Obama Was Popular Law Prof Who Didn't Publish or Take Tenure
Barack Obama refined his public speaking style and his beliefs during his 12 years teaching law at the University of Chicago.
But he did not publish any legal scholarship, and he did not accept a tenured position, the New York Times reports. His critics view the lack of scholarship as part of an effort to keep his views to himself so they would not be cited by political opponents.
The story describes Obama as a popular professor who joked with students, used first names and was as familiar with popular culture as with case law. Already the term “groupies” was being used to refer to his followers, although back then they were law students rather than political supporters.
Obama’s lessons may have helped him as well as his students.
“Before he outraised every other presidential primary candidate in American history, Mr. Obama marched students through the thickets of campaign finance law,” the Times story says. “Before he helped redraw his own state Senate district, making it whiter and wealthier, he taught districting as a racially fraught study in how power is secured. And before he posed what may be the ultimate test of racial equality—whether Americans will elect a black president—he led students through African-Americans’ long fight for equal status.”