Archive for the ‘Academia’ Category

What is a public high school?

Written by Henry L. Chambers, Jr. on December 10th, 2008

For the second year in a row, the Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology was named the best public high school in the nation by U.S. News and World Report.  Though ranking any high school as the single best in the country is somewhat pointless, it is fairly clear that Jefferson is an exceptional high school where its students get an exceptional education.  However, it is unclear that the high school is public.  The school is administered by the Fairfax County Public Schools System.  However, it uses selective admissions to create its student body.

That a school is administered by a public entity may lead some to conclude that a school is public.  Indeed, one may argue that who pays the bills and who controls a school in the only determinant of whether a school is public or private.  Certainly, that is how most determine whether a college is public or private.  Maybe the same rule applies to schools at all level.

However, historically, the distinction between private schools and public schools has been that private schools choose their students while studentstj_logo_sculpture.jpg (or their parents) choose public schools by moving to or continuing to live in a school’s district.  That might seem to suggest that selective admissions is at odds with public education.  However, some might fairly argue that as long as a student is not denied an education at his neighborhood school creating a county-wide public school with selective admissions that exists separate from the web of neighborhood schools is not inconsistent with public education.  However, they may also concede that the county-wide public school more resembles a private school embedded in a public school system supported by public money than a neighborhood public school.

However, at the end of the day, whether a school resembles a public school or a private school may not matter as long as public school systems realize that their obligation is to provide superb educational experiences to all of their students.  Surely there will always be opportunities for public school systems to create special schools that teach a particular curriculum to students with interests that are off the beaten path.  However, that should not be an excuse to provide subpar neighborhood schools.  Excellence can be achieved in purely public neighborhood schools if such excellence is demanded and rewarded.  The hope is that we as a society will continue to demand excellence through neighborhood schools that are public through and through.  Nonetheless, whatever the structure of the school, Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology deserves all the praise it can stand.

AALS Mid-Year Conference in Constitutional Law

Written by Robert Justin Lipkin on June 2nd, 2008

This week I will attend the Association of American Law Schools Mid-Year Conference in Constitutional Law in Cleveland, Ohio from 3 June to 6 June 2008. Here’s the statement of the reason for this conference: “Constitutional law is always changing, but the changes since the last AALS professional development program on constitutional law are particularly dramatic. The Supreme Court has significantly changed the emphasis of its prior jurisprudence of government power and abortion rights. The so-called federalism revolution of the 1990s might have reached its limits. Laurence Tribe announced that he had suspended working on his treatise on constitutional law because the field was in such flux that no overview seemed possible. How can scholars of constitutional law respond to these developments? Participants in the 2008 Conference on Constitutional Law will have a chance to consider these and many other topics.”

A Virtually Perfect Petitio Principi in the Controversy over the Use of Citations in Ranking the Impact of Legal Scholarship

Written by Robert Justin Lipkin on November 29th, 2007

UPDATE: Please see my post “Mea Culpa” written on Friday 30, 2007 above for a correction concerning the quoted passage in this post.

A paradigmatic–virtually perfect–example of how not to “reason” about social practices, including ranking the impact of legal scholars, is this.

The sorts of criticisms noted…can be taken in two ways–one reasonable and the other stupid. The reasonable way is as either noting things that might be improved on in the future or else as noting things that should lead smart consumers of the rankings to ask more questions or otherwise serve as caveats on using the rankings . . . The stupid way to mean them would be to believe that there could be a perfect ranking system, one that combines all desirable elements and has no undesirable ones. Finally the idea that a ranking of schools in general is bas seems silly.

What a circle! Unless one already accepts the premise, as the author and his supporters do, that ranking, even if imperfect, is useful when properly qualified of course, one’s approach to citations and rankings is stupid.[1] Yet, for some skeptics, no improvements will outweigh the deficits–some of which I have elaborated on here, here, and here. Yet the author simply assumes that rejecting ranking scholarly impact through a qualified citation measurement system is stupid. A wonderful closed circle of fallacious reasoning. Not one argument in this morass just circular assertions masquerading as arguments.

As with most controversies about social practices one can deal with a practice on its own terms, chipping away at or improving this or that point, or one can reject the entire enterprise on the grounds that is has too few, if any, benefits, and too many detriments, including, but not limited to, how we appreciate evaluation in general in a particular domain. There’s no pursuit of perfection here, and so reference to one is merely a distraction. Rather than one reasonable approach and one stupid one, these two approaches have been legitimate, if contested, approaches to intellectual controversies for centuries. Calling one approach “stupid” because one favors an alternative, borders on just plain bullying.

