Bench Memos

Tribe to Obama: Please Hire Me and Give Me a Big Portfolio

Okay, at least one more post (in addition to my first three).

Larry Tribe’s letter to President Obama closes with Tribe’s plea for a job:

[I]f I might add a very brief personal note, I can hardly contain my enthusiasm at your first hundred days. I don’t underestimate the magnitude of the challenges that remain, and I continue to hope that I can before too long come to play a more direct role in helping you meet those challenges, perhaps in a newly created DOJ position dealing with the rule of law, but my main sentiment at the moment is one of enormous pride and pleasure in being an American at this extraordinary moment in our history.

Alas for Tribe, he didn’t get the DOJ position that he was hoping for, which, as this New York Times article from April 2010 reports, “would have come with a mandate to help shape matters of national security and foreign policy.” Tribe instead was given the “nebulous legal niche” of “senior counselor for access to justice,” which came with “a small staff, a limited budget, little concrete authority and a portfolio far less sweeping than the one he told friends he had hoped to take on in Washington.” Further:

The Justice Department is not allowing him to give interviews, apparently in part because of nervousness in the administration that his unabashedly liberal views might draw criticism or that Mr. Tribe, described by friends as having a big intellect and a healthy ego, might stray from his assigned lane.

Darn. Does that mean that reporters won’t be able to interview Tribe about his letter?


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