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Brian Leiter Tag

Brian Leiter's Law School Reports website, run by U. Chicago law professor Brian Leiter, isn't a high traffic site, but it does have a following among people interested in the law professor profession. So it is not surprising that some Legal Insurrection readers also read Leiter's website. Several of those readers contacted me today about a guest column by USC Professor of Law and Accounting Michael Simkovic about me and other conservative law professors. I don't know who Simkovic is and never heard of him before.

By now, most of you have heard of Steven Salaita, whose unhinged (that's a charitable description) tweets apparently caused the University of Illinois Board of Trustees not to approve his contingent offer of tenured employment. Shortly after UI at Urbana-Champaign Chancellor Phyllis Wise indicated that she would not forward the contingent offer to the Board (though she later did so), I noted the irony of protests that Salaita's academic freedom was being infringed, Steven Salaita controversy points to the hypocrisy of anti-Israel academic boycotters:
I have argued strenuously against the academic boycott of Israel, led by people like Steven Salaita, on a number of grounds. Not the least of those grounds is that academics who insist on violating the academic freedom of Israelis and those who wish to interact with Israelis do damage to the system in its entirety.... There is a related point to how academic boycotts have a negative ripple effect. On what ground do the academic boycotters of Israel claim their own academic freedom if they are so quick to deny it to others?

We previously wrote about the uprising in the philosophy academic world against Brian Leiter, the pugnacious pejorative-prone University of Chicago law professor:  Brian Leiter, supporter of Steven Salaita, embroiled in his own civility controversy. Leiter's claim to fame was a publication of philosophy department rankings, The Philosophical Gourmet. http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/ideas/articles/2008/04/20/the_philosopher_kingmaker/?page=full Leiter has a long history of conflict with other philosophers regarding that ranking publication, but the conflict was elevated to new heights recently after publication of emails Leiter sent. Leiter said it was a cyber-smear campaign by people who took things out of context. Some of Leiter's detractors set up an interactive timeline of the recent controversy, and have cataloged the accusations and responses.

Brian Leiter is the pugnacious U. Chicago philosophy and law professor, whose claim to fame is his blog ranking of philosophy departments, and to a much lesser extent, law schools.  We touched on Leiter before with regard to his attacks on Prof. Glenn Reynolds and other "right-wing" law professor bloggers with whom Leiter politically disagrees. An interesting side-light is that Leiter has been one of the most vocal supporters of Steven Salaita, the anti-Israel professor whose anti-Israel, and arguably anti-Semitic, tweets caused the University of Illinois Board of Trustees to deny him a tenured position. Among other things, Leiter wrote a blog post at Huffington Post that got a lot of attention because Leiter declared that UI-UC had repealed the First Amendment.   There are important issues that a court may have to sort out, but to proclaim the university's concerns a repeal of the First Amendment is pure hyperbole. In a further post at his own blog, Leiter opined that Salaita had a strong "promissory estoppel" claim, because some unnamed professors told him so at lunch. I guess the legal argument in court would go something like this: Your Honor, you must ignore the contingent provision in the offer requiring Board approval because that's what some people told Brian Leiter at lunch. Leiter announced on his blog that he was boycotting UI-UC:

Brian Leiter of the University of Chicago Law School regularly attacks other law professor bloggers in particularly nasty terms.  I didn't even know who Leiter was when an academic warned me that one day Leiter would target me, and that prediction came true. Leiter has an obsession with "crazed right-wing...

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