Ranking the impact of legal scholars cannot be perfect to be sure. But, for some, that’s not the complaint. One complaint, for me, is conflating two different kinds of discourses without sufficiently acknowledging one is doing so. Another complaint is that “[o]ur culture suffers from a ferocious ranking fetish. . . . citation study feeds the beast, when we should instead be starving it.[2] In other words, but not as well put, the contention is that legal scholars, especially fledgling ones, already perseverate about ranking to the detriment of directly evaluating the intrinsic value of scholarship, an archaic, futile practice perhaps for some. Indeed, law school’s “ferocious fetish” is much greater than other academic disciplines, although that of course, can change. If it does, it will be a change for the worse.

_____________________________________________
[1] There’s an alternative way to interpret these remarks which castigates the critic, not the approach, for being stupid. But I’ll leave that alone for now.

[2] This is Brian Tamanaha’s marvelous line. See here.

Credit for First Image
Credit for Second Image

More on Ranking Legal Scholars

Written by Robert Justin Lipkin on November 28th, 2007

Brian Tamanaha, at Balkinization, has an important response to Brian Leiter’s insistence that citations–with the appropriate qualifications, of course–measure the true impact of legal scholars. Some of the key points in Tamanaha’s post, as I understand it, are: (1) It is a non sequitur to insist that citations can be a “proxy” for impact even with elaborate qualifications, (2) The practice of citation, unique to law, requires an inordinate number of citations and “over time, stock or standard citations develop, which are cited again and again, with no guarantee or even indication that the authors cited are read or even if they are read that the cited piece had any significant impact on the field” and (3) An alternative would be to count only citations where the source was actually discussed. Although even here, I would add, discussing an article might not prompt anyone else to notice, or if someone does notice, to cite or extend the discussion. The true value–and therefore, probably (and hopefully) the true impact–of law review articles consists of the importance of the question posed, knowledge of previous answers, comprehensive analytical and critical examination of these answers, a proposed solution, and, of course, writing style. Seeking to ascertain an article’s value cannot possibly be achieved by counting its citations even with qualifications. One can, of course, qualify a thesis to death.

Generally, the inclination to rank involves two elements: a class of items we think should be compared and evaluated and criteria for doing so. This is a perfectly legitimate instinct. When we compare and evaluative two novels, we’re ranking them in a sense. But comparing and evaluating, though typically essentially contested, can be interesting and productive. Such a practice, in principle, can illuminate critical issues and help us discover important questions not obviously raised by our initial discussion of the novels.

The question is whether “ranking” does the trick with novels or with any other complex value-items, including the “impact” of legal scholars.[1] At its heart, ranking seeks an uncontroversial or virtually uncontroversial (empirical?) criteria when we don’t agree over the comparisons or evaluations conducted on an intuitive or normative level. We, therefore, seek an independent (“objective?”) standard that will, with appropriate qualifications, take the contention out of intuitive and normative disagreements about which items (in a class) have greater value of some kind or another. But any uncontroversial intersubjective criteria will be unable to explain why what we value has value. And any controversial intersubjective criteria will not achieve consensus and reliability if that is what we seek. Surely, consensus and reliability in ranking the impact of legal scholars are two of the salient elements we design ranking to achieve.

We’re mixing frameworks here. We should have learned as much from G.E. Moore’s “naturalistic fallacy” and David Hume’s dictum concerning the relationship be descriptive and normative (in Hume’s case, prescriptive discourse.[2] I’m endorsing neither Moore’s “naturalistic fallacy” nor Hume’s puzzlement over deriving and “ought” from an “is.” Evaluative judgments–prescriptions, normative claims, and so forth–might be derivable from some types of descriptions, but the character of such a notion of “derivability” will inevitably be complex and tentative. That brings me to Tamanaha’s terrific and pithy conclusion: “Our culture suffers from a ferocious ranking fetish. Leiter’s citation study feeds the beast, when we should instead be starving it.” Bravo! Bravo!

_________________________________
[1] “Impact” or “true impact” is significantly ambiguous. They might refer to the prevalence of a legal scholars works in the literature upon which consensus can be achieved. By contrast, it might refer to the effect on the tenor, character, and direction of the field of scholarship in question. The first sense is generally uninteresting but verifiable. The second sense in fundamentally important but doesn’t stand a chance of achieving verification or consensus.

