Anybody wondering what Dean Erwin Chemerinsky has planned for the his tenure Irvine other than establishing his law school as a haven of public interest law domination?
Looks like he's taking on the police department on behalf of the homeless community of Orange County. He and some lawyers at Irell & Manella are suing the city of Laguna Beach over its treatment of its street population.
Manhattan Institute fellow (whatever that is) Heather Mac Donald, for an editorial written for the Wall Street Journal, went to Laguna Beach to investigate Chemerinsky's claims that the police are antagonizing the homeless. She found Chemerinsky's claims that police, among other things, forced a homeless woman to put out her cigarette and then cited her for littering, and the resulting legal action to be "shrill." In several interviews with homeless individuals, Mac Donald paints Irvine as a sort of Santa Cruz of the south, where the homeless receive courtesies from police and suffer through resentment and fight-picking from other homeless. She also paints Chemerinsky as a bleeding heart who is gunning to overwhelm Irvine with a long series of newly-minted JD proteges in the coming years.
"[T]he lawsuit augurs poorly for Orange County's future. The U.C. Irvine law school has already signed up a Who's Who of left-wing advocacy groups such as the Western Center on Law and Poverty, California Women's Center, and the Public Law Center to work with and recruit its students. Expect a steady stream of similar litigation against cash-strapped local police departments, welfare offices and private employers to roll forth from the tax-subsidized school."
She's also not a fan of his politicking, accusing him of misrepresenting himself as a champion of public interest.
"Mr. Chemerinsky did not respond to a request for an interview, but perhaps he could create an on-site shelter and treatment program and have his students try to persuade Orange County's homeless to use it. Until they do, any argument that they are vindicating the 'public interest' rings hollow."
Chemerinsky shot back with a letter to the Journal following the publication of the opinion piece. Beyond establishing that UC Irvine or its future graduates have no place in this debate (he is one of several co-counsels in the suit which is not linked to the school in any way other than through his association), he's also challenged Mac Donald to a bit of a con law throwdown.
"I am glad to debate Heather MacDonald any time, any place on the constitutionality of ordinances that make being homeless a crime."