As a point of clarification, Senator Barack Obama was hired as a Lecturer by the University of Chicago Law School in 1996. By the time he quit in 2004, his title had changed to Senior Lecturer. Lecturer's do not have tenure. For the most part, I would say that people who refer to Obama as "professor" do so in a generic way, and that was my intent in my previous article. It is not an indication that Obama had completed many years of research and writing, achieved promotions, and finally earned tenure. Students in particular are notorious for calling all faculty members "professor" irrespective of the facts. The media, of course, should know better. This issue was raised recently on WND.
If you want to crawl inside Barack Obama's mind, you can do so here by reading each of these exams. There is also one syllabus. If it's true that Obama taught about three courses a year, then this list is very incomplete. Frankly, I would like to see all of his syllabi and course materials, but for now this is all we have to work with. If anyone has access to old teaching materials that don't appear here, I hope you'll let me know.
Since Barack Obama will be choosing a nominee for the Supreme Court, readers might want to pay particular attention to the 1999 exam.
Preceding each document is a description of its contents. Misspellings are in the originals.
Current Issues in Racism and the Law - a 1994 syllabus
Part 1. You have just passed the bar in the State of Nirvana. Rather than toil in a large law firm, you decide to open your own practice, and advertise yourself as a general practitioner with a specialty in family law. Last week, two men, Richard and Michael, walked into you office and asked for your help. You learn that they are a monogamous, gay couple who have been living together for the past ten years. Both men are successful architects, and after devoting the past decade on their respective careers, they have now decided that they want to marry and raise children together.
Part 2. You have recently accepted a new job in the general counsel's office of the State of Utopia's new governor, Arnold Watzanager. Not only does the job entail substantial responsibilities, but you are a big fan on the former movie-star, and have seen all of his movies multiple times. This week, the governor has asked you to examine a couple of very sensitive political issues.
Part 1. New Prosperity is the capital of Prosperity, a midwestern state in the United States. Like many medium-sized, midwestern cities, New Prosperity went through tough economic times in the 1980s, as manufacturing plants closed and high-tech industries located in surrounding suburbs. Also like many large midwestern cities, New Prosperity suffers from long-standing patterns of housing segregation: most of the thirty percent of New Prosperity's population that is black resides in an impoverished enclave -- known as Hardsville -- on the west side of town.
Part 2. Eight years ago, Tony and Cleo married and settled in the State of Nirvana, a state in the United States. For over five years, the couple tried to have a child without medical intervention, but was unsuccessful. Doctors are uncertain as to why the couple failed to conceive in the traditional manner: Tony's sperm count is normal, and although Cleo is thirty-nine, and hence near the end of her childbearing years, her reproductive system seems normal as well.
Part 1. On January 11, 2002, a renewed wave of terrorist attacks begins in major cities across the country. Specifically, a deadly airborne (but non-contagious) chemical toxin called rioxin is released into the ventilation systems of high-rises and shopping malls throughout the east and west coasts. Trucks containing the hazardous material are purposely crashed inside major tunnels. Rioxin is released throughout major subway lines, and letters and parcels contaminated with the material are discovered throughout the postal system. In the first month of these attacks, an estimated 50,000 people are killed. An additional 500,000 people are infected with rioxin, and are inundating hospitals throughout the country seeking treatment.
Part 2. After five years of marriage, Maria, a corporate attorney, and Arnold, an
international financier, have decided it’s time to conceive their first child. It is not an easy decision for them. Both have high-octane careers that take them traveling
throughout the world, and both passionately engage in (and excel at) a variety of athletic, intellectual and artistic pursuits: Maria is a former Olympic skier and an accomplished pianist, while Arnold is a world-class triathelete and chess master.
Part 1. Utopia State University is (not surprisingly given its name) a state university located in Utopia, a state in the United States. Recently USU, as it is affectionately known, hired a new President, and since the new President is a smart lady, she has hired you to serve as USU's provost and general counsel. One of the President's top priorities is increase diversity among USU's student body. The task is not an easy one. Utopia, like most Southern states, maintained de jure segregation with respect to all public facilities -- including elementary schools, secondary schools, and institutions of higher learning -- until laws were struck down in the U.S. Supreme Court's 1954 decision, Brown v. Board of Education. Massive resistance on the part of elected officials and much of the white population resulted in de facto school segregation for at least an additional decade.
Part 2. You are still the provost and general counsel at USU. You have just completed your analysis of the two new admission policies she is proposing, and enter the President's office prepared to discuss them. Unfortunately, the President has a more immediate -- albeit not unrelated -- concern on her mind, and asks for your help. It seems that last week, the members of the USU Law Review voted to include gay and lesbian law students in the category of minorities that are covered by its affirmative action policy.
Part 3. Abe and Sarah are a wealthy, professional married couple in their early forties who live in the State of Nirvana, a state in the United States. For several years, they tried unsuccessfully to have children through natural means. After consultation with a fertility specialist, they discovered Abe's sperm was normal. Sarah's ovaries and womb were damaged in such a way that she would never be able to bear children, even with the assistance of in vitro fertilization technology.