[2] I am not unaware of objections to and re-interpretations of Hume’s dictum that one can’t derive an ought from and is. But Hume’s succinct statement of the relationship between descriptive and prescriptive reasoning is worth pondering just the same.

In every system of morality, which I have hitherto met with, I have always remark’d, that the author proceeds for some time in the ordinary ways of reasoning, and establishes the being of a God, or makes observations concerning human affairs; when all of a sudden I am surpriz’d to find, that instead of the usual copulations of propositions, is, and is not, I meet with no proposition that is not connected with an ought, or an ought not. This change is imperceptible; but is however, of the last consequence. For as this ought, or ought not, expresses some new relation or affirmation, ’tis necessary that it shou’d be observ’d and explain’d; and at the same time that a reason should be given; for what seems altogether inconceivable, how this new relation can be a deduction from others, which are entirely different from it.

David Hume, A Treatise of Human Nature (1939-40).

Credit for First Image
Credit for Second Image (G.E. Moore)

What’s Wrong with Ranking Legal Scholars?

Written by Robert Justin Lipkin on November 22nd, 2007

Mary Dudziak has an important post at Legal History Blog objecting to Brian Leiter‘s methodology of ranking legal scholars according to the number of times they are cited in the Westlaw JLR database of legal scholarship This, according to Dudziak, will under-count citations (and therefore under-count the impact) of inter-disciplinary scholars whose work is cited in journals not included in the Westlaw database. Dudziak is surely right to point to out this misleading aspect of Leiter’s rankings. However, Leiter could remedy this problem, if he wished to expend the resources, by having a special ranking for inter-disciplinary legal scholars. Accordingly, the real problems with such rankings lie elsewhere.
Indeed, the culture of ranking suffers from two further defects. First, it fortifies the dogma that empirically established rankings reflect an interesting account of the true impact of legal scholars. But to ratify this methodology one needs an evaluative criterion against which to compare the empirical results. Yet, if we had such an evaluative criterion, there would be little need, if any, for purely empirical evidence in the first place. Moreover, the enduring value of such rankings is highly problematic. Consider an example from another discipline. David Hume, reputed to be one of the most important philosophers, if not the most important, ever to write in English, during his life time was known more for The History of England than for his masterpiece, A Treatise on Human Nature. In fact, Hume himself recognized the Treatise’s failure to have an impact at the time in ruefully observing that the Treatise “fell stillborn from the press.” How would Hume’s philosophical reputation have fared if during his lifetime there existed a philosophical ranking system comparable to Leiter’s?

More important, ranking presents a unique problem for legal scholarship. Most legal scholars, without experience or qualifications in other academic disciplines, accept without question, the so-called “two-tiered” system of law review craftsmanship. Pardon the hyperbole, but there are three central imperatives in legal scholarship, especially for the fledgling scholar: citations, citations, and citations. By contrast in philosophy, citations are generally frowned upon. A philosopher will use citations for purposes of attribution and for some brief explanations which would appear out of place in the text. Indeed, “attributions” themselves are also frowned upon in philosophical scholarship. No, not because philosophical culture encourages plagiarism, but rather because a philosophical article is supposed to be original; the author’s article is supposed to stand on its own. In philosophical scholarship, there’s no need to try to impress editors with how many other philosophers you can name or even how much you know about a topic by dropping citations like seed. Your competence–and the worth of your article–is determined by how well you frame the issue, how cogent your criticisms of important alternative approaches are, and your solution to the problem. Citations of tens or hundreds of other philosophers are simply unimaginable.

Back to legal scholarship. Any astute beginner in legal scholarship will, if savvy, look at the scholars on Leiter’s list and make sure to cite at least some of the scholars on the list, in his or her first article (and even in his or her so-called “tenure” piece). I’m not suggesting that these scholars don’t read the articles. But there does seem to be a propensity to skim, shall we say, the relevant passage and then cite it in order to demonstrate to the student editors just how erudite you are. In philosophy, as I recall, citing someone without thoroughly reading the relevant work (and understanding it) was considered, if not duplicitous, surely irresponsible. That’s not, unfortunately, the practice in legal scholarship. Many lawyers turned scholars seem to think that they can master just about any area, no matter how complex and no matter how intertwined its foundations are with other academic disciplines. In-depth analyses of legal issues, even issues in legal theory, with few exceptions, seem to be absent from their vocabularies.

