August 28, 2008

Barack Obama, the law student, was not like you other law students.

From the same Jodi Kantor piece discussed in the previous post, I had to break out these law school nuggets.
“I thought of him much more as a colleague” than a student, said Laurence Tribe, a law professor at Harvard for whom Mr. Obama worked. “I didn’t think of him as someone to send out on mechanical tasks of digging out all the cases.” Other students could do that, Professor Tribe added.
Other students.
Long before the presidential race, some around him seemed to resent his ability to galvanize a following. “Bluebooking is not important for celebrities,” fellow students joked about him in the law review parody, referring to the tedious process of checking citations.
That's for you other students.

35 comments:

Spread Eagle said...

Okay. What were his LSAT scores? Or SAT scores? Just wondering, ...

AllenS said...

As always, low expectations for affirmative action students.

ricpic said...

Trolling for a Supreme Court nomination, Larry?

Ron said...

Knock, knock! Hello Victoria? I believe the term we are groping for in this thread is "poncey", correct?

Ah!

Peter V. Bella said...

It appears that Obama did and continues to do the things that separate the truly successful from the ordinary. He sets goals and takes action to pursue them. He thinks big. He picks the direction is going to take and stays on course. He seeks out mentors. He mentors others. He chooses people and a partner who are in sync with his goals and aspirations. He seeks out knowledge. He does not get distracted from his chief aim in life. He does not let emotion distract him from the purpose at hand. He acts on his hopes, dreams, and goals.

These are the things one must do to succeed in any endeavor. Why criticize a person, even indirectly through the quotes of others, for doing what every successful person does. We can criticize Obama for a lot of things, but to criticize him for following the rules of success and actually accomplishing his goals is rather silly.

Slim Tyranny said...

Since the comments quickly turned to insults of Obama's intelligence and achievements as a law school student ("what were his LSAT scores?", "low expectations for affirmative action students"), let me go ahead and point out that Obama graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law --- that's the top 10% of his class.

Nice try, though.

Palladian said...

"We can criticize Obama for a lot of things, but to criticize him for following the rules of success and actually accomplishing his goals is rather silly."

It's not Obama's drive for success that's worthy of criticism or mocking, it's the utterly embarrassing and stupid way that his supporters talk about him.

Peter V. Bella said...

Palladian said...
It's not Obama's drive for success that's worthy of criticism or mocking, it's the utterly embarrassing and stupid way that his supporters talk about him.


What do you expect from utterly embarrassing and stupid people?

Slim Tyranny said...

Ann,

As a law professor yourself, what's your reaction to people dismissing an African-American as an "affirmative action student" granted "low expectations", when that student performs in the top 10% of the class?

jeff said...

"As a law professor yourself, what's your reaction to people dismissing an African-American as an "affirmative action student" granted "low expectations", when that student performs in the top 10% of the class?"

What does one have to do with the other? Isn't it possible for an affirmative action student to graduate high in his class? Isn't that the whole point of affirmative action? Why are you reading that as a slur? What do you have against poor minorities?

Joe said...

Lawrence Tribe is full of shit. Show me a contemporary document supporting his claims. This is nothing more that Tribe rewriting history yet again.

downtownlad said...

But Obama never mentioned he was black when he applied to law school - so try again.

McCain only got into the Naval Academy, because his father and grandfather went there. And he graduated near the bottom.

But it's ok for white people to get special treatment.

Yes though - let's please compare SAT scores of McCain vs. Obama. I'd like to see those.

AllenS said...

Mz. Tyranny--

I never went to law school or even college, but I took a lawyer in front of the bar association and beat him. That's more lawyering than Obama has accomplished. I wouldn't be surprised that Ann and other professors are terribly afraid to flunk any minority student. Let alone ask them to do minimum work, like checking citations.

MadisonMan said...

Didn't McCain go to college before SATs?

For some reason I saw the title of the blog post and thought You. A Law Student. Nice variant of the usual hilarious condemnation of Prof. A by the clueless who say You. A Law Professor.

MadisonMan said...

...answering my own question, No. The first SAT was in 1901. I did not know that 'til I looked it up.

vbspurs said...

Ron, definitely poncey. And mincey. And Jessie. Also wet.

Obama is the text-book definition of the British slang, "wet".

watered down, wack, sappy, compromised, like a eunuch

Slim Tyranny said...

Jeff, you missed the point. It wasn't merely referring to Obama as an "affirmative action student" - that sentiment was directly coupled with the thinking that such a student benefitted from "low expectations" and might be not as intelligent ("check his LSAT scores") as non-affirmative action counterparts.

So here we have an African-American student who has his accomplishments dismissed as an affirmative action beneficiary (without evidence, by the way), and yet he's a top 10% student. THAT is the slur.

