Elizabeth Warren Drops Harvard Course at Last Minute

Following closely on the reporting that Wall Street has resigned itself to having Elizabeth Warren recess appointed to head the Consumer Finance Protection Board, the WaPo reports that she has backed out of teaching a Harvard class at the last minute.

“I’m writing to let you know that Professor Jerry Frug will be teaching your Contracts class this term instead of Professor Elizabeth Warren,” law school dean Martha Minow wrote to students on Tuesday, according to an e-mail obtained by The Washington Post. “Professor Warren regrets that she will not be able to teach you this fall and we regret the last minute change.”

Of course, Dawn Johnsen canceled over a year of law school classes before she got hung out to dry by the Administration. So while this is an intriguing development, don’t count any consumer protection chickens yet.

  1. phred says:

    : ) I doubt that Warren would bail on teaching unless an appointment was in the offing. She is a very smart woman and I doubt that she would cool her heels for a semester or two hoping for confirmation. After what happened to Johnsen, why would she? Dems are in serious serious trouble for November, serious enough that Obama will likely hold his nose and appoint Warren. Ha. Serves him right. And finally, a little ray of sunshine might be coming our way, in spite of him : ) I bet Rahm is pissed ; )

      • BoxTurtle says:

        I sure hope she got something in writing. Because IMO ObamaLLP is looking for a reason not to appoint her.

        Wonder if Dodd is trying to quietly call in some favors. His welfare plan might well depend on him blocking Warren.

        Every time my tinfoil slips off, I worry that the MOTU’s dislike Warren enough that she should stay out of small planes.

        Boxturtle (With the tinfoil on, I worry about other treacheries)

    • lakeeffectsnow says:

      Others noted that Kelly had been in touch with BBC journalist Andrew Gilligan that month about Britain’s dossier on Iraq’s alleged weapons of mass destruction. He’d also emailed then-New York Times reporter Judith Miller the day before he was found dead.

      have always wondered did judyjudyjudy tip someone off after receiving correspondence from Kelly and that led him to getting whacked ??? ( he did get whacked – he did not commit suicide. )

      Miller was instrumental to selling the war in the United States, as one of the Times’ top reporters on WMDs. Some elements of Miller’s reporting later turned out to be patently false.

      still amazed / disgusted that she is not in prison but is actually back on the teevee and living the high life.

      and michael gordon is still spewing his bullshit at the nyt.

      it is all just so gd amazing / disgusting.

      • phred says:

        I wondered the same thing. I’m not a conspiracy theorist, but I wouldn’t trust Judy further than I could throw her (which is not at all, the most I could manage is a pretty solid nudge ; )

        I wonder why Kelly thought he could trust her? Perhaps he thought she was honestly mistaken in her reporting as opposed to actively batting for Team Cheney.

  2. fatster says:

    David Dayen over at the News Desk says she seems to be still scheduled to teach other classes, though. Soooooo, we’re back to reading tea-leaves of entrails or cloud formations.

  3. b2020 says:

    Has Timmeh had enough time to fuck up the organization she might or might not head yet? We know he is a bit on the slow side.

    • bobschacht says:

      Has Timmeh had enough time to fuck up the organization she might or might not head yet? We know he is a bit on the slow side.

      He has not been slow wrt the CFPB: He’s been busy stacking the deck as best he can. An analysis of the CFPB authorization notes,

      The CFPA refers to the Bureau as a “independent bureau” that “shall be considered an Executive agency” as defined by 5 U.S.C. 105. Whatever the moniker, make no mistake about it, the Bureau will be an important and potent federal agency in the decades to come.

      The Bureau will be headed by a Director, appointed for a five year term by the President and confirmed by the Senate. Currently, there is much speculation over who President Obama will appoint for the job. Needless to say, the first Director of the Bureau will have a lasting impact on the direction of the organization for years to come. Until a Director is appointed and affirmed, the Secretary of the Treasury (i.e., Tim Geithner) is authorized to provide the Bureau’s administrative services in advance of the designated transfer date.

      (Emphasis added)

      So, while the White House dithers, who’s the acting head of the CFPB? Why, Mr. Geithner!

      Geithner Acting Director of Consumer Bureau During Transition
      July 29, 2010, 10:46 PM EDT, By Ian Katz
      July 29 (Bloomberg) — Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner is acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Treasury said in a statement today.

      Geithner met with heads of agencies with consumer protection duties that will be consolidated into the new agency, which was set up under the financial regulatory overhaul signed into law by President Barack Obama on July 21.

      Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke and Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Chairman Sheila Bair were among the officials who met to discuss the transition period, the Treasury said.

