Sunday, June 10, 2012

Warren's Character Sets Her Apart

To the editor:

Let's put the facts on the table. First, it is complete nonsense to insinuate that Warren obtained any affirmative action advantage in her being hired as a full professor at several of the best law schools in the country. Such was the statement of the noted Professor Charles Fried, who served as U.S. Solicitor General under President Reagan - one agreed with by all those involved in the hiring process. Second, any school would be fortunate to have Warren on their faculty. 

It is not disputed that Warren is a remarkable teacher. No wonder Harvard actively recruited her! At the U. of Pennsylvania her peers and students selected her for the Lindback Award for distinguished teaching (in 1994). At Harvard, two graduating classes - for the first time in the school's history - selected her as best law school teacher (the Sacks-Freund Teaching Award).
The fact that she is a great teacher is evident from NPR's recent report based on interviews with 60 former students - including those who clerked for a number of conservative Supreme Court Justices. The reporter "... could not find one former student with anything negative to say about Warren." Rather, their comments affirmed that Warren was the type of teacher who cared deeply about her students, was supremely generous with her time, was witty, wise and "cool", and made a significant positive contribution to their personal and professional lives. We should all be lucky enough to have such a teacher!

A person who cares deeply about doing the best job she can, who listens and empathizes, who gives generously of her time - even when there is no remunerative reward, who communicates effectively with those of diverse backgrounds and political leanings, and who will go the extra mile to help others - surely this is a person with the kind of character and seriousness we respect and admire. As Elizabeth Warren's teaching history shows, we are fortunate to have her running as a candidate for the U.S. Senate.

Lois Karfunkel