Monday, May 25, 2009

Obama--Constitutional Scholar?

I've been confused by this since the primaries. How has everyone bought this Obama the Great Constitutional Scholar bullshit hook, line and sinker? As far as I know, Obama managed to become Editor of the Harvard Law Review and a Professor while never having produced ANY original scholarship in constitutional law and having very little experience actually working as a lawyer. Perhaps he had some stellar academic credentials, but we don't know that because he had his academic records sealed. I, for one, highly doubt that his academics were that impressive considering his efforts to conceal them. (What candidate proud of their academic credentials has them sealed when all other candidates have provided theirs?)

In virtually every field with which I am familiar, Obama's story would be impossible. In my own field, journalism, you can't get even an associate professorship at any reputable university without having produced original, published work AND having worked as a journalist. You sure as heck would not be made editor of any of the journals without extensive publication.

Is the field of constitutional law completely devoid of such a standard?

Update: Did some research. Obama was "President" not Editor of the review. My bad. I'm used to the editor title. Anyway, it was considered extremely unusual for a President of the Harvard Law Review not to publish at that time, since membership in the review was considered "publish or perish." The Review had a policy of stripping membership from members who didn't meet a publishing due date. Those who were stripped of membership were required to contact all firms that had offered them jobs and inform them that their membership had been revoked and that they did not have the right to list it as a credential on their resumes. How did Obama escape this requirement? There is a heavily edited, unsigned "note" from before Obama's membership that is occasionally attributed to him but Obama's own people denied he'd ever published. Since it was prior to his membership, it also wouldn't have fallen within the review's publication requirement as far as I can tell.

Interestingly, it was also expected that an outgoing President would work as a clerk following graduation. EVERY outgoing President did so BUT Obama. Another oddity.

I stand by my assumption that it is ridiculous to call someone a distinguished scholar in a field in which he produced no original scholarly work.


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