Additionally, rankings such as Leiter’s encourage members of the scholarly community to make prominent scholars more prominent independently of whether there work continues to be first-rate. (Yes, it is true that early success in scholarship does not guarantee continued success. Although, come to think of it, in legal scholarship the question of whether a sensational young phenom lives up to his or her potential is almost never raised.) The result is that less prominent scholars are virtually ignored. (“The rich get richer and so forth.”). It’s bad enough to require an abundance of citations in legal scholarship. But to use citations as the basis of a ranking system of a scholar’s impact or the inherent worth of a scholar’s article compounds the problem. Legal scholars can be (at least hopefully) creative intellectuals whose work should be judged by the content of its character not by the number of its citations.

One final note, Lieter’s intent might be to simply list those scholars whose work is cited more than others with no further evaluation attached to the ranking. However, such a project is conceptually predicated on a sharp distinction between the descriptive and the evaluative. Even if such a distinction is viable, Leiter’s ranking overlooks the entrenched psychological predilection to automatically see rankings as identical to lasting impact and inherent worth. To perseverate over rankings based on the number of citations is likely to distort the creative enterprise of legal scholarship, encouraging junior scholars to remain fixated on rankings and thereby abdicate the importance of deciding for themselves whose work is worth studying. With all due respect to Leiter, whose scholarly output is formidable, descriptive rankings in any intellectual domain, but especially in law, though intuitively appealing, should be resisted.
Credit for Erasmus Image
Credit for Hume Image
Credit for Langdell Image

The Tushnet Symposium at Quinnipiac: A Great Success!

Written by Robert Justin Lipkin on October 8th, 2007

The Quinnipiac Symposium on Harvard’s Mark Tushnet’s prolific work in constitutional history, law, and theory raised some of the most important issues in republican democracy. Included among the more central issues raised were: slavery, the idea of a constitutional order, the relationship between constitutionalism and political progressivism, the best approach toward constitutional interpretation, the continued existence and relevance of Critical Legal Studies, and how Mark’s work concerning “taking the Constitution away from the courts” can be reconciled with his historical treatment of and admiration for Justice Thurgood Marshall, the first African American Justice to serve on the Supreme Court and for whom Mark clerked.
Throughout the fascinating discussion Mark revealed both his command of American history and the refined care he exhibits in articulating his own positions as well as the positions of others. Mark has a wonderfully creative mind, but a mind that approaches creative scholarship by first attending to the meaning and nuances of meaning in an argument. His approach is reminiscent of the very best analytic philosophy. The honor that Tushnet is currently receiving is well deserved and cannot be overstated. Without a doubt Tushnet is one of the finest constitutional theorists of the last century and continues to be so in this one as well.
Professors Linda Meyer and Steve Latham as well as Dean Brad Saxton, and the entire Quinnipiac staff deserve copious praise for assembling a remarkable group of scholars presenting papers on the work of Harvard’s Mark Tushnet.

Quinnipiac University Honors Harvard’s Mark Tushnet

Written by Robert Justin Lipkin on October 1st, 2007

This Saturday, Quinnipiac University School of Law will host a symposium on the work of Mark V. Tushnet, one of the pre-eminent constitutional scholars in the United States. Here’s the notice: “The School of Law will host the sixth Conference on Law and Philosophy: The Work of Mark Tushnet Saturday, Oct. 6, from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the School of Law Center Faculty Commons.Tushnet is the William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Law at Harvard Law School and former law clerk to Justice Thurgood Marshall. Tushnet is a prominent scholar of comparative constitutional law, 20th-century American legal history and constitutional law. He earned both his law degree and master’s degree in history from Yale University and a BA from Harvard University. He is the author of more than 15 books.The following people will present papers at the conference: Anthony V. Baker, associate professor of law, Campbell University School of Law, Jack M. Balkin, Knight Professor of Constitutional Law and the First Amendment, Yale Law School, Mary Dudziak, Judge Edward J. & Ruey L. Guirado Professor of Law, History, and Political Science, University of Southern California Gould School of Law, Vicki Jackson, Carmack Waterhouse Professor of Constitutional Law, Georgetown University Law Center,Penelope Pether, law professor, Villanova University School of Law, Louis Michael Seidman, Carmack Waterhouse Professor of Constitutional Law, Georgetown University Law Center. Tushnet will respond to the papers. To register for the free conference, please contact Georgianna Coleman at georgianna.coleman@quinnipiac.edu.” The symposium chairs are Professors Linda Meyer and Stephen R. Latham.