That kind of slur is repeated by allens, who says "I wouldn't be surprised that Ann and other professors are terribly afraid to flunk any minority student." allens imagines that minority students benefit from some unfair grading system that allows those students to excel better than the white counterparts. That racist thinking is seated in the ignorance of a blind grading system in place at almost all law schools.

I mean, c'mon, these comments are almost cliche. The BLACK person in question can't possibly be as smart as his education suggests because he got ahead unfairly and then never had to perform up to his white counterparts. That thinking ignores the reality of Obama's education --- he's really really smart. It's too bad that some people can't see beyond his color to accept that fact.

Slim Tyranny said...

allens, I feel sorry for you. You should not let your feelings about minorities color your judgment about Obama --- he graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School. He didn't do that because he was a "minority student" terrorizing his professors into giving him top grades ; he did that because he's very intelligent.

Deal with it, and then deal with your own issues on race.

Spread Eagle said...

Since the comments quickly turned to insults of Obama's intelligence and achievements as a law school student ("what were his LSAT scores?", "low expectations for affirmative action students"), let me go ahead and point out that Obama graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law --- that's the top 10% of his class.

Hell-o-o? Did you read the post? The whole point was he got treated specially, was never held to the same expectations as his classmates. Of course he graduated magna cum laude. Many if not most big firms are tuned into the error of believing law school grades and class standing mean much of anything, and they want to see LSAT scores too.

Slim Tyranny said...

spread eagle said: "Hell-o-o? Did you read the post? The whole point was he got treated specially, was never held to the same expectations as his classmates. Of course he graduated magna cum laude. Many if not most big firms are tuned into the error of believing law school grades and class standing mean much of anything, and they want to see LSAT scores too."

============

You clearly didn't read the post. The Laurence Tribe example has Tribe treating Obama as a colleague specifically because of his exceptional nature, NOT because he had lowered expectations as a minority student.

As for this statement, "Many if not most big firms are tuned into the error of believing law school grades and class standing mean much of anything, and they want to see LSAT scores too," I have no idea where you're getting that. I graduated in this decade from a top law school, and I interviewed with, and now work at, a top tier "big firm", and I have NEVER been asked my LSAT score.

"Many if not most"? Really? I just walked down the hall and talked to five other associates ranging from 2nd years to 8th years, who have both been interviewed at many top firms and who have done our on-campus interviewing, and they think that statement is laughably false.

I don't disagree with you on the not-perfect law school grading system (an entire semester riding on a single, often open-book essay exam), but to pretend that big firms are clamoring for LSAT scores is false.

And seriously, top 10% at Harvard Law. The man is intelligent, don't know why you need to fight that.

ZeroVoice said...

I'll second ST's point on the HLS magna. I didn't go to HLS, but I've worked with many HLS magnas and many other people with "top" credentials (nearly all H's from US-News-higher-rated Yale, Supreme Court clerks, Biglaw partners, state and federal judges).

Although it pains me to admit it, the HLS magna is the only one of those categories that is *uniformly* compsed of people who have impressed me with their "legal intelligence" (i.e., able to build logical arguments supporting one side of a case out of precedent and the facts of that case).

To dispense with some anticipated replies:

1. My views of the unique status of the HLS magna were formed long before Obama arrived on the political scene.

2. Yes, many non-HLS-magnas are very smart. Many people who didn't go to big-name schools are very smart. Many people who didn't go to big-name schools are smarter than many people who did.

ST is also correct about the hiring process at major firms. I've been on both sides of this, and although law school grades are considered, LSATs have never been considered, in my experience. Of course, where someone goes to school is always considered, and admissions are very LSAT-dependent and becoming more so all the time, so LSAT is implicitly considered.

ZeroVoice said...

By the way, I agree that Tribe's comment about "more a colleague than a student" is over-the-top ridiculous, although I question Ann's decision constantly mock the supporters of one side constantly and mercilessly without apparently doing so for the other side. Is it really the case that only Obama's supporters make silly comments in support of their candidate?

The phenomenon of the fellow HLSers resenting Obama's being too good to Bluebook or whatever is constantly repeated throughout the legal profession. Everywhere I've worked there's been resentment of more charismatic, higher-profile people who get more attention than less charismatic, lower-profile ones. This resentment often takes the form of assertions that the high-profile person doesn't do his/her share of the "real work."

I'm wondering if AA has encountered any of this from her colleagues at Wisconsin as her fame has risen with the blog while her academic output appears to have fallen off a bit.

Ann Althouse said...

zerovoice, people here at UW appreciate alternative approaches to research and have never had a narrow-minded attitude about the importance of publishing in law journals. Quite the opposite in fact.

ZeroVoice said...

Sorry in advance for the typos in my previous post.

AA, although this blog may well contribute more to society than most law review articles - your fans certainly seem to enjoy it - it does seem like a bit of a stretch to call it "research," even "alternative" research.

I realize that you have published on this subject and I haven't read those writings, so perhaps you have replied to this point in full already.

Slim Tyranny said...

