If we knew anything about sports, we’d say this is the legal academic equivalent of Major Player X leaving Super-Elite Team Y for Super-Elite Team Z. But we don’t. So we’ll just say it’s one of the biggest law school hiring coups since Harvard Law School snatched half of Feldsuk from NYU.
HLS strikes again — but this time around, the victim of their poaching is U. Chicago (where we’ll be making an appearance later this week, by the way). From the Harvard Law School website:
Renowned legal scholar and political theorist Cass R. Sunstein ’78 has accepted an offer to join the Harvard Law School faculty, Dean Elena Kagan ’86 announced today. Sunstein, currently a tenured professor at the University of Chicago Law School, will begin teaching at HLS in the fall. He will also become director of the new Program on Risk Regulation.
“Cass Sunstein is the preeminent legal scholar of our time — the most wide-ranging, the most prolific, the most cited, and the most influential,” said Kagan. “His work in any one of the fields he pursues — administrative law and policy, constitutional law and theory, behavioral economics and law, environmental law, to name a non-exhaustive few — would put him in the very front ranks of legal scholars; the combination is singular and breathtaking….”
Some tipsters’ takes:
“I imagine a lot of Chicago alums will be annoyed at the least.”
“Yet another high-profile move to HLS. Dean Kagan has done an amazing job these past few years getting big names out to Cambridge. (I’m just annoyed because I decided to take Admin Law this semester.)”
“[W]e just learned that although Martha Nussbaum turned down Harvard and Brown last week, Cass Sunstein ACCEPTED his Harvard Law offer! I’m torn – HUGE get in Sunstein, proving Elena Kagan is unstoppable, but is this trouble for the power couple?”
In December, we attended Professor Sunstein’s 2007 Distinguished Lecture at AEI in Washington, DC (where we’re currently based). We were mighty impressed by the good professor, who wasn’t just brilliant and articulate, but also funny and self-effacing. Congrats to HLS and Dean Kagan on this latest addition to the Cambridge constellation of legal geniuses!
Update: Additional analysis of the Sunstein move from Professor Brian Leiter appears here. It seems that all is well in Sunstein-Nussbaum land. Per Professor Leiter:
[A]s Cass told me, he will be keeping his Chicago apartment and an office at the University of Chicago Law School, and he will also continue teaching part-time at Chicago as the Harry Kalven Visiting Professor of Law (probably in the winter quarters).
Further Update / Correction: Uh, scratch that. As you may have surmised from some of the comments, Professors Nussbaum and Sunstein are no longer an item. Professor Sunstein has a new honey, Professor Samantha Power, of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. He’s moving to Harvard in part because of this new romance. More details here.
Sunstein, Harvard, Chicago [Leiter's Law School Reports]
Nussbaum Declines Harvard, Brown Offers, and Will Remain at Chicago [Leiter's Law School Reports]
Sunstein to join Harvard Law School faculty [Harvard Law School]
Cass Sunstein bio [University of Chicago Law School]
2007 Distinguished Lecture: Extremism [American Enterprise Institute]