The New York Times shared a screenshot Friday of their 1990 profile of Obama, which ran after he became the first black student elected to preside over the Review. Presidencies can exert substantial influence over the direction of the U.S. criminal justice system. By Tammerlin Drummond Times Staff Writer Barack Obama stares silently at a wall of fading black-and-white photographs in the muggy second-floor offices of the Harvard Law Review. © 2020 the President and Fellows of Harvard College. “He tended not to enter these debates and disputes but rather bring people together and forge compromises,” says Bradford Berenson ’91, who was among the relatively small number of conservatives on the Law Review staff. Professor Kenneth Mack ’91, his classmate and friend, says Obama didn’t speak much at first about other aspects of his unique background, including a childhood spent in Hawaii and Indonesia or the fact that his mother was white. We were struck, of course, by the honor of publishing the first work of legal scholarship by a sitting president — and in this case, a president whom we’re proud to count among the alumni (and former presidents) of our journal. Yuji Iwasawa LL.M. “Barack’s identity, his sense of self was so settled,” recalled Cassandra Butts ’91, who met him in line at the financial aid office, in an interview with PBS’ “Frontline.” “He didn’t strike us in law school as someone who was searching for himself.”. “That said, had Obama’s father come from Kentucky, not Kenya, and been named O’Hara, not Obama, there would have been no Harvard Law Review, no Harvard, no Columbia for the former president.” If it wasn’t for the fact his dad was an alumnus of Harvard, and some back door deals , Barack would never have made it into that coveted university. Artur Davis ‘93 still vividly recalls how much Obama inspired him with a speech he gave during orientation week on striving for excellence and mastery. “You could see many of his attributes, approach to politics and ability to bring people together back then,” says Michael Froman ’91, who worked with Obama on the Law Review. The new president of the Review is Barack Obama, a 28-year-old graduate of Columbia University … The job is considered the highest student position at Harvard Law School. Obama helped research a complicated article Tribe wrote making connections between physics and constitutional law as well as a book about abortion. Barack Obama's Law Personality: Harvard Law Review's first black president plans a life of public service. The following year, Obama enrolled in Tribe’s constitutional law course. Those privileged to serve as President and in senior roles in the executive branch have an obligation to use that influence to enhance the fairness and effectiveness of the justice system at all phases. Barack Obama was a top law student. How we treat citizens who make mistakes (even serious mistakes), pay their debt to society, and deserve a second chance reflects who we are as a people and reveals a lot about our character and commitment to our fo… Now I’m the president of the Harvard Law Review, and I’ve just had the privilege of helping to publish an article on criminal justice reform by the President of the United States. Speaking for myself, as well, this piece has special resonance. He arrived on campus at the age of 27 in the fall of 1988, older than many of his classmates after a stint as a community organizer in Chicago. Obama’s performance inside and outside the classroom attracted more notice than his distinctive personal story. https://www.biography.com/video/barack-obama-harvard-2079148148 Barack Obama, the first African-American president of the Harvard Law Review, was born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia and Hawaii. This piece was originally published on Medium on January 4, 2016. In the spring of his first year at law school, Obama stopped by the office of Professor Laurence Tribe ’66 inquiring about becoming a research assistant. How have U.S. presidents found ways to expand their powers to achieve their goals? November 1, 2008. Tribe likes to say he had taught about 4,000 students before Obama and another 4,000 since, yet none has impressed him more. Putting the 2020 race in historical context and considering its impact on our democracy, From grappling with the challenges of an unprecedented health crisis to addressing longstanding racial injustices, HLS affiliates respond, From law and forgiveness to politics and the integrity of the Supreme Court to an insider’s view on foreign policy, HLS faculty tackle big issues with scholarship, candor, and compassion. Receiving support and praise from students and professors, Barack H. Obama was named the 104th president of the Harvard Law Review, becoming the legal journal's … Obama first made history at HLS. Professor Martha Minow recalls: “He had a kind of eloquence and respect from his peers that was really quite remarkable,” Minow says. President Barack Obama became the first black president 25 years ago today -- of the Harvard Law Review, that is. The President’s piece offers a kind of map: a guide to today’s complicated, varied legal terrain, and a set of tools to help navigate and shape it. Putting the 2020 race in historical context and considering its impact on our democracy, From grappling with the challenges of an unprecedented health crisis to addressing longstanding racial injustices, HLS affiliates respond, From law and forgiveness to politics and the integrity of the Supreme Court to an insider’s view on foreign policy, HLS faculty tackle big issues with scholarship, candor, and compassion. '91, now president-elect of the United States, also came to the attention of the wider University community. He was so impressed in fact, that he hired Obama on the spot—and wrote his name and phone number on his calendar that day—March 31, 1989—for posterity. And we work hard as student editors not only because the work is theoretically challenging, but also because it advances ideas that can have a real-world impact on issues that are important to us. The work also follows in a rich tradition of scholarship shaped by an author’s lived experience of the law.
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