March 30, 2008

Was Barack Obama a "law professor"?

This seems to be the issue of the day, and, being a law professor blogger, I feel compelled to pay attention. So, first, the Hillary Clinton campaign — stinging from the ridiculous Bosnian sniper fire lie/mistake — put out a press release that listed 10 items under the heading "embellishments and misstatements." Item #1 was:

Sen. Obama consistently and falsely claims that he was a law professor. The Sun-Times reported that, "Several direct-mail pieces issued for Obama's primary [Senate] campaign said he was a law professor at the University of Chicago. He is not. He is a senior lecturer (now on leave) at the school. In academia, there is a vast difference between the two titles. Details matter." In academia, there's a significant difference: professors have tenure while lecturers do not. [Hotline Blog, 4/9/07; Chicago Sun-Times, 8/8/04]
"Professors have tenure while lecturers do not"? You might want to avoid glaring mistakes of your own right at the top of your list of someone else's mistakes. A professor starts out without tenure. (Hillary Clinton herself was a law professor — at the University of Arkansas — who never had tenure.) But, let's proceed.

The University of Chicago Law School put up a statement detailing Obama's relationship with the law school: He was a "lecturer" and a "senior lecturer" and never held the title "Professor of Law."
Senior Lecturers are considered to be members of the Law School faculty and are regarded as professors, although not full-time or tenure-track. The title of Senior Lecturer is distinct from the title of Lecturer, which signifies adjunct status. Like Obama, each of the Law School's Senior Lecturers have high-demand careers in politics or public service, which prevent full-time teaching. Several times during his 12 years as a professor in the Law School, Obama was invited to join the faculty in a full-time tenure-track position, but he declined.
Some law schools use the term "Adjunct Professor" instead of lecturer. Here's a list of adjunct professors at NYU School of Law (where I got my law degree). Here's a list of adjunct professors at the University of Wisconsin Law School, my home school. The term is also used at Brooklyn Law School, where I'm visiting this year. It's a very common term used to dignify the role of the outside lecturer. Outside lecturers contribute a lot to the law school and do it for comparatively very low pay, so the honor is important. To withhold the title "adjunct professor" and use only the title "lecturer" is, I think, show-offy of the school: Association with us is such an honor that we don't need to puff it up the way they do at those lesser schools.

Next, in this Chicago Sun-Times blog post, Lynn Sweet stirred the pot for Hillary:
[Marsha Ferziger Nagorsky, an Assistant Dean for Communications and Lecturer in Law at Chicago] said there is a major distinction between a lecturer and senior lecturer, though both are not full-time positions. She said the status of a senior lecturer is “similar” to the status of a professor and Obama did teach core courses usually handled only by professors. While Obama was also part of the law school community, his appointment was not part of an academic search process and he did not have any scholarly research obligations which professors often do.

In August of 2004, I wrote a column about Obama’s U.S. Senate campaign literature saying he was a law professor at the U of C when he was a senior lecturer on leave at the school. Neither the school nor anyone in the Obama campaign complained at the time.

The University of Chicago did Obama no favor by saying he was a law professor when he wasn’t. This parsing is not necessary. There is nothing degrading about being a senior lecturer and bringing to students the experience of a professional in the field.
The question isn't whether it's "degrading" to teach law school without being called a "professor," but whether there's something wrong with applying the term "professor" to someone whose formal title is "lecturer." I think one ought to be careful about this. If your title was "lecturer" and you're applying for a job, you shouldn't say "I was a law professor." Even though it can be defended as not a lie, you're exaggerating and not being strictly scrupulous about the facts. And Clinton's press release didn't say this was a lie. It put it on a list of 10 "embellishments and misstatements." It's fair to say it's an embellishment. [ADDED: Actually, the item says Obama "falsely claims," so she is accusing him of lying. I think that's an overstatement — or, we might say, an embellishment.]

Noam Scheiber at TNR writes about what he sarcastically calls "the great 'law professor' controversy":
As best I can tell, the university regarded Obama as a professor, but didn't officially confer that title on him.

I guess I don't see the scandal in Obama describing himself that way. But maybe the voters of Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Indiana will see something I don't...
See what's going on? It was a list of 10 things, intended to show a pattern of puffery (and to balance the Bosnian sniper idiocy), and people are focusing on one item (admittedly, the first item), which is a distraction from the list as a whole. That's an okay rhetorical move, but excuse me if I see right through it.

So, the "law professor" puffery is something on its own. Not all that much, but something. Now, consider the other 9 items, and judge for yourself whether the Clinton campaign has made its point, which melds questions of Obama's honesty to the contention that he lacks experience:
  1. Obama claimed credit for nuclear leak legislation that never passed.
  2. Obama misspoke about his being conceived because of Selma.
  3. Sen. Obama took too much credit for his community organizing efforts.
  4. Obama's assertion that nobody had indications Rezko was engaging in wrongdoing 'strains credulity.' "
  5. Obama was forced to revise his assertion that lobbyists 'won't work in my White House.'
  6. 'Selective, embellished and out-of-context quotes from newspapers pump up Obama's health plan.'
  7. Sen. Obama said 'I passed a law that put Illinois on a path to universal coverage,' but Obama health care legislation merely set up a task force.
  8. 'Obama…seemed to exaggerate the legislative progress he made' on ethics reform.
  9. Obama drastically overstated Kansas tornado deaths during campaign appearance.
Details at the Clinton press release.

132 comments:

AllenS said...

1. Obama claimed ...

2. Obama misspoke ...

3. Sen. Obama took ...

4. Obama's assertion ...

5. Obama was forced ...

6. ... Obama's health plan.'

7. Sen. Obama said ...

8. 'Obama…seemed ...

9. Obama drastically ...

Doesn't seem to indicate out right lies.

Paddy O. said...

Ann, going past titles, I'm curious of your views of Obama's understanding of Constitutional Law.

A politician would be interested in being given a role at a prestigious law school, while even a prestigious law school, I imagine, would see it worthwhile to offer a position to a rising, African-American politician. Meaning the role could easily be seen not as substantive.

From your perspective do you see Obama's discussions and insights on the law to be indicative of what you would expect from a law professor?

George said...

Ah, the 'embellishment.'

To beautify with ornamentation, as in dressing up a narration with fictitious matter.

From the Latin 'bellus' (pretty) via Middle French and English.

Politicians are such lovely embroiderers. We shall see more of their delicate handiwork in the months to come.

hans gruber said...

One more. He lied in his first book about the job he held before becoming a community organizer. He wrote that he was

http://tinyurl.com/26glyh

"First, it wasn’t a consulting house; it was a small company that published newsletters on international business. Like most newsletter publishers, it was a bit of a sweatshop. I’m sure we all wished that we were high-priced consultants to multinational corporations. But we also enjoyed coming in at ten, wearing jeans to work, flirting with our co-workers, partying when we stayed late, and bonding over the low salaries and heavy workload."

PWS said...

That list is a joke. Not because the things might or might not be true, but because it is has the tone of a childish attempt to stamp one's foot and say, "See, he does it too! Look, look at what he does!! He's not so shiny and perfect!"

It's not stately, dignified or presidential.

It's too bad that Hillary is the way she is. I am an Obama supporter but on substance I actually like a lot of Hillary's answers better. But I did not vote for her in my state's primary because of her style and baggage.

RJ said...

Well, of course he embellished his accomplishments. He has so few, they need all the embellishing they can get.

hans gruber said...

"That list is a joke. Not because the things might or might not be true, but because it is has the tone of a childish attempt to stamp one's foot and say, "See, he does it too! Look, look at what he does!! He's not so shiny and perfect!"

This is true. But if the media did its job, she wouldn't have to look so petty, would she?

The Drill SGT said...

another from todays WaPo front page.

Addressing civil rights activists in Selma, Ala., a year ago, Sen. Barack Obama traced his "very existence" to the generosity of the Kennedy family, which he said paid for his Kenyan father to travel to America on a student scholarship and thus meet his Kansan mother.

The Camelot connection has become part of the mythology surrounding Obama's bid for the Democratic presidential nomination. After Caroline Kennedy endorsed his candidacy in January, Newsweek commentator Jonathan Alter reported that she had been struck by the extraordinary way in which "history replays itself" and by how "two generations of two families -- separated by distance, culture and wealth -- can intersect in strange and wonderful ways."

