Never Let Law Profs Near the Oval Office

Constitutional law professors should be kept as far away from nuclear weapons as possible.

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Sure, we were bombing Libya, but we weren't engaged in "hostilities," you see. As Orwell once put it, "you have to belong to the intelligentsia to believe things like that. No ordinary man could be such a fool."

More recently, in order to ram through several appointments, Obama summarily declared that the Senate was in recess, despite the fact that the Senate's own rules said it was in session.

It's almost enough to make you miss George W. Bush's ham-fisted "I'm the decider" approach to constitutional law. "I'll do what I want" is a less insulting legal argument than "I'm not doing what you think I'm doing."

My Cato Institute colleague Walter Olson, author of "Schools for Misrule: Legal Academia and an Over-lawyered America", explains that "legal academia rewards cleverness in coming up with strained arguments for ideologically favored (or just expedient) positions; marginalizes as eccentric thinkers who favor original understanding as a guide" to the Constitution and often reduces law to "politics by other means."

Unfortunately, that training has served Obama well.

Gene Healy is a vice president at the Cato Institute and author of The Cult of the Presidency: America's Dangerous Devotion to Executive Power (Cato 2008).

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  • "Furious" Styles||


    Apparently, Elevatorgate has turned a lot of the skeptic movement into femo-fascists intent on controlling speech.

    It's a shame. Penn Jillette and Teller helped to introduce me to the skeptics movement. Other than libertarianism, skepticism was something I felt passionate about. Unfortunately, if the movers and shakers in the movement decide to restrict speech, I don't feel that I can participate anymore.

    Bonus: Use your word search tool to look for "libertarian" or "privilege" or any combination of the two in the comments section.

  • Almanian||

    Cool story, bro

  • rather||

    He did the same to me; and the asshole as reading comprehension ...another ASD

  • ||

    Because the entire skeptic movement is represented by the leftist retards at freethoughtblogs.

  • ||

    I'm so offended that I just bought tickets to go see Penn. . .and Teller.

  • ||

    As I said earlier today... authoritarian atheists are missing the point.

  • lily||

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  • Almanian||

    And since you're bringing this up on Obamster's watch instead of Clinton's....


  • tarran||

    Constitutional law professors Politicians should be kept as far away from nuclear weapons as possible.


  • ||

    Constitutional law professors Politicians should be kept as far away from nuclear weapons as possible.


  • tarran||

    Yes, that is much improved.

    how about this:

    Constitutional law professors Politicians should be kept as far away from nuclear weapons everything and everyone as possible.
  • fish||

    Constitutional law professors Politicians should be kept as far away from nuclear weapons as possible.

    Politicians should be kept as pets.

    Really FTFY!

  • heo||

    Would you really pet a politician? If so, which one? Barbara Mikulski? Maxine Waters? Anthony Weiner?

  • Old Salt||

    Beating a politician about the head and shoulders with a tire iron COULD be considered a form of petting...

  • heo||

    heavy petting ... and the tire iron makes it heavy-metal petting

  • ||

    I believe Obama was a lecturer in constitutional law, not a professor.

  • ||

    Yeah, this keeps getting thrown around. I think the same was said of Clinton. I'm pretty sure both were adjuncts and not actual faculty. And yes, there's a big difference.

    I've known plenty of law professors who weren't pure academic types, so I'm not sure this reasoning holds true on any general level.

  • heo||

    I'm pretty sure both were adjuncts and not actual faculty. And yes, there's a big difference.

    Tenure track = liked and respected enough to be given a shot at being part of the unfireable club.

    Adjunct professor = cheesy way to add diversity to the law school brochure or patronage to allow radical leftist agitators to agitate without having to worry about how to pay their rent or under-the-radar way of allowing political radicals to spread their whack-o political views in law school courses.

    It is rarely the case that an adjunct professor meets the normal standards of talent, training and experience for faculty hires. Always remind people that Obama was never a professor; don't let the Obama myth take hold.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    University of Chicago put out some mealy-mouthed statement after Barry got elected that said "yes, he was an adjunct, but he was a SENIOR adjunct, which is not a professor, but totally like a professor in regards to the esteem and respect we all had for him. And we offered him a professor job a dozen times but he was too busy with his job as a ward boss community organizer to devote his full time and brilliance to our students."

