Widespread controversy arose last week as the University of California at Irvine’s new law school revoked its offer of the Dean position to respected liberal constitutional scholar Erwin Chemerinsky. A law professor at Duke University and formerly of the University of Southern California, Chemerinsky is a leading defender of civil liberties, civil rights, and women’s rights. He is widely viewed as brilliant and has both liberal and conservative supporters.
The rescinding of the job offer was partly motivated by an August 16 op-ed in the Los Angeles Times in which Chemerinsky argued against a plan by Attorney General Alberto Gonzales that would, according to Chemerinsky, make it more difficult for death row inmates to have their cases reviewed in federal court.
Professors and students have rallied to support Chemerinsky and are calling for UC Irvine Chancellor Michael V Drake’s resignation. Some conservatives are opposing this. Chemerinsky has indicated that Drake rescinded the offer for political reasons, saying he was too controversial. Drake denies this assertion, reports the The Washington Post.