I'm glad to see that after posting and linking the New York Sun op-ed that accused Columbia University's president of hiring a law school professor to reward her for her part in the Grutter/Gratz v. Bollinger cases, some blogging professors are also pointing out Dean Schizer's response, and I appreciate Prof. Heriot's publicizing Avery Katz's peek into the deliberations over the complaint against Ms. Johnson. Still, if there's one area in which law school profs ought to bring a little critical expertise to bear, it is the hiring of their fellow faculty members. The main point that Schizer raises -- a university president's lack of involvement in law school hiring -- was obvious to a law student and should have been equally so to professors.
UPDATE: Curt Levey, author of the original NY Sun piece, attempts to defend it, and Prof. Bainbridge amends his post with the full comments from Prof. Katz. 3L Anthony Rickey rounds it up and agrees that the central claim of even the appearance of a conflict of interest is silly, but voices concern that conservative students may steer away from Prof. Johson due to her history of partisanship. I frankly find this unlikely; even if one is inclined to assume bad faith on the professor's part, blind grading and other protections make it difficult to wreak liberal vengeance on the minority of conservative students who are willing to enliven classroom discussion.