  • ||

    Being an adjunct doesn't mean you aren't qualified to be a true professor, but it doesn't mean you are, either. I was offered an adjunct position at a law school (as a part-time, one-class gig) when I'd only been working for a few years. Actually, I think I could've done that at Ohio State, too, if I'd wanted to.

  • ||

    The pay was pretty shitty, which is why I never did it. I briefly considered becoming a real law professor, but I prefer reality to academia.

  • ||

    Constititional scholarship is jargon for realizng that the Supreme Court can ignore what is written in the Constitution whenever a majority chooses to do so.

  • Colonel_Angus||

    I never gave much of a shat about those kinds of anal hoidy toidy distinctions. To a student, they are all some kind of instructor.

  • EscapedWestOfTheBigMuddy||

    In my case Adjunct Professor = a godsend bridging the two and a half month gap between post-docs.

    And though teaching is demanding and grading exams sucks I had a grand time and hope to be little better at it the next time out.

  • Colonel_Angus||

    "It is rarely the case that an adjunct professor meets the normal standards of talent, training and experience for faculty hires."

    You are giving too much credit to the subsidized higher education system. Its either a professor/instructor, or an assistant. At least they are cutting down on the almighty PHD requirement crap.

  • Colonel_Angus||

    Also, qualifications don't mean shit to academic cliques.

  • ChrisO||

    The only adjunct faculty I had exposure to in law school were typically practitioners teaching as a part-time gig. Often, they were better teachers and better informed about the realities of practicing law than the patched-elbow-jacket set were.

    Law school is a weird beast that way, since it's really more of a fancified trade school than a legitimate academic discipline. Trust me, nobody in the real world of law practice gives two shits about what law professors think about...anything.

  • ||

    I trust you. That is why new graduates can't write a simple will or do anything else. I wish that law schools taught as well as trade schools.

  • ||

    Depends on the course. And the school.

    It is mostly a trade school now, even at the top schools.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    How about keeping attorneys in general from sitting at the Resolute desk?

  • ||

    Let's start with executing all the lawyers. Preferably the Florida ones first.

  • ||


  • ||

    Fuck you. No, seriously. Fuck you.

  • ||

    Well, okay, I guess.

  • AuH20||

    Gents, I need some Excel 2010 help. How do I add a vertical line in a line chart that I can later label, to show a change in business strategem?

    Also, who designed Excel 2010 to make it as un-intuitive as humanly possible?

  • rather||

    a man

  • rather||

    and on that topic, all the POTUS have been the weaker sex; ergo, we need Presidents with one head.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Really? I don't know about you, but I gave up on all that 'girls have cooties; boys smell" stuff when I was ten.

  • rather||

    What a coincidence, I gave up on boys when I was ten too

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    And moved on to Jade Dragons?

  • rather||

  • heo||

    Obviously, "giving up" on boys and "staying off" of the boys are two different things in your world.

  • rather||

    -they are just not my equal

  • ||

    we need Presidents with one head

    That's just hysterical (hystera -> uterus).

  • rather||

    A clever little boy from Budapest; how interesting.

    BTW, thanks for visiting my website

  • tarran||

    What kind of chart is it?

    If it is an x,y chart define a series with two data points with the same x value and different y values and present it with the line type that you desire.

    Alternately, once you are done editing the chart, draw a line manually over the chart as a separate and distinct object.

  • Restoras||

    Have you tried the Drawing tool bar?

    Excel is better than Word - but not by much - and Word sucks ass.

  • Jonsiegs||

    Just draw a line across the time frame you want. Then put a text box on it. However, as you adjust your graph you'll have to move the line (or attach it to the plot using the group function).

    Create a secondary axis using some O data. In the Chart Tools | Layout section - use the Axes | Secondary HORIZONTAL Axis options to move the vertical axis to the place you'd like. Turn off all the text, tick marks etc for the secondary axis.

