We applauded when UC Irvine, after an initial misstep, named Erwin Chemerinsky as the dean of its new law school. Now, he is working to build the staff and faculty for that institution, and our early enthusiasm is giving way to full-throated jubilation. His work in progress already promises to be a welcome addition to the intellectual and cultural life of this region.
Chemerinsky is sometimes categorized under the simplistic shorthand of "liberal constitutional scholar," but that does not do justice to this Los Angeles treasure. He is a writer and teacher, one of the principal architects of the Los Angeles City Charter and a warm and welcoming civic leader. Yes, he's a liberal, but law school deans can and should come in all ideologies -- Kenneth Starr has won justified accolades for his stewardship at Pepperdine Law School, and his conservatism is at least as pronounced as Chemerinsky's liberalism. It is those who lack conviction who give us pause, not those whose convictions we do not share.