It is a touching story -- but the key details are either untrue or grossly oversimplified.


turns out its like the Hillary's parents named her for Sir Edmund, when of course he hadn't even climbed Everest by the time she was born.

In this case Barrack senior came to the US in 58 and the Kennedy's didnt give money till 59.

rhhardin said...

I'm surprised the ``Obama is a moron'' charge has not been made. It would resonate with a lot of people.

Refreshingly, it does not claim moral superiority.
It's important to remain believable!

Richard L. Leed said...

As a tenured professor (which I used to be), I noticed that many students referred to and addressed their lecturer-teachers as "professor", but I never came across a lecturer that corrected them or lowered their grades for making such an egregious error.

vet66 said...

In theory, just compensation should make the property owner as well off as he was before his property was taken. But in practice that never happens.

Richard Espstein, Forbes, March 24, 2008

With statements like this floating around it is amusing to witness lawyers parsing language based on the definition of professor, adjunct, and lecturer. The good news is that we now know what type of people BHO is hanging with regarding property rights

We are being treated to another farcical discussion akin to what the definition of "...is, is?"

GOD save us from lawyers and politicians. Are there no statesmen anymore?

Ann Althouse said...

Paddy: "From your perspective do you see Obama's discussions and insights on the law to be indicative of what you would expect from a law professor?"

I think I know the quote you are referring to, but if you give me some links to the things you are concerned about, I will write a post. It's something I've come close to doing in the past, but it didn't quite make the cut for me.

Skyler said...

I'm no fan of Obama, but it takes a lot of nerve for Hillary to make any of these claims. Isn't she the one named after Hilary of Mt. Everest fame, who wasn't famous until long after his birth?

The lies coming out of the Clinton family put a list such as this to shame.

As for the first issue, my only question is what did his students address him as? Professor. Of course. The university informally called him professor, the students called him professor. The only place that the term professor is inappropriate is when addressing those in the professorial occupation where such angels on a pinhead nuances might mean something.

Skyler said...

Er, "long after 'her' birth"

30yearProf said...

It is certainly "puffery" and maybe more.

The law teaching profession, which I've been part of for over three decades, certainly recognizes a difference, a BIG difference between the tenured (or tenure-track), publishing, core teaching faculty, and the practitioners who provide service "adjunct" to the core faculty. Adjuncts go under a variety of names all designed to provide the warm glow of "faculty status" without actually conferring any.

To claim more is ignorant at best, disingenuous at worse. As part of a pattern of claiming more credit than it due, it certainly looks like a flippant attitude toward the truth.

Skyler said...

Vet66, I don't see what you complaint is with Epstein's quote.

Paddy O. said...

Ann, I had in mind this post by Matthew Franck over at Bench Memos, in which he links to, and discusses, an article by Emily Bazelon.

Lindsay said...

Obama holds the same title at U of C as Richard Posner. I seriously doubt that anyone would question whether Posner is, in fact, a law professor.

The Chronicle of Higher Education called him a "wildly prolific law professor." http://chronicle.com/blogs/footnoted/1835/richard-posner-weighs-in-on-william-f-buckley

Reason magazine called him a law professor too: http://www.reason.com/news/show/27988.html

robert_m_sykes said...

I recently retired after 37 years in college/universIty faculties. I have to agree with 30yearprof. Colleges, Universities and their faculties make really big distinctions among academic ranks and punish people who misstate their rank. While I am not familiar with law school practice, any one with the rank of Professor or Associate Professor has tenure, and people with the rank of lecturer, instructor or adjunct anything are almost certainly temporary appointees with no departmental voting rights. They may not even get an office.

Saint Russell said...

The word "butler" can be used in a broad sense that includes Jeeves, but one would expect the senior servant of a large household to observe the distinction between butlers and valets, considering Jeeves an instance of the latter. It's not surprising to see that Althouse and the lawprof commenters are likewise making a distinction that's not likely to be observed by the general public.

Zeb Quinn said...

What the Hillster doesn't get is that to many the part-time guest lecturer is regarded as superior to the tenured-track full-timer. The guest lecturer has real-world obligations to tend to and real-world accomplishments under their belts, all of which they share with the students. For the full-timers, teaching from books is the best they can do.

vet66 said...

Skyler;

An educational institution ultimately, by it's very nature, destroys liberty in the face of a politically correct society.

It is an interesting discussion when rights theorists face off with classical libertarianism. The rights theorists, i.e. BHO, are unconstrained by personal accountability and choose to hold others accountable for things outside their control.

Classical Libertarians will have difficulty with their beliefs in the face of assymetical attacks on the liberties and freedoms we hold dear. When the two extremes meet and compromise through a veil of latte steam that is our society of short attention span and instand gratification, libertarians i.e. Ron Paul, become laughable in the face of realpolitik.

PWS said...

HG said: "This is true. But if the media did its job, she wouldn't have to look so petty, would she?"

Well, that's a point, but it only begs the question about how the press is deciding what to report on. As other commenters here have said, the general public doesn't really make a distinction between "senior lecturer" and "professor." He taught law school. To most of us, he's a law professor.

Saying you were being shot at when you weren't and using the incident as showing you were on the front lines of international affairs probably interests people a bit more. People usually know when they're being shot at and expect people like Sen. Clinton to know when she isn't.

The MSM makes a lot of subjective judgments about what to report and I don't care for a lot of the choices they make; this one doesn't seem too bad.

hans gruber said...

"I seriously doubt that anyone would question whether Posner is, in fact, a law professor."

Posner is a federal judge and a prolific author. He's easily one of the top 10 legal scholars of the last century. And he was a full time professor before his appointment, I believe. Calling him a "professor" would understate his achievement substantially. Contrast to Obama, who has not a single law review article to his name.

BTW, Richard Posner's wikipedia entry says he's a "senior lecturer" at UC.

It's true that students use "professor" for any of their teachers in the college context. That's quite different than reporting on a resume or speaking to an audience. It's just as easy to say "I taught constitutional law" at UC as it is to say "I was a constitutional law professor." He's saying the latter because he wants to inflate his credentials. This is hardly an egregious example, but it's true, Obama's doing this intentionally to inflate his credentials.

See the tiny URL link above for another example, where a former coworker catches Obama embellishing another one of his jobs in his first book.

AJ Lynch said...

That is a pretty weak list. SWOT it's called in my business and Clinton's team must be pretty weak too if this is the best they could come up with.

hans gruber said...

pws,

I was speaking more of his other lies and evasions, particularly on the Wright affair. He was on The View this week and implied Wright had apologized, when he has not done anything of hte kind. He initially responded to the Wright flare up by claiming he'd never heard Wright say those things (after 20 years of being his spiritual mentor, that is not exactly believable). See another example of his inflating of credentials which I linked above.

Biff said...

lindsay wrote: Obama holds the same title at U of C as Richard Posner. I seriously doubt that anyone would question whether Posner is, in fact, a law professor.

Posner held a tenured position at Stanford decades ago, and he held an endowed, full Professor position at Chicago before moving to the bench. Their current titles at Chicago might be the same, but one of them earned the professorial honorific before the other was ten years old.

I spent about a decade in academia (granted, in the sciences, not the law), and while it may have been acceptable for a lecturer to be called "professor" informally by students, no Lecturer that I ever knew (including myself) would ever consider calling themselves "Professor," as that would have been seen as particularly distasteful CV padding.

There was also an enormous difference in prestige between Adjunct Professors who held Professor appointments from other universities (aka Visiting Profs) and Adjunct Faculty who were "practitioners," i.e. those whose primary employment was non-academic in nature. At my school, the latter were typically called "Lecturers."

M. Simon said...

Obama is too smart by half.

Satisfied?

M. Simon said...

At my school, the latter were typically called "Lecturers.

You have to give Obama credit. Obama does speak English in a way that people think they understand what he is saying.

hans gruber said...

"What the Hillster doesn't get is that to many the part-time guest lecturer is regarded as superior to the tenured-track full-timer. The guest lecturer has real-world obligations to tend to and real-world accomplishments under their belts, all of which they share with the students. For the full-timers, teaching from books is the best they can do."

