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May 05, 2009


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Very thoughtful post--thanks for this. Can we draw any inference about President Obama's method of selection based on other appointments he's made? I didn't think that Senator Biden would be Obama's vice-presidential pick, for instance. (Which may suggest that he'll go in a different direction from what the "conventional wisdom" thinks. It may also suggest what he values in a nominee?)

Jacqueline Lipton

Great post. I read the article over the weekend and was actually perplexed by something else. I thought that Obama was only an adjunct professor at U Chicago, but in the article there's a photograph of him sitting at a desk in his faculty office there. Does U Chicago give faculty offices to adjuncts, or was he a visitor or more permanent faculty member? I've read both of his books, but I couldn't remember if he was very clear on that point.

Howard Wasserman

My understanding is that he was a full-time faculty member, just not on the tenure track. He was teaching 1L classes (one of my friends had him for Con Law), which he obviously would not do as an adjunct.

Adam Benforado

It’s an interesting question whether we can gain insight into Obama’s likely Supreme Court picks from his other appointments. On a certain level, this seems a more promising route than delving into his time as a professor and I don’t doubt that choosing Joe Biden as VP and Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State reveals something about Obama’s approach/values/etc. The problem is that Supreme Court appointments are so different from anything else: among other things, the appointments are for life; after confirmation, appointees are not subject to continued “control” by the President; and the appointments tend to occur outside of the direct context of an election. These are all powerful factors that significantly alter the playing field . . . In any case, I look forward to seeing how this all unfolds!

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