Thursday, July 31, 2008

How Obama Got into Law Teaching

This revelation from a New Republic article was new to me, but based on what I know of Mike McConnell, I'm not surprised that he would have done something like this:
Obama first came to the University of Chicago Law School's attention via one of its more celebrated conservative faculty members, Michael McConnell, who's now a federal judge on the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals and reportedly was on George W. Bush's short list of potential Supreme Court nominees. Back in 1990, when McConnell was still teaching at Chicago, he wrote an article about church-state relations for the Harvard Law Review that Obama, who was then the Law Review's president, edited. As McConnell recently recalled the experience to Politico: "A frequent problem with student editors is that they try to turn an article into something they want it to be. It was striking that Obama didn't do that. He tried to make it better from my point of view." McConnell was so impressed with Obama that he recommended him to the head of Chicago's appointments committee at the time, Douglas Baird, a bankruptcy expert and a law-and-economics devotee. "Michael's a very smart guy who's basically a very good judge of horse flesh--he wouldn't typically recommend people," says Baird.


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