Tuesday, July 29, 2008

New York Times Story on Obama as Law Professor (with a quote from one of your favorite antitrust bloggers)

Posted by D. Daniel Sokol

Tomorrow's front page story in the New York Times in now online on Obama as Law Professor.  I am quoted on Obama's teaching at the University of Chicago.  I took a small seminar with him on race and the law in my 3L year of law school.  Obama was a spectacular professor who brought in insights from economics and sociology to the class (this was not a doctrine heavy class).  One thing that impressed me was how he challenged a number of very liberal students about their beliefs, which at first was a bit unexpected for them.  He was nuanced and fair in his teaching.  In so many ways he was a gifted classroom teacher and I aspire to be the teacher that he was. 

Obama was really great outside of the classroom as well.  When I let him know that I wanted to make the move to academia (he had volunteered to write me a letter based on my paper back in early 2001), in addition to the usual suspects of full time law faculty who wrote letters of recommendation on my behalf, Senator Obama was gracious enough to write one as well-- years after I had him in class.  What amazes me is that even as a US Senator, he took the time out of his busy schedule to undertake this task.  Whether or not he took follow up calls from law school faculty hiring committees, I don't know.


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Interesting to hear your take. I had the good fortune to meet Senator Obama in a really small group of 20 or so last October. His interest in actually engaging people, disagreeing with them from a point of principle and building a case towards a better thought through solution was evident even in that hour.

The friend I went to this meeting with told me a story of hearing Obama speak in a predominantly gay audience in Greenwich Village (not CT) in which he was asked about gay marriage. He took the time to not only disagree with his audience, but to break down their argument from a constitutional perspective and compare it to his own, in order to demonstrate how his was the more sustainable proposition.

Challenging assumptions is what education is all about, and at it's best, so is politics.

Nice hearing your story.

Posted by: lee maicon | Jul 29, 2008 7:10:36 PM

I remember hearing him speak when he was running against Bobby Rush for Congress. I was blown away by his intelligent, articulate treatment of every subject -- but was convinced that he was an academic who was totally divorced from the reality of Chicago politics by foolishly engaging in that campaign. Perhaps he knew what he was doing after all.
Ted Banks

Posted by: Ted Banks | Jul 30, 2008 9:43:55 AM

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