Friday, March 6, 2009

Of Chapman Law School, John Yoo, Richard Falk, and Tom Campbell

The university is a cathedral of learning, open to the free exchange of ideas, the dissemination of knowledge, and the search for truth. A diversity of viewpoints, a cacophony of voices, tolerance of dissent, the intellectual and ideological diversity, is the essence of the university. At least that is the theory.

In recent decades the Academy has become overwhelmingly liberal, just as it was conservative decades earlier. Instances have arisen in recent years of students and faculty being discriminated against for their conservative views in specific programs and at specific schools. Academic intolerance of conservatives in unfortunately all too common today.

Many law schools have no registered Republicans on their faculty. In other schools conservatives are a small minority, or stay in the academic closet, such as in Hollywood.

Chapman University is proud of its academic diversity. The Faculty represents the broad span of political views from left to right. This diversity is reflected in our visiting faculty.

Dean John Eastman, a noted legal conservative, has the authority, as is common in the academy, to hire visiting professors on his own initiative. Dean Eastman seeks out a combination of academic excellence and intellectual diversity.

Chapman University School of Law has received publicity recently in the Los Angeles Times and the Huffington Post for one of our visiting professors, Professor John Yoo of Boalt Hall (Berkeley). The Bronx Cheers have been loud and the praise low. We have even been picketed.

Professor Yoo, while on leave as the Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Office of Legal Counsel in the Justice Department, co-authored a series of memos after 9/11, one of which is referred to by critics as the “Torture Memo.”

Just a few years ago, members of the political left were salivating at the prospect that Karl Rove or Vice President Dick Chaney might be indicted for disclosing Valerie Plame’s identity as a CIA employee eventhough a cursory glance at the governing statute would show no violation occurred. Similarly today, many are obsessed with Professor Yoo either being indicted and convicted or disbarred for the memos.

Interestingly, they do not exhibit similar enthusiasm in seeking whatever Justice Department memos, if any, authorized Ruby Ridge and Waco. The justification for the attack against innocent children or the shooting in the back of a fleeing unarmed woman in a law enforcement action in the United States escapes me. Even the Justice Department concluded that the rules of engagement were violated at Ruby Ridge. Large settlements were paid to the survivors.

Professor Yoo is currently occupying the faculty office across from mine. This same office was Professor Richard Falk’s last semester. Professor Falk is a distinguished legal scholar. He is the Albert G. Milbank Professor Emeritus of International Law at Princeton.

He has been an advocate of peace for over three decades. He is highly critical of Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians, using the word “genocide.” The United Nations Human Rights Council appointed him last March as the Special Rapporteur on Occupied Palestine to the dismay of Israel. Israel denied him entry into Israel and the Palestinian Territories in May and December 2008. He is highly critical of the United States’ wars in Vietnam and Iraq. He has questioned the official story of 9/11

Professor Falk is one of the professors profiled in David Horowitz’s book, The 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America. I asked Richard to autograph my copy, which he did with great √©lan.

We received no adverse publicity or picketing by having this distinguished leftist scholar and his wife on our faculty last semester.

Professor Tom Campbell is also a distinguished visitor this year. He formerly served as a law professor at Stanford and from 2002-2008 as Dean of the Haas School of Business at Berkeley. Before that Professor Campbell was a moderate Republican Congressman representing Silicon Valley. Moderate Republicans are an endangered species in California. The LA Times quoted Professor Campbell as supporting the recent tax increases in the California budget deal. He will probably not receive many votes in the Republican primary next year if he runs for Governor, but if he survives the primary, would have a fair chance for victory.

I am enriched by Professors Yoo’s and Campbell’s presence today as I was with Professor Falk last semester. Our students and faculty, as well as Chapman and the Academy are equally enriched by their presence. All are wonderful colleagues.

That is the essence of the Academy.

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