Part 1. After completing a year-long appellate court clerkship and a well-deserved monthlong vacation in Fiji, you have finally settled into your work as a litigation associate at a well-regarded plaintiffs firm in the state of Nirvana. Most of the work involves medical malpractice and product liability lawsuits, but one day your supervising partner -- who knows your interest in civil rights work -- asks you to sit in on a meeting with a group of clients whom the firm is representing on an Equal Protection Clause claim.
Part 2. For the past decade, State Senator Bob Thomas, a senior Democratic member of
the Nirvana General Assembly, has been one of the leaders of the state’s anti-abortion movement. A devout Catholic who also opposes the death penalty and champions the interests of children and the poor, Senator Thomas has introduced and passed a variety of bills designed to limit abortion in the state, including informed consent requirements, waiting period requirements, parental consent requirements, and a prohibition on the use of state funds for funding abortion services. Most recently, he passed legislation, signed by the Governor, that prohibits doctors from carrying out so-called “partial birth” abortions in the State of Nirvana; implementation of that law has thus far been stayed pending review of its constitutionality by the United States Supreme Court.
Part 3. In discussing the on-going controversy with respect to the Supreme Court’s
“substantive due process” jurisprudence, Professor Cass Sunstein makes the following
The received wisdom is that Lochner was wrong because it involved "judicial activism"...
[But it is possible] to understand Lochner from a different point of view. For the Lochner Court, neutrality, understood in a particular way, was a constitutional requirement. The key concepts here are threefold: governmental inaction, the existing distribution of wealth and entitlements, and the baseline set by the common law. Governmental intervention was constitutionally troublesome, whereas inaction was not; and both neutrality and inaction were defined as respect for the behavior of private actors pursuant to the common law, in light of the existing distribution of wealth and entitlements...
[If] Lochner is understood in these terms, its heirs are not [cases like] Roe v. Wade, but instead such decisions as Washington v. Davis,... Regents of California v. Bakke, and various cases immunizing those who are thought not to be "state actors" from constitutional constraints.Conlaw3.Obama.1999
Part 1. New Prosperity is the capital of Prosperity, a midwestern state in the United States. Like many medium-sized, midwestem cities, New Prosperity went through tough economic times in the 1980s, as manufacturing plants closed and high-tech industries located in surrounding suburbs. Also like many large midwestem cities, New Prosperity suffers from long-standing patterns of housing segregation: most of the thirty percent of New Prosperity’s population that is black resides in an impoverished enclave - known as Hardsville -- on the west side of town.
Part 2. Eight years ago, Tony and Cleo married and settled in the State of Nirvana, a state
in the United States. For over five years, the couple tried to have a child without medical intervention, but were unsuccessful. Doctors are uncertain as to why the couple failed to conceive in the traditional manner: Tony’s sperm count is normal, and although Cleo is thirty-nine, and hence near the end of her childbearing years, her reproductive system seems normal as well.
Part 1. Mary and Joseph, a married couple in their early fifties, are residents of
Bethlehem City, which is located in Futura, a state in the United States of America. Last year, their 23 year old daughter, Dolly, a second-year medical student at Futura State University, was in a serious car accident. Dolly sustained severe head injuries as a result of the accident, and was already unconscious when removed from the wreck. Despite the best efforts of the doctors at Bethlehem Medical Center, Dolly has been in a persistent vegetative state for the past year. She survives only with the assistance of respiratory, feeding and hydration tubes, and shows no sign of brain function. Doctors have indicated to Mary and Joseph that Dolly has no prospects whatsoever for recovery, and that the removal of the life-support system currently in place will cause Dolly’s death.
Part 2. Splitsville is a large Northern city in the State of Wazoo, with a population that is approximately 45 percent black, 40 percent white, and 10 percent Latino, and 5 percent Asian. Like many urban centers, Splitsville has major problems with its public schools.
1996 Obama's answers (memorandum)
Part 1. Helen, a forty-year old registered nurse, comes into your office seeking
your best legal advice regarding possible constitutional claims against the State of
Wazoo. Wazoo is a state in the United States. Helen informs you that she is a
lesbian, and that she has been involved in a monogamous relationship with - and
has shared a household with -- her partner, Rachel, for the past seven years. The
two of them moved to the State of Wazoo just six months ago, in part so they
could be closer to Rachel’s ailing mother.
Part 2. Two years ago, Mayor Dudley Duright was elected as the first African-American mayor of Wazoo City. Wazoo City is the largest city in the State of Wazoo, with a population that is roughly 50 percent African-American and 50 percent white. The population is remarkably segregated, with almost 80 percent of all African-Americans residing in the city’s South Side, and almost 90 percent of whites residing in the city’s North Side. In winning the election, Mayor Duright garnered almost 95 percent of the African-American vote, and less than 15 percent of the white vote.
Obama's answers (memorandum)