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April 06, 2011


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Jonathan H. Adler

I'm not sure I would an anonymous student put up by a handful of students or recent alums with no visible signs of visible support at the school constitutes "turbulence."

Calvin Massey

Brad Smith's political views have no relevance to his ability to be a Dean.


Michael D. Mortenson

Seems like a good candidate. I'd hate to see Case waste another opportunity to hire a great candidate, just because a vocal minority oppose him (a la Dean Chodosh). One need only look at the upward trend in Utah's ranking since hiring Hiram, and Case's downward trend since letting him go as proof of the wiseness of that decision.

Case needs stability. I know my giving dollars will directly relate to their ability to choose a Dean who will stablize and improve the school.


Jason Mazzone

What seems particularly short-sighted about all of this is that Mr. Smith's ties to the "questionable groups" might actually enable him to raise a good deal of money for the law school.


Dan, it's interesting how you posted this without any editorial commentary beyond reducing it to a joke. I imagine if Brad Smith's views were not "conservative" and he was being attacked for them, you wouldn't be so quick to dismiss this out of hand.

Calvin hit the nail on the head. Are Brad Smith's political views relevant to his ability to be Dean? No more so than if he held progressive views. When this happened in the UC system we saw the legal academy rally to Dean Chemerinsky's defense (rightly). Shouldn't we do the same for Smith before he's deprived a fair chance? I'm hopeful we will see some outrage about this viewpoint discrimination, but we're off to a bad start. Rather than a defense against an internet based whisper campaign you've linked to this smear site, drawing attention to it, without noting the impact such an anonymous attack might have on the professor who is the subject of the attacks. And they are attacks, calling someone a "radical" and an "extremist" for views that have been supported by majorities in Congress and the Supreme Court seems to fit the bill for a smear, but that's just my view.

So let's look at what you've drawn our attention to: A website that has misappropriated the Case Western logo, that by its terms was set up to sink a law professor's chances at a job before he is even publicly announced as being under consideration (interesting). The website claims to be run by students and alumni, but we have no way of knowing that and no names are provided. Despite this, you've dutifully drawn everyone's attention to the site without even a passing critique. That's fine, it's your blog, but some of your readers are paying attention to how you handle these issues and it's starting to call into question your credibility. If you were up for a Deanship would you want things to play out this way for you? One can walk away from this with the impression that opponents of a dean (or even faculty candidates) can in the future just set up an anonymous webpage with a Google account, send the link to you, and rest assured that you'll pass it questions asked. That doesn't seem like a good direction to take The Faculty Lounge.

Eric Muller

What is it with Case Western deanships?

Case student

@ R. Matthews: Smith was announced to students and faculty almost a month ago.


Nice of conservative Prof. Adler to make unfounded guesses at who is behind the group. He has no clue. And he is not as in touch with the student body as he might believe.

Case proud

Smith was announced to campus but not to public, and this anonymous web site was set up before he visited Case. I don't see any real controversy - just two or three people with a website.

David Bernstein

"Nice of conservative Prof. Adler to make unfounded guesses at who is behind the group. He has no clue."

We would all know for sure if the cowards weren't hiding behind anonymity while trying to besmirch someone's reputation. (Or maybe it's not cowardice, but just one or two people who want to pretend they are a "movement.")

Jonathan H. Adler

Political ideology has no place in evaluating a potential Dean candidate. Students may or may not understand this. Thankfully, my colleagues on the faculty do.

It's also ironic that those attacking Prof. Smith do so anonymously. Few legal academics have done more to defend the right of anonymous speech.


Case Student

@ R. Matthews: If Smith describes himself as a "radical" and "extreme," are they still smears? Look at Smith's FEC confirmation hearings; he repeatedly used those terms to describe his views.

Case Proud

This is interesting, because, having learned to use Lexis in law school, I went back and looked at Smith's prepared testimony and oral testimony at his confirmation hearing in 2000. He never once uses the term "radical," and he never calls his own views "extreme" or "extremist." To the contrary, the only time he uses any variation of that word to say that neither side of the campaign finance debate should be labeled "extremist." Case Student - if he is tha - is just being dishonest here.

Case Student

@ Case Proud. Never assume malice where simple mistake is possible. I misspoke when I said that Brad Smith said he was a radical at his confirmation hearings. He actually said it in an interview with the American Spectator about his confirmation hearing. The exact quote is that "My first thought was they’ve got to be looking at me to put my name on the list so that whoever they really want will look less radical."

He also says that his ideas are a "radical old approach" to campaign finance on page 12 of his book, Unfree Speech: The Folly of Campaign Finance Reform.

Case proud

In other words, you lied, you got caught, and now you offer other quotes in which Smith is not saying he is radical but only That people like you say like to throw that charge around. Par for the course on this anonymous smear campaign

Case proud

"Never assume malice"??? On what basis wouldn't someone assume malice given the nature of these attacks


Forget Smith's politics. Few things matter more to deans than having a good temperament, and my admittedly limited exposure to Smith makes me doubt he has a good decanal temperament. You don't want the kind of person who rises to the bait in a blog flame war and starts asserting how smart he is to be in the dean's chair. When he fails as a dean it won't be because he's conservative; it will be because he will prove unable to work effectively with others.

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