  • Tim||

    Bush Junior was dumb as a stone and he too managed to mangle the Contstitution.

  • Tim||

    sorry for the misspell on "cuntstitution"

  • ||

    You mean GW Bush, the ONLY PoTUS to ever hold a MBA? Oh, and not only a MBA but one from Harvard? If they were giving those out to politically connected people, why didn't Al Gore get one?

    Who is as "dumb as a stone"?

  • heo||

    Al Gore has made more money than GWB, even though Gore doesn't have a Harvard MBA. So who's really the smart one?

  • ||

    Obviously not the people who are giving money to Al Gore.

  • ||


  • ||

    The most rabid freedom-lover I know is a mechanical engineer.

  • ||

    I don't know about the others, but I'm pretty sure that Wilson was never a con law professor. He practiced law for a couple of years, decided it didn't agree with him, and went back to school to get a Ph.D. in government. After that, he taught government, not con law. (There obviously may have been con law elements to what he taught, but he wasn't a law professor.)

  • Max||

    Why do market-worshiping right-wing libertarian cults make bad political movements? Because they're peddling shit nobody is buying. Donate now, fuckers!

  • Max||


    Bad Yorkie...indeed a bad Yorkie!

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Maxipad,

    Why do market-worshiping[...]

    As opposed to state-worshipping, I'd wager.

  • Kwanzaa Cake||

    Speaking as a lawyer, I can confirm that we pretty much don't know shit about anything useful, but are convinced that we're geniuses. In truth, we're massively overpaid, moderately talented (at best) paper-pushers. It is no surprise that our dysfunctional, bloated, utterly corrupt government is staffed to the brim with lawyers.

  • ||

    Maybe you could explain to me why very few lawyers are able to sign their name legibly?

  • memories lighting the corners||

    Obama proclaimed shortly after his inauguration, "we must never, ever, turn our back on its enduring principles for expedience's sake."

    ... some held out hope that this former law professor would be "our first civil libertarian president," as the New Republic's Jeffrey Rosen put it. In January 2009, Rosen argued that, as a constitutional scholar, Obama was "likely to articulate constitutional positions and then conform his presidential actions to them rather than take positions and then rely on lawyers to justify them."

    paraphrasing Obama from memory, from his NPR interview,

    "The Founding Fathers were completely blind to the idea of wealth redistribution"

    Anybody who thought Obama, the low-level political agitator who insisted that the FFs didn't know about or understand wealth redistribution, would be a "civil libertarian president" was either lying to themselves or were complete fools. The Reason staff needs to publicly flagellate themselves for supporting the giant douche from Chicago.

  • Osama bin Laden||

    I agree with this article COMPLETELY!

  • Slobodan Milosovic||

    || THIS! ||

  • Muammar Gaddafi||


  • Dead Babies form US Bombs||

    Fuck you three AND the American presidents who thought that killing us was worth killing them.

  • we||

    Yes. Lesser intellectuals would surely be less creative about subverting limits on their power, and more likely to respect constitutional niceties. E.g., Reagan (ransoming terrorist-held hostages with anti-tank weapons to Iran); Nixon (secretly bombing Cambodia).

  • cynical||

    Yeah, even if they aren't the sort of assholes who spend their days dreaming up legal sophistries to avoid obeying the law, they certainly have some of those working for them.

  • Oso Politico||

    Alt Title: Never Let Community Organizers Near the Oval Office

  • ||

    Sometimes it just really makes you wonder man, I mean like wow.

  • Realist||

    "Never Let Law Profs Near the Oval Office"
    Same for Econ prof.

  • ||

    Obama asserts that drone strikes and firing missiles is not waging war, therefore he doesn't need Congressional approval to do so.

    This sets a very dangerous precedent. One of the definitions of treason, and the basis for some of the other charges that are pressed against U.S. citizens caught supporting Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups, is waging war against the United States. But if it's not waging war to fire missiles or use remotely-piloted drone aircraft, it would mean it's not treason or an act of war to do so against the U.S. either.

    The President can't have it both ways.


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