For purposes of insight into the mind of Obama, it would have been preferrable had he been a professor, because then we'd have somethign concrete to explore, an actual paper trail. The guy was a "professor" for how many years and never wrote a SINGLE academic publication? It's like he was trying to avoid leaving a record of what he thought about the world. His wife's thesis is not so encouraging.

I've had enough of vague change and hope platitudes. The "I have understood you" schtick is wearing thin.

hans gruber said...

"I spent about a decade in academia (granted, in the sciences, not the law), and while it may have been acceptable for a lecturer to be called "professor" informally by students, no Lecturer that I ever knew (including myself) would ever consider calling themselves "Professor," as that would have been seen as particularly distasteful CV padding."

Right. This is important to understand. Students do this out of respect and simplicity. But to self report as "professor" when you are in fact just a lecturer is not the same thing at all. Is it that big of deal? No, not at all. But Obama is smart and he understand this, his decision to inaccurately describe himself is intentional, as was his puffery of his first job out of college. It seems to be a pattern of his (and, of course, we know it's a pattern of the Clintons as well, but Obama is running as a different king of politician).

rhhardin said...

To most of us, he's a law professor.


To most of us, professor means teacher at a college, and law college added raises only the question of whether it's a real college or not.

The interest of the general public in internal academic rank cannot be underestimated.

M. Simon said...

When I was 5 I got invited to a hot dog party at the end of the kindergarten year. It was at a Southern Mansion in Charlottesville, VA.

What did I call the butler/valet?

"Mom they have a man maid"

Valet these days is a somewhat degraded term meaning "car park attendant".

Fen said...

Obama has also lied about McCain, deliberately misrepresenting McCain's remarks about Iraq:

"As Charles Krauthammer pointed out yesterday, the suggestion that McCain is prepared to fight in Iraq for 100 years is deeply dishonest. As important from a political perspective, it is easily shown to be dishonest. Unlike many bogus "gotcha" moments, the refutation of this one is contained in the moment itself. After mentioning the possibility of being in Iraq 100 years from now, McCain added: "We've been in Japan for 60 years. We've been in South Korea for 50 years or so. That would be fine with me, as long as Americans are not being injured or harmed or wounded or killed."

Moreover, the Obama-Dean line of attack on McCain has already been pronounced dishonest by an independent watchdog organization. Thus, Krauthammer informs us, the Annenberg Political Fact Check, a nonprofit and nonpartisan project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania, has stated: "It's a rank falsehood for the DNC to accuse McCain of wanting to wage 'endless war' [Howard Dean's phrase, but no different in substance from what Krauthammer shows to be Obama's rendition] based on his support for a presence in Iraq something like the U.S. role in South Korea."

If Obama continues down this path, it should be quite easy for the McCain campaign to dispatch whatever still remains of Obama's claim to be a different kind of politician. The voters on whom this election depends probably won't take kindly to seeing a popular candidate attacked based on "a rank falsehood," especially by someone as sanctimonious as Obama is becoming.

Fen said...

Off to update my resume. Need to change "TA" to "Mathmatics Lecturer"

cobaltbob said...

You know, McCain embellishes, too. I hear claims of his "four decades" of public service.

Might only be 38 or 39 years.

How silly all of these arguments will seem when the eventual Dem nominee (if it's one of these two) finds themself up against a guy with no need to fudge.

peter hoh said...

I look forward to a constitutional amendment banning from office anyone who embellishes anything about their past.

Fen said...

No need for an ammendment. We simply need citizens honest enough to realize they are being conned.

Rocker 419 said...

Obama embelishes. Hillary looks foolish and petty for coming up with this list. However, if the main stream media was doing it's job (as it seems to do towrds her & McCain) she wouldn't have to. As an outside observer (read: not an Obama supporter) its a little amazing to see how many people have been conned by this guy. Lets have another fresh tray of popcorn, and let's watch the fun.

Fen said...

Quick. Someone call me "Sir" so I can add the title of "knight" to my resume.

former law student said...

Posner's 7th CoA colleague Judge Easterbrook is also a senior lecturer at U of C. Was Easterbrook a "professor" anywhere before he went to the CoA? Does the U of C not claim Posner and Easterbrook to establish various components of their position in the USNWR league tables? (Especially important now that Sunstein is bailing on them.) Further, U of C has only a handful of senior lecturers whereas they have an assload of lecturers. The editor of the Harvard Law Review could be a professor at almost any law school in the country. I'm surprised however, that Obama did not get his ticket punched by writing a law review article or two.

EnigmatiCore said...

That list is thin gruel. Nothing there jumps out as a huge lie akin to what the Clintons made famous.

Now, his whole lapdance regarding what he heard and when with Reverend Wright, that is a whole other ball of wax. There it became clear that Obama is a bald-faced liar for political expediency.

matthew said...

Have you ever explained what you did in a simplified fashion so that friends/relatives would understand? Something to consider: everyone knows what a professor does, but ask the average person about a senior lecturer, and I'm willing to bet they might be confused (and certainly would think they have the same teaching tasks as a professor).

Fen said We simply need citizens honest enough to realize they are being conned. This is perhaps the most innocuous 'con' out there. If this raises your blood pressure, you must really be roiled about how the Iraq war began. (Which, regardless of whether it was a good idea or bad idea, was sold through half-true premises and/or refusing to correct public confusion about 9/11)

The Drill SGT said...

cobaltbob said...
You know, McCain embellishes, too. I hear claims of his "four decades" of public service.

Might only be 38 or 39 years.


LOL, like Hillary's 35 years of experience? :)

I know Bob can count and which side of that fight he's on, but for Doyle:

McCain: Naval Officer 23 years not counting 4 at the USNA plus 26 in Congress.

49 years of real public service plus 4

AJ Lynch said...

Fen:

Sur..Fing...could become a big thing.

William said...

I am sure that there are differences between bonded plumbers and licensed plumbers that I do not understand. However, in no case would I accept either classification as applicable to the resume of a urologist. Obama and Hilary both have a pretty thin resumes and everything they claim sounds like an embellishment. Still, the ability to lie convincingly has never been a handicap in politics.

Skyler said...

Vet66, I'm sorry I asked. That was incoherent.

William, that was brilliant. Both the democrat nominees have virtually no experience to speak of.

It's only a slight stretch to say that Hillary was a house wife for most of her life, Obama was a child for most of his life.

bearbee said...

I like the ad in which he states he takes no special interest money. PA Gov.Rendell, a Clinton supporter, on Charlie Rose mentioned the NYT article involving nuclear energy industry support:

Since 2003, executives and employees of Exelon, which is based in Illinois, have contributed at least $227,000 to Mr. Obama’s campaigns for the United States Senate and for president. Two top Exelon officials, Frank M. Clark, executive vice president, and John W. Rogers Jr., a director, are among his largest fund-raisers.

Bottom line he is a politician and he will lie to obtain power. It is part of the job description.

Daryl said...

Senator Barack Obama, distinguished professor of law.

He's distinguishable from the other law professors of law because he never published a single law review article (or even a dinky little student note!)

S Sommer said...

BFD. This is so silly. Hillary blatantly lied & got caught. When will our politicos figure out that in this digital age, they will now be exposed quite quickly & endure the humiliation of it? Obama did not do much better with his Wright situation.

But, overall, Obama seems to lie less.

McCain may be more truthful than either of the D's, but not so sure.. what is this nonsense about him trying to "stuff" down new legislation about controlling the border?? Not so cool.

However!!

Why is this discussion even important, when the Fed is bailing like mad, trying to keep our entire financial system from imploding?? We should be raising holy hell with the administration, regulators, our politicos & financial "leaders" because they have literally imperiled the entire damn nation & who the hell is taking people to task for THAT?!!

Who cares about these idiot candidates, none of whom seems to have a real grip on economic issues!!

Lying, parsing, exaggerating, promising, grandstanding jackasses!

Who cares if we are labeled D or R, if our country ceases to FUNCTION?!

HELLO!! Wake up & take on the real issues which are in right in our faces!

