A lengthy piece in the salmon-colored New York Observer suggests that Harvard Law School is dabbling in diversity-real diversity (i.e., they’re hiring some conservatives for the faculty).

Not having been to law school, I have a hard time evaluating the alleged changes (maybe The Other Charlotte, who is a law school grad, will care to comment?), but the piece-headlined “Harvard Law on a Heterodox Spree, Listing to the Right”-is quite fascinating. It seems that Elena Kagan, the 45-year-old dean of Harvard Law, is not a conservative but is willing to hire them.

“Once you start hiring a lot of people, you can no longer allow any group or faction to put in a political veto, and you’ve just got to hire the best people,” Professor Charles Fried, the law school’s most outspoken conservative, is quoted saying. “That’s what happened …. People aren’t stupid: All she said was that we have to do some hiring. That means we’ve got to stop blocking …. She did not mention politics; she’s too smart.”
“It’s news that we’re normal,” Mr. Fried also said. “It’s the opposite of strange. What was happening before is strange.”
A snipet from the piece captures the strange before:

“For a seemingly interminable stretch from the 1970’s to the 1990’s, Harvard Law was emblematic of academic ideological warfare, its infighting aired like dirty laundry in Eleanor Kerlow’s 1994 book, Poisoned Ivy, its campus derided in a 1993 article in GQ as ‘Beirut on the Charles.’

“Members of Harvard’s Critical Legal Studies school attacked the traditionalists, arguing that their approach perpetuated a ruling class in America. The traditionalists struck back, led by Ms. Kagan’s predecessor, Robert Clark. In 1985, at a debate before alumni in New York, Mr. Clark charged that the C.L.S. adherents were engaging in ‘a ritual slaying of the elders.’ (Every alumnus in the country reportedly received a transcript of his talk, courtesy of the Federalist Society.)”

According to the Observer, of new hires include several prominent liberals, along with, such conservatives as John Manning, an advocate for a strict reading of the Constitution, and Jack Goldsmith, a critic of the International Criminal Court. Both have worked in Republican administrations.

Other hires are difficult to classify:

“In addition to Messrs. Manning and Goldsmith, joining next year is Adrian Vermeule, a constitutional, statutory-interpretation and administrative-law specialist who takes a social-science approach, reading empirical research and looking for counterintuitive solutions. Mr. Vermeule is currently at the University of Chicago, where he has won various teaching awards. He has written about constitutional issues in the context of national security, arguing that restricting some liberties isn’t at odds with the freedoms Americans enjoy, that people overreact in what he calls “libertarian panics.” He has also argued for the death penalty on “pro-life grounds,” citing studies that show it deters would-be killers. Yet he has also criticized some of what others see as the court’s conservative activism.
“To be sure, new appointments have gone to scholars with approaches and fields of study all over the map, and about half of the 20 recent offers have been to people on the liberal-to-left spectrum. Like Mr. Vermeule, the rest are hard to classify. “

Thanks to Powerline for noticing this story.