Professor Tushnet’s sophisticated appreciation of American constitutional history together with his keen analytic mind render his work required reading for any serious scholarly attempt to understand American constitutionalism. His recent work on judicial review has influenced my own work greatly, and I will be attending this symposium on Saturday.

More on Bollinger’s Shameful Treatment of Ahmadinejad

Written by Robert Justin Lipkin on September 28th, 2007

Earlier this week ECA posted a condemnation of Columbia Lee Bollinger’s appalling bushwhacking of Iranian President Amhadinejad. today’s Delawre Online published a letter joining in the condemnation: “Treatment of Iranian president was appalling: I was appalled at the behavior of the Columbia University president and the CNN and MSNBC journalists who reported during the Iranian president’s broadcast. I do not agree with the Iranian President, but who he is and what he says should have no bearing on the civility with which we represent ourselves throughout the world. If we truly believe in free speech and honorable and dignified behavior, we should present ourselves as such. No matter how evil a person is, I want the world to see we don’t lower our own standards to do something as reprehensible. Our manners must be flawless, or we make the target of our disdain a martyr. The Columbia University president attacked the Iranian president in his “welcome” speech. I was embarrassed and angered at such impropriety. The Iranian president did not return the attack. Although I don’t agree with the man, he exhibited dignity and respect for those who extended the invitation, and offered an invitation in return.Nancy Craft, New Castle”. We might benefit from listening to President Bollinger’s remarks once again:

[youtube]tACSopIZVdk[/youtube]

Ahmadinejad may very well be a diminutive version of Hitler. If so, Bollinger was entitled not to invite him to speak, or even to withdraw the invitation upon re-consideration. What morality and the better angels of our nature preclude, however, is President Bollinger insulting his own guest knowing full well that doing so would score huge applause from the faithful. Ambushing one’s guest is antithetical to the academic and civil values for which Columbia is supposed to stand, even when that guest is Satan himself. President Bollinger’s conduct was nothing less than cowardly and shameful.A more cynical view of Bollinger’s motives insists, “Bollinger, meanwhile, was playing to a different audience. After taking a beating for giving Ahmadinejad a forum, he was eager to show the media, alumni, concerned Jewish organizations and a raft of bellicose neoconservative pundits that he was no terrorist-loving appeaser of Holocaust deniers.” I’m loathe to accept such an interpretation of Bollinger’s conduct. But I’m not in a position to refute it. The bottom line, of course, is that it perfectly clear that Bollinger would never have treated Mr. Bush in that fashion had Mr. Bush accepted an invitation to speak at Columbia. Is Mr. Bush less dangerous to free speech and world peace than Mr. Ahmadinejad?

No Homosexuals in Iran? No Courtesy at Columbia University!

Written by Robert Justin Lipkin on September 27th, 2007

One surely must wonder why the Grand Ayatollah Ali Kameni, Iran’s Supreme Leader, sanctions President Ahamdinejad’s successful quest to make Iran a world pariah. Mr. Ahmadinejad’s outlandish remarks suggests that he may simply be divorced from reality. First, he insisted that the Holocaust never happened. Then incredulously he described an experience he had while addressing the United Nations General Assembly. Here are his remarks: “One of our group told me that when I started to say ‘In the name of God the almighty and merciful,’ he saw a light around me, and I was placed inside this aura. I felt it myself. I felt the atmosphere suddenly change, and for those 27 or 28 minutes, the leaders of the world did not blink. And they were rapt. It seemed as if a hand was holding them there and had opened their eyes to receive the message from the Islamic republic.” This is scary. Does he really believe this? Does he expect us to believe it? Now he claims that there are no “homosexuals” in Iran.
[youtube]oiyLtuzCu0g[/youtube]
Of course, don’t forget his arrogance reached the stratosphere when he declared that Israel should be wiped from the face of the earth. Does he actually think the international community would permit this, whatever Israel’s serious shortcomings. Next, he told Scott Pelley on 60 Minutes that, as a Muslim, he cannot lie. That’s unfortunate. Because, if we cannot explain Mr. Ahmadinejad’s remarks as lies, then the only reasonable conclusion is that he is riddled with severe psychological pathology that may bring chaos to the region and to the world. Acquiring nuclear weapons, if that’s his intent, in the hands of Mr. Ahmadinejad is surely intolerable.