The Fed is throwing out the rule book in desperation, finally realizing the extent of the insane debt obligations behind closed doors at our largest banks, not to mention the investment houses.

THIS is expose material, who the hell cares about Obama's resume??

Good Grief! We need to change focus!

This is like paying attention to Paris Hilton and Britney Spears, in the level of importance vs questions and concerns about issues we should be asking these candidates about, for real!

Doyle said...

and, being a law professor blogger, I feel compelled to pay attention.

What a joke. A secret, illegal wiretapping program is discovered, and Ann... provides the occasional link to Orin Kerr. But her position as a law professor compels her to delve into the completely bogus accusations of misrepresentation on the part of Barack Obama.

I think the professional responsibility you're fulfilling here is to your first job, that of a wingnut hack.

Simon said...

To me, the question of what title Obama held is the less interesting question raised by the claim that he was a LawProf. The more interesting point relates to what Paddy said in his comment above, and Matthew Franck's post touches on it but picks itself up and hurries along. The question is, what is it that we're supposed to infer from the Obama campaign's claim that Obama has taught law? The way Franck puts it is, the gullible in the audience are supposed to infer "that Barack Obama is so very knowledgeable about legal and constitutional matters that he can personally take charge of judicial appointments and legal policy questions and won't have to 'outsource' his thinking on such matters."

But why would we think that teaching Constitutional law indicates a particular love for the Constitution? Some do. Some, though, do not. Many lawprofs, with all due respect, have views that range from the intriguingly offbeat to the outright kooky, and it certainly doesn't follow that they have a particular love of the Constitution. Prof. Rick Hills, for example, has said that he would throw Article V overboard, and based on the same reasoning, it's fair to infer that equal representation in the Senate would be next on the chopping block. I suspect - although can't prove - that such views are far from uncommon in the ivory tower. And one has only to look to Prof. Sandy Levinson for an example of someone who teaches a course on a document he has said in published writing that he would burn to the ground, sweep away the ashes, and start over without. Such views may suggest the sort of sophistication and erudition desirable in academia (vel non), and I don't mean to suggest that such views are in any way intellectually indefensible. But they would be disabling for someone seeking a position whose first and foremost duty is to uphold and defend the Constitution, a responsibility that doesn't mean some of the Constitution, or some of the time, but all of it, at all times (I will preempt the inevitable clueless gotcha attempt by Trumpit or his/her ilk by stipulating that, yes, that is a test this President has repeatedly flunked).

Our views of Obama's affinity for and understanding of our system of government based on what he has said and done, not what title he held or what he taught. What do we infer from the speeches he has given and the bills he has sponsored or voted for? Without going into any kind of detailed exegesis, I think that there are reasons why his campaign wants us to look at his past titles rather than his past actions.

Simon said...

Doyle, it's not up to me, but FWIW, I think it's time for you to leave.

PatCA said...

The professor title doesn't bother me, or I would imagine other outsiders. When in doubt, address any instructor as professor!

The really bizarre lie...er, embellishment is the Selma/conception story. But I guess if you are the Messiah, you need a dramatic conception story.

Foobarista said...

I'm a McCain guy; no way I'm voting for either of the Chihuahuas being offered up by the Dems.

That said, most ordinary humans will regard anyone teaching classes in a college to be a "professor". If they teach in a law school, they're a "law professor". Quibbling over academic titles will impress nobody...

Biff said...

@rhhardin said...The interest of the general public in internal academic rank cannot be underestimated.

...which makes it a perfect topic for embellishment.

Several people have suggested that the inaccurate use of "Professor" is an acceptable shorthand in this case. I presume that's because of the extreme difficulty of accurately articulating complex concepts such as "Obama has taught law at the University of Chicago for XX years." Obviously, the general public could never understand such a construction.

The campaign did not engage in simplification. At best, it's an exaggeration. I agree that none of this should be a headline story by itself, but I am a believer in the power of habits and the slippery slope, and in the end, the truth tends to matter.

As an aside, I can't help but wonder if the response from academia would be the same if a similar exaggeration about an academic title had been made by a conservative candidate.

ricpic said...

I find Obama's inability to handle the Wright issue to be particularly disturbing as a harbinger of how he would handle crises as president. He hadn't been tested until Wright's views were exposed to the broad public. Instead of defusing the issue by apologizing (what my pastor said was wrong and I am hereby breaking all ties with him) he used the crisis to lecture whites - using as an example his own grandmother! - on their shortcomings. Even if you agree with Obama, this was catastrophic as a strategy. Americans fall all over themselves to forgive someone who apologizes without reservation for unsavory views or associations. The fact that Obama and his advisors didn't understand this means either that Obama is committed to his brand of racism or, even worse, isn't all that bright. Not at all a good indicator of his ability to handle crises as president.

fabius.maximus.cunctator said...

Ann Althouse:

From a foreigner`s perspective all this is puzzling... Frankly, from Bear Stearns to Irak and Afghanistan more important "presidential" topics abound. How wd he see this one, or that one, what can we infer from his record, his past experience, the people on his team? Not much, huh. Ok, let s get back to mud wrestl... oops partisan politics, I am so sorry.

Anyhow, Professor or not, I wd, of course, absolutely love to read an article in a law journal by Sen. Obama. Nothing there ? Not one ? Of course, as usual. That seems to be the pattern.

Incidentially, I am a lawyer by training and teach a 2 hour commercial law class for business students myself. I wd not let anyone call me "Professor" or "professor" for that. Honesty ? I dunno. Fear of ridicule ? Certainly.

A storm in a teacup, I wd say, except for the pattern alluded to above and the mighty office in question.

Trooper York said...

As long as Obama doesn't claim to be a well informed blogger of American Idol trivia, I don't think it's such a big deal.

bearbee said...

..finally realizing the extent of the insane debt obligations behind closed doors at our largest banks, not to mention the investment houses. THIS is expose material.......

The idiot Fed knew about the increasing problem going back to 1995 OCC's Quarterly Report on Bank Derivatives Activities and the idiot Congress did little, then further in 2007 .

Of course you are right. This is a severe blow to this country's financial health and stability.

Iapetus said...

I am still waiting for Team Clinton to assert that Obama has exaggerated his ability to transform water into wine.

amba said...

"Childish." That was the word that occurred to me. The whole thing is degenerating into a schoolyard nyah-nyah contest. To the detriment of the Democratic Party and whoever is its nominee. David Brooks:

The Democratic Party is probably going to have to endure another three months of daily sniping. For another three months, we’ll have the Carvilles likening the Obamaites to Judas and former generals accusing Clintonites of McCarthyism. For three months, we’ll have the daily round of résumé padding and sulfurous conference calls. We’ll have campaign aides blurting “blue dress” and only-because-he’s-black references as they let slip their private contempt.

For three more months (maybe more!) the campaign will proceed along in its Verdun-like pattern. There will be a steady rifle fire of character assassination from the underlings, interrupted by the occasional firestorm of artillery when the contest touches upon race, gender or patriotism. The policy debates between the two have been long exhausted, so the only way to get the public really engaged is by poking some raw national wound.

David said...

"Childish" was just the word that came to my mind, Amba.

This only hurts Hillary and helps Obama. It reminds that Obama--says he--wants to get beyond these silly attacks. (God bless him if he can.) It's also the ultimate child move--attack something, anything, when you are caught doing something wrong.

Hillary is not just a child, but a spoiled child. Spoiled children often get very destructive when denied what they want.

Chet said...

What I hate is when people lie in their obituary.

At least if someone lies on their resume, you can fire, or refuse to hire that person.

If someone lies in an Obituary, you can't refuse to hire, or fire, him.

The Drill SGT said...

amba said...
"Childish." That was the word that occurred to me. The whole thing is degenerating into a schoolyard nyah-nyah contest. To the detriment of the Democratic Party and whoever is its nominee.


I am pleased to think it sounds like a Jim Croce bar fight with one candidate:

Leroy looked like a jigsaw puzzle With a couple of pieces gone


and the other:

And when the cuttin' were done
The only part that wasn't bloody
Was the soles of the big man's feet
Yeah he were cut in 'bout a hundred places
And he were shot in a couple more
And you better believe
They sung a different kind of story
When big Jim hit the floor

Trooper York said...

