Bench Memos

Re: Professor Obama

Gerry Bradley has a characteristically level-headed reaction to that ho-hum NYT front-pager about Obama’s years of teaching at U. of Chicago law.  For more on this bit of puffery, see David Bernstein, Brian Leiter, and some law profs gathered for a chin-pulling contest at the NYT itself.  I agree that there’s not much to be impressed with here, which makes the offer to Obama of a tenured position really striking–considering he had never (and still has never) published anything on the law, other than some liberal platitudes in one of his autobiographies.

But can I put in a word about how much the title “professor” annoys me when applied to Barack Obama?  He was a “lecturer,” a part-timer whose title might have been “instructor” elsewhere.  True, they upped the title to “senior lecturer” at Chicago for no good reason.  But he was still not a full-fledged member of the faculty, subject to all its expectations of scholarship and teaching responsibility.


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