Conservatives Dig The New Harvard Law School Dean

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Kevin Daley Supreme Court correspondent
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Harvard Law School named professor John Manning as its new dean Tuesday, soliciting praise from conservative and libertarian legal scholars.

Manning, who clerked for Justice Antonin Scalia and Judge Robert Bork, joined Harvard Law’s faculty in 2004. He teaches public law and statutory interpretation.

“This is a fantastic choice,” said professor Jonathan Adler, architect of several legal challenges to the Affordable Care Act. “Professor Manning is a superlative scholar and extraordinarily decent man. Congratulations to all.”

Professor Robert George, a prominent philosopher, jurist and conservative intellectual at Princeton endorsed the move.

Ed Whelan, a Scalia clerk and legal commentator who leads the conservative Ethics and Public Policy Center, called the development “excellent news.”

Some were not enthused by the appointment.

Among Manning’s predecessors as dean is Justice Elena Kagan, who was effusive in her praise of her longtime colleague and friend.

“[Manning] embodies a blend of scholarly accomplishment, devotion to teaching, engagement with practice, and passion for the law that represents the best of our profession,” Kagan said. “And he’s a terrific human being, always intent on what he can do to help others do their best work.”

Manning will assume the deanship this summer. He succeeds Dean Martha Minnow, who has led the law school since 2009.

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