You know it's not quite believable that Barack is the Professor...now if you told me he was Gilligan, well now that makes sense!

rsb said...

...law professor blogger
sounds stupid althouse
obama wins for whatever it's worth
law hah what a concept for animals

Auto Report World Editors said...

George said...

Politicians are such lovely embroiderers. We shall see more of their delicate handiwork in the months to come.


Embroiderer? Actually, I'm really an embroiderer. I was looking at Sen. Obama's website and noticed all the materials for Latinos, Asians, African Americans, Women, Jews, GLBTs, etc. but nothing for Arabs or Muslims. It's almost as though they think a Hebrew Obama button is cute but Arabic Obama memorabilia might not be the image they want to project.

I wonder what Senator Obama would think of my embroidery?

Trooper York said...

My good friend Titusnanookie is a gay eskimo. Do you have a button for him?

Middle Class Guy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Middle Class Guy said...

We all know that Hillary Clinton's life is one big lie and fairy tale. That is why her team refers to her campaign as Hillaryland. But what are her accomplsihments? What is it she has actually done in her thirty five years of public service. Here are her top ten accomplishments:

1.)
2.)
3.)
4.)
5.)
6.)
7.)
8.)
9.)
10.)

Yep, based on the above, she is experienced, qualified, and vetted.

Middle Class Guy said...

Simon,
Doyle sees enemies everywhere, in his closet, under his bed, in the mirror, etc. Conspiracies abound everywhere. If you do not indulge his fantacies you are rudely and childishly insulted. Only his narrow personal issues are important.

Middle Class Guy said...

Trooper York said...
My good friend Titusnanookie is a gay eskimo. Do you have a button for him?




Hog On Ice.

Iapetus said...

I have a theory about why HRC tells tale tales and embellishes her stump speeches when it seems so unnecessary for her to do so. In her own mind, I think she is competing with her husband Bill for pride of place in American politics but has little respect for him as a person or as President. It would not serve her purpose, of course, to say or do anything that would put him down in public. Instead she slyly embellishes her campaign message just enough to let the public know that if they admire her philandering husband's presidency, she was an integral and essential part of everything he accomplished while he was in office; more than that, she has the skills, the experience, and the mastery of the details of policy to do better (nay, much better!) than he did. I suggest her tendency to "misspeak" tells us more about the nature of the Clinton marital union than it does about HRC's suitability to be President of the Union. Discuss amongst yourselves.

Christy said...

I confess that upon the rare occasion when I have wanted to impress someone, I've told them I was on the faculty of Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in the 80s. But then I go and ruin it all by adding that it was just for the odd seminar. The potential shame of being caught exaggerating was just too great for me to bear. Guess I wouldn't cut it as a pol.

blake said...

Chet sez: If someone lies in an Obituary, you can't refuse to hire, or fire, him.

No, but you can be glad he's dead!

blake said...

Yeah, it's not so much the claiming to be a law professor as it was the claims that he had dodge sniper fire just to get to class every day.

Cedarford said...

There is a certain amount of teflon coating his Black Messiah media followers are coating Obama with. Within 4 days of the Reverent Wright Affair, 80% of the media were pronouncing it a "stunning victory" based on the sheer magnificence of Obama's stunning "Throw Grandma Under the Bus, Its Not About Me or Anything I Did, But Our Collective Racial Problem" speech.

With this one, the press and the Obama worshippers are all over themselves to dismiss the "title" controversy as silly and irrelevant. Since the students call him Professor and he was A Great Legal Mind despite never ever submitting a formal law review article because fellow students once named him "editor" and he held the August Legal Position, similar to Appellate Judge, with his title of state senator in Illinois. (Joining as state senator with other brilliant legal minds in that part-time job who came from backgrounds as downstate farmers, carpet store owners, reverends, bail bondsmen, municipal sewer worker)

An example of the "this is all silly that people think him listing himself as a constititional law professor matters":

David said...
"Childish" was just the word that came to my mind, Amba.
This only hurts Hillary and helps Obama. It reminds that Obama--says he--wants to get beyond these silly attacks.


I believe people are missing the obvious:

Both Obamas were sponsored from over 10 years ago by powerful, immensely wealthy benefactors to U Chicago that vaulted Michelle Obama from a 70K job with Mayor Washington's staff to a 319,000 dollar job at U of Chicago she did while raising kids. Obama joined 3 senior appellate judges with immense reputations in the law as the only 4 people honored with the title "Senior Lecturer" despite a legal background in no way commensurate with such a Top 10 Law School title.

To figure out why, look at the circle of Leftists Jewish billionaire and mega millionaire sugar daddies and sugar mommas Obama attracted early on that contribute 10s of millions to U of Chicago and no doubt wanted some quid pro quo for the buckets of treasure shoved U of Chicago's way for dear Michelle and dear Barack.
Penny Pritzger, the Crown Family, Bettelu Saltzman. (Why was Michelle not PROUD of America when she was awarded meteoric rises in salary while at home a good part of the time with her chilluns?)

Add in the possibly Hamzdi Auchi, his Oil For Food Iraqi billionaire benefactor, slipping a little biz or favors to U of Chicago or people they favored....

The real story is U of Chicago rewarding both Obamas with jobs and titles far beyond what their resumes justified, back when Obama was just a young politician with potential. And likely breaking the conventional rules, particularly with Obama's prestigious appointment as someone who had done nothing significant in Law since being voted editor at a big school, because those with the money wanted it so.

The fact that it is also a case of the Pot (Hillary) calling the Kettle (Obama) a black liar, does not mean that there wasn't some underhanded business at U of Chicago involving influential people promoting the Obamas past other better-qualified employees or applicants.

Fen said...

Mathew: If this raises your blood pressure, you must really be roiled about how the Iraq war began... sold through half-true premises and/or refusing to correct public confusion about 9/11

No half-truths, no public confusion. Bush never said Saddam helped Al Queda with 9-11, thats a strawman set up by the Left.

As for "truths", nothing in the intelligence field is ever known with 100% certainty. America acted in good faith, after careful analysis that Saddam was continuing his research into WMDs. And everyone agrees that Saddam intended to fast-track his WMD program after sanctions were lifted.

If you want to see a "disasterous" foriegn policy, watch how easily Iran will acquire nukes under the nose of a President Obama or Clinton. The same path that Saddam's Iraq would be on now, if not for Bush.

Fen said...

History will judge us, not by when we leave Iraq, but by how we leave Iraq. - Lindsey Graham, 3-30-08

Fen said...

Dolye: A secret, illegal wiretapping program is discovered,

NOT illegal. At worst, unsettled law.

So Doyle, when are you going to flee to France? Better hurry. I hear the Muslim no-go zones around Paris are expanding.

fabius.maximus: That seems to be the pattern.

Exactly. The exaggeration by itself would be a little thing. Instead, it reinforces a pattern we've been seeing in Obama...

Ann Althouse said...

The answer to Doyle's question is obvious. I can deal with this issue competently without doing research. On the FISA question, opining without spending at least a week studying the problem would be nothing more than vouching for the side I want to win. I consider that worse than nothing, so I didn't do it.

Middle Class Guy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Middle Class Guy said...

Iapetus said...
...she was an integral and essential part of everything he accomplished while he was in office; more than that, she has the skills, the experience, and the mastery of the details of policy to do better (nay, much better!) than he did.


Uh huh, right. You got that from that great piece of fiction, her autobiography right? Some Hillaryland pundit said it is so and you believed it?

Hillary has done nothing. Zero, zip, nada. She was responsible for nothing. Even Uncle Festus, who lies through his teeth has never gone so far as to say she had any imput in his administration or anything else he accomplished. All she ever did was be a glorified precinct captain getting out the vote.

Daryl said...

Allens is completely off his rocker.

False claims and assertions are lies.

Saying something false is a lie. "Misspeaking," when the candidate intended to lie and did lie, is a lie.

Obama is accused of exaggerating and lying, and the Clinton camp has him dead to rights on these nine items.

The way allens parsed words from the Clinton press release is meaningless. Spoken like a true political hack, allens.

Middle Class Guy said...

