ABA Midyear Meeting 2009

Prof. Tribe Hints He's Available for DC Gig

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Harvard Law School Professor Laurence Tribe began his speech accepting the American Bar Foundation’s Outstanding Scholar Award on Saturday night cloaked in an air of valedictory. But that quickly gave way to a peek into his hypothetical future.

He reflected on recently starting his latest class in constitutional law, which marked his 40th year as a professor at Harvard. He had to forgo that assignment last year as he underwent six weeks of daily radiation treatment for what proved to be a benign brain tumor, he said.

He recalled the student rosters of his con law classes past, which have included Cass Sunstein, nominated to serve as President Barack Obama’s “regulatory czar”; Solicitor General nominee Elena Kagan; Chief Justice John Roberts; and Obama himself, who Tribe advised during the campaign.

Though, of those last two, “I didn’t teach either of them the oath exactly right,” Tribe joked.

He turned to his own public service, which he said he has done “mostly indirectly” through teaching and writing—not the course of his life he had anticipated as a young man.

“I can’t say that I don’t still think about” serving in government, he said. “If the time comes when I’m asked to serve, I’ll seriously consider it.”

It sounded to some ears as if he’s already purchased his ticket on the Boston-D.C. shuttle—or would at least like to make a reservation soon.

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