But the solution is not to ridicule or shun Mr. Ahmadinejad. We must engage him in dialog courteously, no matter how distorted that dialog will initially be. The raison d’etre of engaging one’s enemy in dialog is that sometimes the very process of conversing converts unreasonable enemies into somewhat less unreasonable ones. At least, that must be the hope. Mr. Bush has squandered seven years of diplomatic possibilities by his inability to appreciate cultural differences or to understand international diplomacy.

President Lee Bollinger, of Columbia University, the Iranian President’s host at a speech on Monday, has added a troubling wrinkle to this affair. It is one thing for a member of the media or blogosphere to castigate, even to insult, the Iranian President. It’s quite another for a host to do so. I’m mystified that no one, of whom I’m aware, has condemned as I do, President Bollinger’s introductory scold replete with personal insults. Bollinger blasted Mr. Ahmadinejad as “a petty and cruel dictator,” “ridiculous,” “astonishingly uneducated” guilty of making “absurd comments,” lacking “intellectual courage,” having a fanatical mindset,” “preposterous,” and revolting? These epithets might all be true, but it was disgraceful for Bollinger to refer to his own guest in such a scurrilous manner. I do not know whether there were negotiations between President Ahmadinejad and President Bollinger prior to the event, creating an informal protocol permitting each to say about the other absolutely anything each man wished. But, if the Iranian President was unaware of the ground rules–including Bollinger’s freedom to insult him–then the Columbia President simply ambushed Mr. Ahmadinejad. If so, Mr. Bollinger exhibited the worst of American belligerence and disrespect for salient values of civil discourse, values that should define our greatness as a republican democracy.

[youtube]tACSopIZVdk[/youtube]

President Bollinger position is right. Iran’s leadership is a danger to freedom and decency everywhere. He could have said so without the barrage of insults. Indeed, Mr. Bollinger’s remarks might have had a better chance of influencing Mr. Ahmadinejad and the Iranian people without gratuitous name-calling. Don’t get me wrong, I have absolutely no admiration for Mr. Ahmadinejad. But I do stick to an old-fashioned rule of courtesy: Don’t insult your own guests. President Bollinger cravenly condemned Mr. Ahmadinejad without cost to himself or to Columbia in the public’s eye. Indeed, Bollinger’s performance thrilled many unreflective Americans. Mr. Bollinger’s remarks were beyond the moral pale. Even though the substance of Mr. Bollinger’s remarks was accurate, the form he chose to express them revealed an opportunistic crassness that is unbecoming to a university president hosting a foreign leader.

How Not to Begin a Quality Law School at the University of California, Irvine

Written by Robert Justin Lipkin on September 14th, 2007

Erwin Chemerinsky, a leading constitutional law teacher, scholar, and litigator was first hired to be the founding Dean of the University of California at Irvine; and then for no apparent reason he was unhired. According to Chemerinsky’s op-ed piece in the LA Times after accepting an offer to be UC Irvine’s founding dean, “the chancellor at the UC Irvine Michael V. Drake, withdrew the offer. He told me that I had proved to be ‘too politically controversial.’ Those, by the way, were the exact words that he said I could use to describe the reason for the decision. He told me that he had not expected the extent of opposition that would develop.” In an attempt to “set the record straight,” the chancellor contends that he “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.” Two features of this explanation are simply unbelievable. First, what reasons exist to show that “Professor Chemerinsky and [Drake] would not be able to partner effectively to build a world-class law school at UC Irvine”? Drake never says. If he is telling the truth, the reasons should be divulged and they should also be plain. Not doing so suggests ulterior motives. Second, how can a chancellor of a prestigious university system not realize this alleged incompatibility before he offered Chemerinsky the position? Any academic familiar dean searches knows the amount of time and effort put into selecting the right person for the job. If Drake’s explanation is true, perhaps, the chancellor’s job is too much for Drake. Absent a complete, candid answer to these questions, Chancellor Drake’s explanation is nothing more than a charade. This is a dreadful beginning for a new law school at the University of California at Irvine. Chancellor Drake has christened the new school in obfuscation and deceit. The University of California and the citizens of California deserve better.