Daryl said...
Obama is accused of exaggerating and lying, and the Clinton camp has him dead to rights on these nine items.

Humor me. Please tell me one thing Hillary Clinton has NOT LIED ABOUT? She has not told the truth on anything- as far as I can tell. Everything she has stated cannot be verified or documented and the media gives her a free ride and a pass on all of it. So, please tell me one truthful thing about Hillary. Her being female does not count.

Elliott A said...

Middle Class Guy...

Here is a Hillary Truth!

She does not operate in the same universe as the rest of us. To her, there is no truth and falsehood (only applies to others). There is only what Hillary says is so which passes for truth at the moment. An analogy would be how the speed of light is the same to any observer. Hillary's utterances are always true to her.

MadisonMan said...

Much Ado About Nothing.

Were I a law student, I'd seek out the lecturers, especially if they are people with experience practicing law, not teaching it. Those stuck in the Ivory Tower can get a little cut off from reality, and I think it shows in their teaching.

Ann Althouse said...

Doyle, read the actual op-ed instead of Glenn Greenwald. It is not about the substance of the FISA question, but about the form of a judicial opinion. I stand by it.

Ann Althouse said...

No, you just don't understand what I wrote here and you are continuing to express yourself in a rude way even as you are getting it wrong. I will delete your posts if you don't start addressing me respectfully. I responded to you, yet you continued to be rude. That is intolerable.

Orbit said...

hmmm... I was wondering when this "Obama wasn't *really* a Law Professor" would come up.

A law professor has written his fingers to the bone on the way to tenure. I don't think it's a stretch either for most of the population to understand the difference between a "Lecturer" and a "Professor"

"Professor" is the convenient embellishment that ignorant/unskilled writers in the mainstream can/will use to puff up their characters in their storylines... "Professor" is someone fulltime teaching/research/writing while a "Lecturer" is someone that can come in and lecture 2 days a week for two or three of the quarters in a year

I worked for a while at the Law School, and Barack wasn't one on those guys that sat in his office (wherever it was...now *that* is a good question, who's office did he borrow for student hours?) I know Posner has an office that *he* was never in...the association they share as "Senior Lecturer" hardly equivocates their legal output...

Barack taught law, but *I* never thought of him as a professor, else working there full-time about three years, I think I would have met him more than just the once in Mandel.

Ann Althouse said...

Doyle, you are in bad faith. You have wasted my time. If you have something to say about me, you can say it on your own blog. I am deleting all your posts here and from now on. Go away and don't come back. You are troll. You are a rude little snot. I took the time to respond to you, which wasn't deserved given the way you wrote. Tonight, you made it plain that you are a waste of my time. The end.

Middle Class Guy said...

Doyle said...
I think the professional responsibility you're fulfilling here is to your first job, that of a wingnut hack.


I didn't ask you to respond.

You insult someone and you do not expect them to respond? You cite a lawyer with an agenda- read no credibility. I read the NYT piece. From what was written, the judge was a dolt; a poor legal writer. (Scalia was right- lots of nuts can score 90 on the bar exam.) Another person with an agenda and an ax to grind- read no credibility.

Maybe next time you can find credible people to cite before you launch your poor childishly written assault bombs. BTW, if you act like a childish student, you will be treated like a childish student.

Iapetus said...

middle class guy at 7:33 pm wrote-
"Uh huh, right. You got that from that great piece of fiction, her autobiography right? Some Hillary-land pundit said it is so and you believed it?"

You misunderstood what I wrote. Notice that the phrases are separated not by a period, which would indicate two independent sentences, but by that rarity of punctuation, a semi-colon. The second phrase is intended to be a continuation of the first, indicating that is an impression I think HRC is trying to convey to voters, not a statement of what I believe her qualifications to be, which is a quite another matter. Neither Democratic candidate is my cup of oolong.

Sloanasaurus said...

Maybe someone mentioned it, but Hillary's list left off a few politically incorrect doozies, such as (paraphrased),

I never heard the Reverend Wright say those kinds of things when I was in Church...

or

Rezko only donated $20,000 to my campaigns

or my favorite lie...

I work across party lines.

Sir Archy said...

To Professor Althouse.

Madam,

A receiv'd Rule for writing of a periodical Nature is never to befuddle the Publick with previous Characters & Situations.  Each Essay should be wholly comprehensible to the new Reader, but may yet give Pleasure to an old Friend.

Thus I habitually introduce myself as, "the Ghost of Someone Dead these 250 Years and more," and turn the Phrase, "I have seen many a..." in such a Way as to introduce the Topick.  This leaves the Readers in no Doubt that a Ghost of long Experience is addressing them, and who would write Something for their Improvement in a Style yet comfortable & familiar to the Author.

My usual Subject hath been the Lunaticks & Madmen who were creating some noisome Disturbance or other in this, your Theatre of Topicks (as I call it).  In this Capacity, I may say that I had ascended to the Style of Inspector of Lunaticks in Ordinary to Professor Althouse, with, if I may make bold to say so, no little success as a Critick of Madmen.

'Tis my Sad Duty, then, to report that my long Experience with Lunaticks of both Sexes hath led me to conclude that no ordinary Lunatick, but Mrs. Clinton herself, is driv'n conpletely Mad for Vexation & Grief.  What else may account for her very odd Performance St. Patrick's Day last, when she yet again claim'd the Mantle of Joan of Arc, dodging Projectiles amidst a Battle, when every Proof exists that She spent the Day receiving Flow'rs & kissing Girls?

Mrs. Clinton is no Habitual Liar worse than any Other, but seems to be subject to Vain Imaginings, brought upon by the Miscarriage of her Campaign to become President of the United States.  The Physick I would recommend includes a Course of Bleeding, perhaps with Mrs. Moore's train'd Leeches, follow'd by a daily Dose of that
noble and famous confection Alkermes, made by the Arabians, containing the grains of scarlet oak.  Thus may she purge herself of Melancholy Humors, the Cause of these Ailments.  I would have one of the American Officers engag'd with the Enemy at Baghdad procure this Physick for Mrs. Clinton, thus saving Her further Occasion of Embarrassment for having visit'd an Army.

'Twould seem Odd & perhaps Grievous that the Choice for President with which you may be present'd would be amongst a Madwomen; a Gentleman of fine Mien, Disposition & Speach, but little else save a Penchant for Lying; and a half-pay Officer, gone into Politicks, who has anger'd Half his Party and who would anger half of Mankind would They but know Him.  This may be accounted better than the current President, who has anger'd two-thirds of America, and seven-eights of the World.

I am asked by both Sides, if it is possible for me to be an unconcerned Spectator of the Rogueries that are daily committed by the Party which is opposite to him that writes the Letter.  I have been reproached with an old Grecian Law, that forbids any Man to stand as a Neuter or a Looker-on in the Divisions of his Country.  My only Reply is that when any Person of Sense considers the Candidates, it must be with a Calm Detachment, lest the Onlooker himself be driv'n Mad for Vexation at finding none better.

Praying you will forgive me yet another over-long Performance, and that the Audience's Eyes have not yet glaz'd over, I remain,

Madam,

Your humble & obt. Servant,

Sir Archy

Nichevo said...

Dear Archy,
Delicious as always - whether channeling (Johnson? Pepys?) or mehitabel's cohort.

In fact that's what I wanted to ask you - who are you imitating/channeling/paying homage to, in this incarnation? Where do you get it? Was your mother once scared by a copy of Neal Stephenson's Baroque Cycle?

It is to laugh. And I mean that in the nicest possible way.

This is entirely aside from the content of your posts, I refer only to the style.

Yr. humble ob'dt svt,

Nichevo

Sloanasaurus said...

Sorry I missed the Doyle controversy. It looked like good fun.

Unfortunately Archy, Obama wants it as much as Clinton.

I don't get Democrats. At age 45 with virtually no national experience, Obama represents perhaps the biggest political risk undertaken by any of the two parties since Lincoln won in 1860. Why do Democrats desire such risk taking at this time? Despite all of the issues we like to complain about, things are going remarkably well in America.

Sir Archy said...

To Mr. Nichevo.

