At a recent fundraiser, Barack Obama told the crowd, “I was a constitutional law professor, which means unlike the current president I actually respect the Constitution.” I hope Obama was smiling when he said this because, if anything, constitutional law professors are less likely than their fellow Americans (or the current president) to respect the Constitution. As Obama surely knows, some Con Law profs view the Constitution as a malleable document that’s worthy of respect only to the extent it can be interpreted to mandate, or at least not impede, the enactment of their preferred political, social, and economic agenda. The respect in these cases is not for the Constitution but for the agenda, and perhaps for the professor’s own cleverness in manipulating the Constitution to accommodate it.
For the record, Obama is a “Senior Lecturer (on leave of absence)” at the University of Chicago Law School. Apparently, he has taught Constitutional Law III: Equal Protection and Substantive Due Process, Current Issues in Racism & the Law, and Voting Rights & the Democratic Process.
Frankly, Obama’s credentials seem a bit thin to be teaching constitutional law at a school of Chicago’s caliber, even as an adjunct professor teaching a non-core course. Obama does not appear to have practiced in the field of constitutional law, nor did he clerk for a Supreme Court Justice or publish in the field.
I’m guessing this was a “marriage” of convenience. Obama got something to add to his resume and the University got an upwardly mobile minority faculty member. And in the unlikely event that some of his students were complaining then, they probably aren’t now.
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