Rightward drift at Harvard Law?

In a recent e-mail I got from a friend who attended Harvard Law in the late 90’s, he asserted that when he attended law school, there was one solitary publicly-declared Republican on the entire faculty. My friend wrote:

Fried was the only professor who was known to be a Republican. Stuntz and Bebchuck were widely believed to be in the closet: Stuntz was the faculty advisor for Christian Fellowship, but he avoided partisan issues to such a degree that I believed the only explanation was a fear of being outed; Bebchuk was known to occasionally attend social Federalist Society functions.

Mary Ann Glendon and the other “conservatives” were either independents or Democrats; Rosenberg’s a borderline anarchist-libertarian who doesn’t vote. Even the faculty advisor for the Federalist Society was a Democrat (Richard Parker, a majoritarian Democrat and an all-around great guy).

My friend’s views echo complaints I’ve heard elsewhere. Nevertheless, the complaint (at least in current form) seems to be dated. A quick glance at the current HLS faculty list shows a surge in relatively recent hires with public Republican connections (job in the administration, Scalia clerkship, or both), including Jack Goldsmith, John Manning, and Adrian Vermeule. (That may not be all, either, given rumors that an offer has been extended to Eugene Volokh.)

Is Harvard Law drifting to the right? Will the day come when Republican faculty at HLS can no longer be counted on one hand, and a second (or even third?) hand is required? And most importantly, what will become of David Horowitz and the rest of the agitprop manufacturers if they are deprived of their favorite whipping boy?

Stay tuned.

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12 Responses

  1. David Bernstein says:

    Horowitz could substitute Stanford, which on the entire faculty has Marcus Cole, and I think that’s it (and I saw he was a finalist for a deanship somewhere), or Yale, which has hired only one known Federalist (Jonathan Macey) in the past 15 years. BTW, I don’t know if he’s a “Republican” but Elhauge is pretty clearly not liberal. Kudos to Harvard for being open-minded in its hiring.

  2. Steve says:

    In all fairness, there are what, 88 full-time faculty at HLS — and maybe 8 republicans? That’s hardly representative or diverse. Funny how diversity means different things to different people.

  3. Kaimi says:

    Steve writes:

    “In all fairness, there are what, 88 full-time faculty at HLS — and maybe 8 republicans? That’s hardly representative or diverse. Funny how diversity means different things to different people.”

    Funny how I didn’t use either of those words (representative or diverse) in my post, did I? You’re the first one here to use either term, and you’re attacking a claim that I haven’t made.

    I make no claim that the overall HLS faculty is or is not politically diverse; I do think that the apparent shift (from one identifiable Republican up to five, over a six year period) may be notable.

  4. Steve says:

    Relax Kaimi, I wasn’t attacking your claim. Just making an observation in general. I agree that the shift maybe notable — but there’s a long way to go before it reaches any form of balance (you didn’t use that word either — I’m just saying…)

  5. Anon Fed Soc Prof says:

    Clearly the Harvard faculty is less unbalanced than it was a few years ago. It is also less unbalanced than Stanford (1 libertarian, zero conservatives), or NYU (which I believe has zero conservatives or libertarians).

  6. humblelawstudent says:

    HLS isn’t losing its “whipping boy” status because conservative/Republican percentage goes from ~1% to 10%.

    Lol, and seriously, it’s hardly a point in your favor that the complaint is “dated” because now there is more than one publicly-declared or identifiable Republican. God forbid that HLS and SLS ever have faculty more diverse than CLS and Marxist schools of thought (sarcasm).

  7. humblelawstudent says:

    Oops, I realized my use of “CLS” was confusing. I meant Critical Legal Studies, not Columbia law school.

  8. WAL says:

    “NYU (which I believe has zero conservatives or libertarians)”

    I won’t deny it’s leftist school–and, as far as overall atmosphere, one of, if not **the**, most liberal of the top ones.

    But we actually do have some right-leaning profs. John Slain, William Allen [kind of closeted, but from what I’ve seen/read of the guy it would surprise me if he’s a liberal], Geoffrey Miller, and maybe Estreicher off the top of my had.

  9. WAL says:

    “off the top of my had.”

    typo, that should be “head”

  10. Adam says:

    Cole isn’t just a dean candidate “somewhere;” he’s up for the job at USC.

  11. I believe that Robert Daines at Stanford is a conservative.

  12. Stuart Buck says:

    I don’t know, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Allen Ferrell happened to be at least moderately conservative. He clerked for Silberman and Kennedy. Silberman had the occasional liberal clerk, but I think most of his clerks leaned conservative.