A liveblog of what should be a most interesting debate on Prop 8 and gay marriage — taking place at the 2010 National Lawyers Convention of the Federalist Society, and pitting Professor William Eskridge against Professor Richard Epstein — after the jump.
- Constitutional Law, Federalist Society, Gay, Gay Marriage, Law Professors, Richard Epstein, Weddings, William Eskridge
Eskridge v. UVA Law: Prominent Professor Testifies That He Was Denied Tenure Because of His Sexual OrientationBy David Lat
The University of Virginia Law School, and legal academia more generally, have been rocked recently by a controversy involving a leading law professor and claims of anti-gay animus.
William N. Eskridge Jr. — currently the John A. Garver Professor of Jurisprudence at Yale Law School, where we had great good fortune of having him as a professor — testified last month before Congress in support of the pending Employment Non-Discrimination Act of 2009 (ENDA). ENDA would prohibit sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination in the workplace. In explaining the need for ENDA, Professor Eskridge made reference to his own career, testifying that “I was denied tenure at the University of Virginia School of Law in 1985 based in part on my sexual orientation.” You can, and should, read his complete testimony here (opens as a Word document).
The controversy has, of course, reverberated throughout the blogosphere. See, e.g., the UVA Law Blog (including 40+ comments, many of them quite insightful); Brian Leiter’s Law School Reports (here and here); and The Faculty Lounge. The UVA Law Blog also reprints a Virginia Law Weekly article from January 1986 about the Eskridge tenure denial (which was strongly opposed by students; if you’ve been lucky enough to have Bill Eskridge as a teacher, this should not be a surprise).
We reached out to both Professor Eskridge and UVA Law School. We received written statements from Professor Eskridge and from Dean Paul G. Mahoney.
Their statements, plus a comprehensive collection of links, appear below.
- ACLU, Anal Sex / Butt Sex, Federalist Society, Gay, Gay Marriage, Lunacy, Rudeness, Vicious Infighting, William Eskridge
Apperances can be deceiving. The smiling woman above looks like a sweet old lady (or perhaps she’s middle-aged).
But don’t be fooled. This pleasant-looking woman opened a can of whoop-ass at the final panel discussion of the Federalist Society National Lawyers Convention. She rained hellfire and brimstone upon the audience, and placed at least two of the panelists on an express train to Hell.
As we mentioned earlier, that last panel “discussion” was insane. It was a no-holds-barred fight between the Federalist Society’s two major constituencies: the social conservatives and the libertarians. It was a smart move to save this intra-societal slugfest until the end of the weekend.
The nominal title of the panel: “The Role of Government in Defining Our Culture.” A more appropriate title for the panel: “Watch Libertarians and Social Conservatives Rant at Each Other About Gay Marriage.”
Moderator cum lion tamer: Hon. Edwin Meese III, former Attorney General
For the libertarians: Dr. Charles Murray, AEI; Mr. Anthony Romero, ACLU
For the social conservatives: Mrs. Phyllis Schlafly, Eagle Forum; Professor Hadley Arkes, Amherst College
Kinda in between: Professor William Eskridge, Yale Law School
Kinda irrelevant: Hon. Walter Dellinger, currently of O’Melveny & Myers and Duke Law School (and former acting Solicitor General)
A blow-by-blow account of this intellectual battle royal, after the jump.
Last week we wrote about rumors of several high-profile professors possibly leaving Yale Law School (or “THE Yale Law School,” as YLS deans like to say). We now hear that the names we mentioned — James Whitman, Alec Stone Sweet, Kenji Yoshino, Reva Siegel and Robert Post — aren’t the only ones thinking of departing.
Here’s a tip from a source in the know:
A move at least as likely as those [previously] mentioned would be Bill Eskridge’s departure for one of the New York schools.
This seems plausible to us. Professor Eskridge enjoys New York City and has visited at both Columbia and NYU.
We took Legislation with Professor Eskridge, and he was one of the most exciting, energetic, and talented teachers we’ve ever had. If he were to leave Yale, it would be a sad day for the student body. As our tipster puts it, “Considering how few decent teachers there are at Yale, it would be a significant loss.”
Dean Koh: If there’s any truth to this rumor — again, right now it’s just a rumor — please try to get Professor Eskridge to stay. Perhaps you’ll have to throw some more money at him. But he’s worth every penny!
(As we mentioned earlier today, we’ve been a little out of the loop. So if this rumor has already surfaced elsewhere in the blogosphere, please provide the link in the comments — and accept our apologies for the repetition.)
William N. Eskridge faculty bio [Yale Law School]
Earlier: Musical Chairs: What, the Pizza’s Not Good Enough to Make Them Stay?