"Ann Althouse said...

zerovoice, people here at UW appreciate alternative approaches to research and have never had a narrow-minded attitude about the importance of publishing in law journals. Quite the opposite in fact."

===========

I'd also imagine that, in this digital age of online avenues for publication (in news, media, academics, etc.), having faculty with higher 'alternative' visibility only benefits the school and faculty.

So Ann, have any thoughts on those commenters dismissing Obama's magna cum laude performance at HLS as the product of a minority student riding the low expectations of affirmative action? Do you think Obama and other minority students terrified the Harvard Law faculty into good grades?

Or do you agree that, regardless of Laurence Tribe's hyperbole on Obama's exceptionalism, Obama was a strong academic performer at a top law school?

ZeroVoice said...

I would be interested in AA's thoughts on this as well. It is my understanding that most if not all HLS classes have blind grading, which would make it difficult for race to play a role in his performance. I'm not sure what the situation was in Obama's time, though.

blake said...

Sweet.

I have found it to be true that teachers are impressed favorably toward those they think are gifted. This impression can be created without actually doing much, or with relatively small gestures.

It's a savvy strategy.

Ann Althouse said...

I don't think magna at HLS can in any way be conceived of as the product of affirmative action. Just give that one up, people.

Spread Eagle said...

I don't think magna at HLS can in any way be conceived of as the product of affirmative action. Just give that one up, people.

Sorry, but he just hasn't shown any kind of achievement anywhere else. He just hasn't. They made him what he was and now is. And why hasn't he released his LSATs and SATs if he's so good?

Slim Tyranny said...

Spread Eagle said...

Sorry, but he just hasn't shown any kind of achievement anywhere else. He just hasn't. They made him what he was and now is. And why hasn't he released his LSATs and SATs if he's so good?

==================

Heh, desperation is a stinky cologne, spread eagle.

I can't believe you actually think that Obama's high school testing scores could in any way tarnish his academic accomplishments at Harvard Law. Just hilarious.

Stop denigrating his academic accomplishments --- it's a losing battle. Disagree with his policy choices, fine. But give me a break.

Spread Eagle said...

His resume is so thin that being a black Harvard law grad, magna cum laude, and president of the law review are not only his main calling cards, they are just about his only calling cards. Now we get peeks behind the curtain suggesting it was all a little irregular. It's not asking so much. I can't help but believe that if his scores were even just typical for a Columbia student and a Harvard law admittee, they'd have long ago been released.

We've seen this sort of character before. In art and in real life.

Slim Tyranny said...

Spread Eagle said...

His resume is so thin that being a black Harvard law grad, magna cum laude, and president of the law review are not only his main calling cards, they are just about his only calling cards. Now we get peeks behind the curtain suggesting it was all a little irregular. It's not asking so much. I can't help but believe that if his scores were even just typical for a Columbia student and a Harvard law admittee, they'd have long ago been released.

We've seen this sort of character before. In art and in real life.

=============

At this point, SE, I just feel sorry for you. Since you know enough about Wikipedia to link to it to compare Obama to an infamous imposter, why don't you use Wikipedia to read about Obama's professional, personal and political history? You seem to think that his achievements begin with his SAT score (unreleased! how suspicious!) and end with his Harvard Law graduation (which you still manage to denigrate).

Of course, Obama did plenty since law school. You can go to Wikipedia and read all about that.

Rather than me pointing out the truly obvious, let's focus on your crazy conspiracy theory --- what "peeks" behind the curtain lead you to doubt the veracity of his HLS success? What was "irregular"?

Like I said, I feel sorry for you. Rather than debate policy, you seem intent on lying about Obama and embracing crazy conspiracy theories to discount basic facts about the man's history.

I mean, James Hogue? Really? Seriously?

Sad.

Mr Apostrophe said...

re affirmative action

By the time Obama arrived at HLS it had already been dumbed down by critical race theory and other BS. Obama was mentored by that dumb racist, Derrick Bell, a gross example of what happens when standards are relaxed.

Here are some troubling facts about Obama's intelligence:

1. Even though he applied to college in the heyday of race preferences, he had to settle for Occidental College. He then transferred to Columbia where he took no classes from distinguished professors.

2. It is common knowledge that "minority" admits to HLS are 2-3 SDs below the nonpreferred

3. Obama published nothing at U Chicago Law, yet he was offered a tenured position there.

Let's be frank: the DEGREE of preference for blacks in our society is outrageous. In the film business, it's referred to as being "brilliant like Spike Lee."

Mr Apostrophe said...

re grade inflation at Harvard

Professor Harvey Mansfield has published extensively on that subject. Do a Google search.

Barack Obama has no original ideas. He's nothing but a '60s socialist with preacher skills.

The upside is that the American people are getting wise to this charlatan,

Mr Apostrophe said...

re previous post

Mansfie;d tied Harvard's grade inflation to appeasing blacks--and of course where Harvard goes...