Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Law reviews: nobody reads them

A post on politico titled Obama kept Law Review balanced gives some analysis of Barack Obama's tenure as President of the Harvard Law Review.

One has the obligatory:

Obama might have had it right while he was running the journal, when he reportedly ended minor disputes with the words, "Just remember, folks: Nobody reads it."

There is reference to Michael McDonnell (then a prof at UChicago Law, and, separately, brother of Senator Mitch McConnell):

Once a piece is set, the president also sends a letter or fax and makes a follow-up phone call to each author. Federal Judge Michael W. McConnell, who was nominated by President Bush and has frequently been mentioned as one of Bush’s potential Supreme Court nominees, recalls receiving one such letter and call in early 1990 for his article “The Origins and Historical Understanding of Free Exercise of Religion.”

McConnell told 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 impressed enough to urge the University of Chicago Law School to seek Obama out as an academic prospect.

[Obama did teach at UChicago Law.]


"To understand what someone else is trying to say isn't just an editorial skill," said McConnell. "It's a life skill.”


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