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Sunday, May 03, 2009

OMG! Like, before he was 30, Obama was a law review editor! ZOMG-OMG!!1!

From the New York Times:

Many American presidents have been lawyers, but almost none have come to office with Barack Obama’s knowledge of the Supreme Court. Before he was 30, he was editing articles by eminent legal scholars on the court’s decisions.

I'm sure the ghost of William Howard Taft, who'd been a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit before he became POTUS, and who later (between 1921-1930) became the Chief Justice of the United States, is duly impressed that for one year in the early 1990s, Barack Obama edited law review articles about Supreme Court decisions. I'm sure the ghosts of Richard M. Nixon (No. 3 in his class at Duke Law and a name partner in a major New York law firm) and Gerald Ford (top quarter of his class as a scholarship student at Yale Law) — or for that matter, Bill Clinton (Yale Law grad, former regular faculty member at the University of Arkansas Law School) — are all just overwhelmed by the thought that a part-time non-tenure track lecturer who taught seminar classes in the basement at Chicago Law School, and who allowed his own law license to become inactive in 2002 (but who nevertheless continued to permit his part-time law firm to hold him out to the public as "of counsel" until 2004), is now going to pick the next member of the SCOTUS.

Almost every law review editor edits "articles by eminent legal scholars on the [Supreme C]ourt's decisions." Law reviews publish more stuff about SCOTUS decisions than about everything else put together. Obama, having interrupted his education for several years between college and law school, was unusually old to be a law student and, thus, unusually old to be a law review editor. By comparison, I was editing manuscripts by eminent legal scholars on the Supreme Court's decisions when I was 21, which made me a bit younger than the average law review editor. Big deal.

Besotted nitwits. In next Sunday's edition of the NYT: "Obama learned to tie his own shoes (with hardly any knots!) before he was eleven!" Surely he is The One!

Posted by Beldar at 05:23 AM in Law (2009), Mainstream Media, Obama | Permalink


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(1) Mike Myers made the following comment | May 3, 2009 12:54:51 PM | Permalink

Well Obama may--or then again may not---have been "editing articles by eminent legal scholars on the Supreme Court's decisions" before he was was 30. We do know that he sure as heck wasn't writing articles on the Supreme Court's decisions before he was 30. There is some question as to what Obama actually did while President of the Harvard Law Review--or if he did anything at all, since he preferred "to work from home".

One of the great mysteries of Barack Obama's ascension to the Presidency of the Harvard Law Review is what, if anything, he produced by way of scholarly work as a junior member of the Review. There has been a suggestion that Obama wrote or may have written an unsigned case note on an Illinois Supreme Court decision which did get published in the Harvard Law Review. But as a former toiler in the law review trenches myself (at Boalt Hall in the late 60's) I can tell you that an unsigned case note is pretty small beer for a guy who plans to get selected/elected as Editor in Chief in his third year in law school.

Color me not impressed. There is a very attractive blonde news analyst on Fox, Megyn Kelly(?) who was the Editor in Chief of the Albany Law Review. She too, in the breathless words of the New York Times, was no doubt "editing articles by eminent legal scholars on Supreme Court decisions"--and probably well before the age of 25. I doubt that the breathless reporter at the NYT would be as impressed by Ms. Kelly's resume.

(2) Art Deco made the following comment | May 3, 2009 5:51:05 PM | Permalink

During last year's campaign, I had a discussion in a forum very much like this with a partisan Democrat who offered, in all seriousness, that Mr. Obama had adequate administrative experience from having run voter registration drives. IIRC, one of the hooks for the discussion (and certainly there were many such) was Gov. Palin's supposed deficit of preparation for the august position of Vice President. The mindset of the opposition perplexes me at times, thought it might be that the specific persons offering the latter sort of complaints were not those offering the former sort of apologias.

(3) pa made the following comment | May 3, 2009 6:24:02 PM | Permalink

And I edit medical journal articles written by top doctors at Harvard, Yale, Mayo Clinic, UCLA, Emory, et al.

Does that make me a doctor, or qualified to judge medical decision-making at all?

