of arbitrary actions.