Sir,

'Tis with Pleasure that I offer you my Thanks, and attempt an Answer to your Question of what Authors I may imitate?

Without boring You with Particulars, I may say that my early Education was Rural & Rustick, and that I improv'd my English Style but little at the 'Varsity.  Once discharg'd from the Army and engag'd with Affairs, I sought out Models for Writing that would not embarass the Author, as I was daily oblig'd to write Reports, Summaries, &c.

The Best Model for English Prose that may be met with is that of Mr. Addison.  Upon this Author, Dr. Johnson says, "Whoever wishes to attain an English style, familiar but not coarse, and elegant but not ostentatious, must give his days and nights to the volumes of Addison."

In my hurried Moments, I confess to declining to the every-day Style of the Gentleman's Magazine, which was edit'd for many Years with unusual perspicacity by Mr. Cave, and whose Prose is ever servicable if seldom elegant.

I should never attempt an Imitation of Dr. Swift, for this Author was among the greatest Writers of English ever to have lived.  Many a Person has attempt'd his Style, and none has succeeded; for altho' Swift may appear easy of imitation, you will find that not a Word may be alter'd or replac'd to any better Effect than the Original.

Trusting I may have answer'd your Question to the best of my Ability, and ever oblig'd for your Kindness, I am,

Sir,

Your humble & obt. Servant,

Sir Archy

Fen said...

Obama "swiftboated"

/via Instapundit

Fen said...

Obama DOOMED.

NonVoxPop said...

Althouse, If you ever get this far down in the comments (and ever get the time) a glossary of sorts delineating for us the varieties of academic would be helpful. What's the difference between an assistant professor and an associate professor? Are either (or neither) on their way to tenure? And what the heck is that? How about "faculty?" I thought I was on to something at http://www.china-nafsa.aief-usa.org/glossary.htm but it defines "faculty" simply as one who teaches at a college, whereas my undergrad Abnormal Psych (lecturer/prof/teacher) was pretty clear (despite his MA in Psych) that "faculty" was an exclusive club to which he didn't belong. What's the difference? What's the hierarchy? Are “lawprofs” at the top? Compared to, say, English or Philosophy profs?

Cedarford said...

MIddle class Guy - The fact that Hillary is a regular deceiver does not in turn negate the question of whether or not Obama is in the eyes of voters.

I have had people from both sides, in real life and in posts on the 'Net respond to my questions or those of others regarding Hillary or Obama's quals with huffy outrage.

It's either Hillary was actually running security affairs as co-President, bringing Irish diplomatic peace, dodging sniper bullets with Sinbad & Chelsea --

Or its the nova-explosion bright brilliance of Barack Obama, Messiah...who rose to be a brilliant professor of Constitutional Law, sere of the whole Iraq War in prescient speeches he later retracted, the top Harvard Law guy made editor by his Vaunted Overmind, just happened to miss the part about Oil for Food money paying for his Mansion and 20 years of anti-Whitey sermons.....

or Obama's vast capacities when he is not reading eloquently from a TelePrompter - are as exaggerated as Hillary's.

My fear is the Democrats, somehow, picked the least two qualified nominees ever for President in an election they should win - and when they are up against an old man with honor and little else -present themselves as empty suits.

Something like with Kerry's unappetizing personality and legitimate questions about his actions during and right after Vietnam being honorable - will only grow in the public perception after the election.

Cedarford said...

NonVoxPop said...
Althouse, If you ever get this far down in the comments (and ever get the time) a glossary of sorts delineating for us the varieties of academic would be helpful.


Sound like that is something you could learn yourself by just calling a college up and asking or Googling "faculty hierarchy" on the 'Net, rather than ask Althouse to do your work for you.

Here's two good general research projects for anyone interested:

1. Has any prestigious law school ever given the equally prestigious academic title of "Senior Lecturer" to any other person who was a 34-year old recently elected state senator with no law review articles in his name ?

2. Who now associated with the Obama campaign was a major benefactor to U of Chicago when Barry O got his unusual "Professor of Constitutional Law" appointment or Michelle Obama got a job that quintupled her Mayor Washington's aide job's salary up to 319,000 a year while she was only part-timing, raising her kids?

And do those benefactors have ties to the radical Left, Muslim countries via Auchi, or what?????

I'm going to look at the 2nd one, but if anyone like Orbit with ties to U of Chicago Law looks, you might have a better chance than me of finding something interesting the press has not reported on or quashed.....

howzerdo said...

nonvoxpop: Probably more than you wanted to know, but FWIW, where I teach we have, from lowest to highest:

-instructors (mostly graduate student teaching assistants),
-lecturers (usually are not tenured),
-assistant professors (usually entry level for a tenure track faculty member; once tenure is achieved, the person is promoted to associate professor),
-associate professors,
-professors,
-distinguished professors (the highest rank).

We also have
-emeritus professors (retired),
-service professors (focus is more on the field than on reseach),
-adjuncts who teach one course and are appointed for one semester at a time,
-adjuncts who teach at least two courses and may have other duties as well, at the lecturer, assistant professor and service professor levels.

Status and rank are further determined by whether the person has a master's degree or a PhD.

-Tenured has higher status than adjunct. Adjuncts do not have tenure, and the positions they hold will never lead to tenure. However, generally, adjunct lecturers, adjunct assistant professors and adjunct service professors are in appointments for more than a semester, and often one, or two, or three years and can be renewed.

-Occasionally an associate professor might serve as department chair, but usually that position is reserved for a full professor.

-Adjuncts can serve on dissertation committees, but they cannot serve as chair of a dissertation committee.

-Typically, tenure-track faculty focus more on research, and adjuncts focus more on teaching. However, sometimes universities make creative appointments - for instance hiring someone in a professional title, rather than faculty title - but then expecting teaching as the primary responsibility. There may be other duties as well, including a research expectation, but it isn't of the quantity or calibre of a tenure-track faculty position. Because it is a professional position, the person gets tenure after 7 years.

-all of these positions are considered faculty.

Students call all faculty professor or Dr., and in fact, that is expected. I agree that someone on the outside probably doesn't appreciate the nuances. However, the story is very different within academe.

rishigajria said...

Ms.Althouse,

This is boring. This primary is getting boring.
Please post more posts about music. Those are fun.
And come to Bloggingheads soon.

Simon said...

Middle Class Guy said...
"Scalia was right- lots of nuts can score 90 on the bar exam."

That was AMK, not Scalia - at the Indiana v. Edwards argument.

Roger said...

Seems to me to be a tempest in a teapot. I do wish to raise a nitpic re Professors hired without tenure. That may be the way the system operates in Law School, but my experience is that an academician is usually hired as an instructor, then has 7 years to gain tenure or move on. Instructor, Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, and Professor are academic ranks. In general, it would be very unusual for anyone above the rank of Assistant professor to not have tenure. The system may be different in Law and Medical schools, however, where experience may be more important than academic accomplishments.

Fen said...

-all of these positions are considered faculty.

Students call all faculty professor or Dr., and in fact, that is expected.


Right. When I was a TA, the girls called me "professor" too. Esp the morning after. :)

But that doesn't mean I should add the title to my resume.

former law student said...

"Professor" is someone fulltime teaching/research/writing

Ha!

Although it is true that most law professors have no other job, some do little more than repeat essentially the same lectures every year (Any recent breakthroughs in the law of Contracts? How about Criminal Law?) without having published anything since the Ford administration. This hardly adds up to full-time work, even if they do have to grade more than a hundred exams twice a year.

Simon said...

FLS:
"How about Criminal Law?"

Apprendi, Crawford, and their respective progenies?

Greg said...

Hillary is a pathetic liar, Obama is an accomplished bullshitter. There is a significant difference. The distinction is explained by philosopher Harry Frankfurt in his famous essay "Bullshit".

former law student said...

simon: I'll grant you Apprendi, because it is related to punishment and elements of crimes. But Crawford relates mostly to Evidence. At any rate, breakthroughs don't occur that often in certain fields of the law.

Fields like conlaw and copyright move at a much faster pace, obviously.

Ralph said...

When will the MSM demand to see Obama's U of C paystubs to see how many hours he actually lectured? Interview his students to assess the quality or banality of his work? Mary Mapes, where are you?

former law student said...

