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December 10, 2004

Conservatives in academia, II

On Wednesday, I linked to Professor Bainbridge's excellent article on bias in hiring on law school faculties. Those interested in the issue may wish to read articles in today's Harvard Crimson and yesterday's Boston Globe on the not-too-friendly reception new Harvard Law School faculty member Jack Goldsmith has received there among his colleagues. Formerly a law professor at the University of Chicago and the University of Virginia, Goldsmith was most recently an assistant attorney general heading the Office of Legal Counsel for the White House and prior to that special counsel to the general counsel of the Defense Department.

Although over 80 percent of the faculty voted to hire Goldsmith, according to standard practice, some of his opponents are now taking issue with his hiring in public. Goldsmith's colleagues have attacked him based on memos emanating from the two government departments where he worked that examined the applicability of international law to detained Al Qaeda members. Goldsmith has denied working on "torture memos," and no evidence has been presented to question his denial.

Whatever one's thoughts about arguments raised in the memos in question, the brouhaha at Harvard gives some insight into the politics at work on law school campuses. For a similar story, see the discussion at the Volokh Conspiracy in May about student demands for the resignation of Boalt Hall (Berkeley) law professor John Yoo, who had coauthored a memo "arguing that the protections of the Geneva Conventions did not apply to captured members of Al Qaeda or the Taliban militia." (May 24, 24(2), 26)

Posted by James R. Copland at 05:18 PM | TrackBack (0)

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