(4) DRJ made the following comment | May 3, 2009 8:34:51 PM | Permalink

According to a 2004 book America's Lawyer-Presidents, 25 of America's 43 Presidents have been lawyers. (Now it is 26 of 44.) Many of these lawyer-Presidents had high-profile legal careers and 8 of them practiced before the Supreme Court. By comparison, Obama's experience seems rather shallow.

(5) Beldar made the following comment | May 3, 2009 8:47:21 PM | Permalink

Excellent stats, DRJ! Thanks!

(6) Gregory Koster made the following comment | May 3, 2009 9:54:50 PM | Permalink

Dear Mr. Dyer: Don't open your mail. William Howard Taft, scowling ferociously, is petitoning the Texas Bar to have your birth certificate revoked. He wasn't impressive at the job, but Taft was



Or maybe not. Taft was far happier as Chief Justice than Prez.

A small point, I admit.

The notion that The One is a mastermind concerning the Court is good for a laugh. No one is, not even the justices themselves. Don't believe me? Felix Frankfurter swelled more than the HINDENBURG whenever questioned about his knowledge of the Court. Harold Ickes Senior told FDR that he should appoint Frankfurter to the Court so he could lead it. But Frankfurter wasn't particularly effective on the Court, especially judged by the expectations he generated. In the end, Earl Warren and his motley gang knocked Frankfurter down and rolled him out flatter than a pancake. Also worth noting: Nixon thought the law was only good for money. He told John Mitchell during the interregnum of 1963-67 that if all he had to look forward to was law practice, he'd be mentally dead in two years and physically dead in four. Alas, he didn't get a chance to test this, successfully reentering politics, and loading all his neuroses onto the rest of us. The One promises to be more of the same. God help us all.

Sincerely yours,
Gregory Koster

(7) Beldar made the following comment | May 3, 2009 10:24:22 PM | Permalink

Mr. Koster (#6), you're absolutely right of course. I'd been thinking, incorrectly, that Taft was TR's Veep in TR's second term, but he was TR's Secretary of War then and was never VPOTUS. I've changed "VPOTUS" to simply "POTUS" in the text of the original post above. Thanks very much for bringing this to my attention!

(8) SAFVet made the following comment | May 4, 2009 12:19:29 AM | Permalink

Ah, Beldar,

You are in rare form today. Good to see you posting regularly again. Please keep it up! Regards, SAFVet

(9) Scott Jacobs made the following comment | May 4, 2009 3:19:28 AM | Permalink

Besotted nitwits. In next Sunday's edition of the NYT: "Obama learned to tie his own shoes (with hardly any knots!) before he was eleven!" Surely he is The One!The next headline?

"By the age of 15, Obama had almost completely stopped wetting the bed!!"

(10) PC14 made the following comment | May 4, 2009 11:49:43 AM | Permalink

That NYT quote is teeing it up for late night comics. But somehow I don't think we'll be seeing a list of "Top 10 Accomplishments Of Barack Obama Before The Age of 30."

Now, had a similar, ass-kissing quote been made about Bush...

(11) Mike made the following comment | May 4, 2009 11:46:13 PM | Permalink

We're all going to have to stomach the soft racism of the liberal media for at least four years. He's their very special pet, much like the verbose parrot, the counting horse, or the talking chimp. Frankly, the guy isn't exactly brilliant and the more they prostrate themselves, the more embarrassing it is for everyone.

(12) A.W. made the following comment | May 5, 2009 7:50:11 AM | Permalink

You sometimes wonder if anyone in these papers know anything about the law. It is about as ridiculous of Anita Hill bragging that she passed the DC bar. The DC bar doesn't exactly strike terror into the hearts of lawyers everywhere. And you know what? i am cool with that. I prefer to let the customers decide who the best lawyer is for them, rather than some bureaucrat. But still, it means that passing the DC bar is not exactly a feather in her cap.

Now, this is something of an accomplishment on Obama's part, but not nearly as much as they make it to be.

I am starting to think there are two different Americas. One where Obama can do no wrong, walks on water, etc. and the real world.


(13) Rob Ives made the following comment | May 6, 2009 5:43:30 PM | Permalink

Well, he may have edited "articles by eminent legal scholars", but he apparently skipped or flunked his class in secured transactions. At least that would seem a reasonable conclusion based upon his actions and comments concerning Chrysler and GM.

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