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?