When will the MSM demand to see Obama's U of C paystubs to see how many hours he actually lectured?

I don't think Barry-O had to punch a clock. The Obamas tax forms that I saw posted (on the taxlaw professors' website?) included the sources of their wage/tip/salary income, including BO's U of C salary.

I do wonder why more people haven't been interviewed from different stages of BO's life. I also wonder what happened to Hillary's mom -- they trotted her out in Iowa, but I haven't heard about her since.

SKI said...

Given that each school treats the various permutations of titles differently, I would think that before concluding Obama lied or did not lie, one would think to look at the University of Chicago website listing their faculty.

http://catalogs.uchicago.edu/law-folder/law-fac.html

It lists the "Senior Lecturers" in the "Professors" grouping and the "Lecturers" separately.

Ralph said...

I don't think Barry-O had to punch a clock.
He must have been AWOL, then--let's check the secret memos. Oh, but he's a Democrat, let's ignore it.

NonVoxPop said...

Howzerdo, not at all more than I was looking for, but almost all that I was. So it seems that a (the?) difference between an associate professor and a professor is the likelihood of serving as a department chair. And someone can be a professor while holding only a masters. Which occasions me to wonder, if a “professor” isn’t defined merely as “someone with a PhD who teaches at a college” (which I think is the popular conception), then what does make a professor a professor. It seems it’s only what the university chooses to call them. So I guess I shouldn’t have been pissed when our tenured prof was replaced mid semester with someone who’d graduated the semester before and never taken the class. As long as the school said he was qualified. I vaguely recall a sitcom with the same general point: “Oh, all you want is a raise? I thought you were going to ask for a title. How much do you want?”

filthy said...

Wrong. Law professor saying it or not, it is factually wrong.

If a security guard approaches me and says he is the police and tries to arrest me, I’ll call the police and we’ll see if titles matter.

Get it through your thick heads once and for all - claiming on a resume to be a professor is not an exaggeration, it is a lie!

You do not , in any circumstances put titles on your resume, which are not titles you officially held in your work experience. You do not put “senior executive” when you happened to be secretary of one, and handled all his business. You do not put manager if you happened to be overseeing a team of McDonalds janitors while you manned the cash register at 2 am in the morning.

So too, you do not put “professor of law” if you are Obama and applying to teach in University XYZ.

You do not become a chauffeur if your a taxi driver who happens to give regular rides to Madonna. You do not become a designer because you painted your bedroom green. You do not become an artist, if you spraypaing walls in your hood. And you do not become intelligent, because you vote Obama, and you do not become smart and eloquent if you can’t tell the difference between the lecturer that you were, and the professor you were not.

Tenure or no tenure is irrelevant. The line originates from Hillary, but from Lynn at the Tribune, and the professor at Althgouse himself. This line is factually correct:

“In academia, there’s a significant difference: professors have tenure while lecturers do not.”

because In Academia, professors may or may not have tenure, but lecturer NEVER MAY.

So here we have another professor trying to lie on Obama’s behalf. Reducing antonyms to meaningless synonyms - and his own status to worthlessness.

For once and for all, get it through your impenetrable heads, a lecturer can not claim to be a professors under any circumstances except when mistakenly called one by ignorant students, ignorant journalists, ignorant politicians, and ignorant professors. Especially ignorant professors of law, not far from their lecturing Obama buddy.

Thank you all Obama supporters, for debasing our language, and making the low the high, and the good the bad. In your world, nothing is real, except the Messiah, and nothing is good or high, unless he pronounces it as such.

Jeanne said...

Folks, the Chicago Law School identifies Obama as a law professor.

http://www.law.uchicago.edu/media/index.html

Give it up, this is a bogus attack. If the law school where Obama worked says that Obama was a law professor, then Obama was a law professor.

Time for you to apologize to Obama and move on.

Jeanne said...

Here's what is really bizarre-the link that I posted is the one that you link to in your comments. You had the facts in front of you, and you either cannot read or deliberately lied about Obama.

What kind of a place is this, anyway?

Ann Althouse said...

What kind of a place is this? A place where we actually read the things we link to. You are just plain wrong. Read my post. It is crushingly accurate.

Jeanne said...

Your post is wrong. The university says Obama is a professor, the link that you are using says that is a professor, and you either didn't read your link or you misrepresented it.

You owe Obama an apology.

Ann Althouse said...

No, it does not, Jeanne. You need to read it more carefully. Then give ME an apology.

Jeanne said...

From 1992 until his election to the U.S. Senate in 2004, Barack Obama served as a professor in the Law School. He was a Lecturer from 1992 to 1996. He was a Senior Lecturer from 1996 to 2004, during which time he taught three courses per year. Senior Lecturers are considered to be members of the Law School faculty and are regarded as professors, although not full-time or tenure-track.

This is a direct quote from the link you are using.

Jeanne said...

Here's a sentence from the same link you are using-

Several times during his 12 years as a professor in the Law School, Obama was invited to join the faculty in a full-time tenure-track position, but he declined.

Again, this says during his years as a professor in the Law School.

Jeanne said...

And there is this:

He was a Lecturer from 1992 to 1996. He was a Senior Lecturer from 1996 to 2004, during which time he taught three courses per year. Senior Lecturers are considered to be members of the Law School faculty and are regarded as professors, although not full-time or tenure-track. The title of Senior Lecturer is distinct from the title of Lecturer, which signifies adjunct status. Like Obama, each of the Law School's Senior Lecturers has high-demand careers in politics or public service, which prevent full-time teaching.

Senior lecturers are regarded as Professors, this says. The title of senior lecturer distinguishes him from an adjunct.

Obama is honest, many of his detractors are not.

Ann Althouse said...

"served as a professor in the Law School... regarded as professor"

note the lower case. His title was not Professor but Lecturer. I think my post is scrupulously accurate.

Jeanne said...

The word professor is not capitalized because it does not directly proceed anyone's name. Here is the rule:

We do not capitalize the title/rank/position of a person when it follows the individual's name; when it used with the name of a company, an agency, an office, and the like; or when it is used alone. In other words, a title/rank/position is a common noun or adjective unless it immediately precedes a person's name.

http://www.getitwriteonline.com/archive/111201.htm

The link you provided clearly identifies Obama as a law professor at the University of Chicago.

Again, the link that you provided identifies Obama as a professor repeatedly, in the following sentences:

From 1992 until his election to the U.S. Senate in 2004, Barack Obama served as a professor in the Law School.

Senior Lecturers are considered to be members of the Law School faculty and are regarded as professors, although not full-time or tenure-track.

Several times during his 12 years as a professor in the Law School, Obama was invited to join the faculty in a full-time tenure-track position, but he declined.

Again, the phrase "several times during his tenure as a professor in the law school", and the phrase "served as a professor in the law school" make it beyond reasonable dispute that Obama correctly identified his role there.

MakeCulture said...

I'm so sick of this. Obama was editor of the fucking Harvard Law Review. Only the top 5% or so of Harvard Law students get on the review and then the editor is selected out of that elite group. I tested in the top 99 percentile my whole life and can't even make the Harvard cut to get in. Grades are anonymous at Hardvard Law. What the fuck must a brilliant Black man do in this country before ignorant assholes stop dismissing him as a token, or his position as "worthwhile to offer a position to a rising, African-American politician." Obama is a very humble Mid-west guy, so I will say it for him, he has worked his ass off, has the best slot (Harvard Law Review Editor) that anyone could ever have on their resume, ever, he beat the Clinton political machine, and has done much more than I could ever accomplish.

BlueMan said...

Only Lawyers would care about the non consequential distinction between the labels, professor, adjunct professor or lecturer.

To the everyday voter its easier to just say, "Obama was a law professor for 12 years."

What is puzzling is why he labels himself as a community organizer when he only played that role briefly. Also he has worked in corporate law firms but you never hear about that also.

I think people will be glad to see that he wasn't some Al Sharpton like do-gooder and actually has some more traditional work experiences.

hicks said...

Perhaps a bibliography containing Mr. Obama's scholarly writings on The Law would help to minimize this controversy: http://www.lib.uchicago.edu/e/law/using/centbib.pdf