The new leftist law school in California

Regarding Thomas Lifson's article on the UCI Law School, I am the analyst who was formerly responsible for reviewing new campus and center proposals for the California Postsecondary Education Commission (CPEC).  I held this position for some 24 years until I retired in 2000.

The University of California has expressed interest in establishing new professional schools for many years, including schools of veterinary medicine and law.  Until now, CPEC has been very successful, usually operating behind the scenes, in its efforts to defeat many of these extremely high cost, and often unnecessary, proposals.

Given the large number of law schools in California, both public and private, and this state's huge surplus of legal talent, the Irvine proposal should have been rejected out of hand.  But one should never underestimate the power of the UC lobby, nor its ability to turn the heads of legislators who see opportunities in being a "friend of the university."  UC does this with everything from honorary degrees to football tickets to specialized awards to campaign contributions (all legal) from prominent alumni, and it has been extraordinarily successful, even in the face of innumerable recommendations for funding reductions offered by the Department of Finance and the Office of the Legislative Analyst.

It is common knowledge that virtually every elite university in the country leans to the left, but it is unprecedented for any major university to propose a professional school that makes no effort to deny that it will be graduating high-level leftist political operatives.  Such a proposal reduces to travesty the time-honored concepts of academic neutrality and detachment, and denies to this proposed law school even a semblance of intellectual honesty, responsibility, or prestige.

This is a situation where Governor Schwarzenegger should step in and make it clear that the UCI law school proposal is hopelessly flawed and should not be approved.  Creating this law school is tantamount to establishing a leftist think tank, not a professional school.  Think tanks of both liberal and conserative persuasions are needed and plentiful, but they are all privately funded.  That the University is willing to accept the idea of a "public interest law school," so obviously a euphemism for the political corruption of a legal system that should be blind and impartial, may show the full extent of how a great university can become politicized, and therefore compromised.

I heartily commend my former agency, Executive Director Haberman and the members of the Commission, for having the courage to recommend against this proposal.  Hopefully, those in positions of power will agree with CPEC's intelligent and independent assessment of the realities of graduate education.

Best regards,
William L. Storey
Chief Associate (retired)
California Postsecondary Education Commmission
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