Friday, May 7, 2010

Law Professors Attack Kagan and White House on Racial Diversity

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Courting Kennedy


Are Harvard Law School Hiring Statistics Relevant to Elena Kagan's Nomination?

Four law professors have attacked Elena Kagan's record on diversity. While she was the Dean of Harvard Law School, only 3% of the professors the school hired were persons of color. This is a pretty abysmal record.

The four law professors are Guy-Uriel Charles, Duke Law School; Anupam Chander, University of California-Davis Davis School of Law; Luis Fuentes-Rohwer, Indiana University's School of Law; and Angela Onwuachi-Willig, University of Iowa College of Law. After sending a letter expressing their concerns regarding Kagan to the White House, the Obama administration responded indirectly by circulating a set of talking points that seek to defend Kagan's record. The talking points are fairly weak, as the professors explain in an article posted on Salon.com.

The White House does not dispute the low number of women and persons of color hired to tenure-track positions at Harvard during Kagan's deanship. Instead, the White House says the school hired persons of color and women as visitors and that the school could have extended offers that candidates declined. Visitorships, however, do not reflect a commitment to faculty diversity. Instead, they are typically temporary positions used to fill curricular needs while full-time faculty members are on-leave for various reasons. Also, the White House does not provide data regarding the number of persons of color and women to whom Harvard Law School extended offers (rather than hired) while Kagan was dean, and it seems odd that a large number of women and people of color would turn down offers to teach at Harvard.

Edit: The article was edited to reflect that only 3% of the hires were persons of color/non-white.

View the full essay on Salon.com: The White House's Kagan talking points are wrong.

Update: New post on Kagan -- Kagan and Same-Sex Marriage: Unclear, Like Most Issues

See also: What Are Kagan's Views on Constitutional Law?

6 comments:

Steve M said...

Viewing every question through a racial and gender prism is getting very tiresome. The only deversity that is at all meaningful is deversity in opinion. In that regard it seems that Kagen was exceptionally tolorent of diverse opinons. Well, exceptional for a collage law school professor anyway:-)

Darren Lenard Hutchinson said...

If you view "every question" through race and gender, then you deserve to be tired. But employment statistics are important places to examine race and sex -- in fact, the laws in every state and the federal government do so!

Decidere said...

We were told during the campaign that Obama could stand up for women's rights as well as Hillary, and then we get a gun-downed abortion doctor, a closed clinic, the abandonment of abortion rights upholder Dawn Johnsen, an Executive Order codifying no federal funding for abortions for a "health care reform" package excluding abortion, a SCOTUS process where supporting abortion rights is now "too extreme" and now a Supreme Court nominee with no concern about any social issues such as minority representation or abortion rights.

"Viewing every question through a racial and gender prism is getting very tiresome. The only deversity that is at all meaningful is deversity in opinion." Ha ha ha - but there is no diversity in that opinion. Having diversity means you're "too extreme", something no-drama Obama never wants to experience. So he's abandoning any attempt to improve minority and female status in order to converge on an accepted Washington media & political accepted "centrist" (read: conservative-leaning) view.

ZachWayne said...

Your facts are wrong. The Salon article points out that Kagan hired seven women and 25 men: that's roughly 22 percent women. I'm not defending her record with respect to racial or gender diversity, but only correcting the record.

Darren Lenard Hutchinson said...

ZW: Thanks. I edited the article to reflect that the 3% number refers to racial diversity. Still -- abysmal.

smith said...

When I was at BPP studying my famous law professors the, vast, majority of my class at Holborn had TCs. I can't speak for Waterloo though, didn't know anyone over there but did here that the situation was almost the opposite. Really strange.

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