The Vetting: Obama Teaches Constitutional Law — Part II

Yesterday, we explored President Barack Obama’s teachings at the University of Chicago Law School from 1996. We explored the first question (and answer) of his December 1996 final exam. Today, we move on to the second question.

To recap: question 1 revealed that President Obama does not believe that “tradition” is an important justification for laws; that he thinks childbearing and childrearing have almost nothing to do with marriage; and that legal realism is the way judicial decisions get made – i.e. that judges make decisions according to their own politics, rather than based on statute or law.

Question 2 is even more interesting, and sheds light on how deeply Obama was influenced by Derrick Bell’s Critical Race Theory.



This question concerns a fictional “Mayor Dudley Duright,” the first African-American mayor of Wazoo City. The population of the city is 50 percent black and 50 percent white, and highly segregated.

The Mayor decides to deal with two issues: racial disparities in city contracting, and racial disparities in the city’s Fire Department (foreshadowing the Ricci case, in which Justice Sonia Sotomayor was overruled).

Obama’s fictional mayor hits on two solutions. To deal with city contracting, he takes money from Project HOPE (Obama’s already doing the hope thing) and uses it to help firms located principally in the “low-income community,” as a proxy for race.

To deal with the disparity in racial composition of the Fire Department, the Mayor implements a plan wherein everyone takes a basic competence exam, and then a lottery takes place to select firefighters. The firefighters’ union in the state of Wazoo quickly launches a referendum to stop the plan, and use one based on merit through testing.

So, are these measures constitutional? Let’s look to Obama’s answer sheet.

Here’s Obama’s analysis of the contracting plan:

Read the rest at  The Vetting: Obama Teaches Constitutional Law — Part II.

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