      “The agency heads each agreed to appoint liaisons from their respective staffs” to help the Treasury coordinate the transition, the department said in the statement.

      So, the longer the WH dithers, the more time Geithner has to stack the deck.


      • bmaz says:

        That is exactly right, and exactly why I have been carping about time/logistics from the get go. Just so I am clear, I do not think the WH intends to ever see her confirmed even if they nominate her. If they are forced by perceptions and circumstances to install her as acting, they are taking the sweet time to “prepare the battlefield” so as to choke off and limit any damage Warren can do if she gets there at all.

        Anybody looking for a victory or something positive out of Warren at CFPD is delusional.

  4. ScrewBush says:

    Regarding her appointment, I’ll believe it when I see it.
    They only way this can happen is the Consumer Finance Protection Board position has no real power. If there is one thing Obama and company have made very clear to the whole world is that he is just not into progressives.

    If nothing else, Warren will be on the outside of the Obama inner circle. Her calls will not be returned; her concerns will not be addressed. Obama and the Dems are content to say, hey we’re left of those guys while pointing at the GOP. They’ll be able to say look we appoint Elizabeth Warren. Nothing will change and the top 1% will keep being fed out future and our children’s future while the other 90% of us watch our dreams disappear.

    Believe it or not, I’m an optimist, but I’m not stupid.

  5. lakeeffectsnow says:


    Car Czar Steven Rattner’s ‘Overhaul’ Pulls No Punches On Obama Administration’s Auto Rescue But Minimizes His Own Troubles

    In “Overhaul”, his upcoming chronicle of his reign as “car czar,” Steven Rattner offers an insider’s account of the Obama administration’s rescue of the auto industry. And he pulls no punches when it comes to describing the foibles of such heavyweights as Rahm Emanuel, Tim Geithner, Larry Summers and Sheila Bair.

    Though the 58-year-old financier lasted only six months, with his sudden resignation sparking speculation that a pay-for-play scandal at his old private equity firm was becoming an unhealthy distraction, Rattner has plenty of tales to tell.

    And Rattner’s account is sure to attract interest within the Beltway, as one of the first books penned by an Obama administration insider.


  6. bmaz says:

    Any law professor dope can teach 1L Contracts, it is butt ass simplistic stuff and you just follow the textbook; however, it is time intensive and requiring preparation for each day’s lecture and class activity. The key is the status of the “other classes three days a week” she is still apparently slated to teach. The Contracts class on top of those just may have been too much considering she does still have the oversight position and there is some chance on CFPB. But until the other classes are scrubbed of Warren too, I don’t think too much should be taken of this.

    • phred says:

      I wish DDay had more info on the other classes… three days a week is standard, but are they grad or undergrad? How many are there and has she taught them before (i.e., how much prep time is involved)? Does she have TA’s for those courses to help with grading and whatnot? And finally, lining up someone to take over at the last minute may not be trivial, depending on the courses and the load everyone else in the department is already carrying. I hear Harvard’s endowment is down (heck of a job, Larry ; ) so it is possible they are running their departments lean (so they may need some time to get a replacement). And it is also possible that she refuses to drop the rest of her load until the appointment is a done deal, which would be smart.

      Who knows? But it does provide us some entertainment value while we wait for Obama to get off his corporate duff.

  7. bobschacht says:

    The thing that makes Warren’s situation different from Dawn Johnsen’s is that Warren is much more popular among the hoi polloi, and ObamaCo. desperately needs a consumer advocate to shore up its team re: Economic politics. When Warren speaks, she knows how to connect with middle class voters. Johnsen’s appeal was more limited to dedicated politically active information-rich types like us, and unfortunately, there just wasn’t enough popular support for her. And as Rahmbo probably insistently advised, her appointment would have been what he views as a “distraction.” On the other hand, Warren could be a considerable positive force between now and November.

    Bob in AZ

    • bmaz says:

      There is absolutely not one reason in the world for anybody to get excited or heartened by this strung out bullshit from the Obama Administration. None. If they wanted her, they could have put her in place the day the bill was signed. Could do it today. They don’t even need a fucking recess to appoint her. It is literally that simple. But they aren’t doing that are they? And by having strung it out like this, which they are clearly still doing, they have geometrically increased the odds that she cannot logistically get confirmed by the Senate.

      Until there is some reason to view it otherwise, and there has been none, any little dog and pony show nomination talk – even a nomination itself without formal appointment as the acting head of CFPB and a full throated promise to use every effort to confirm her permanently – should be treated as a fraudulent and phony stunt to sucker progressives for the mid term election.

      • bobschacht says:

        If they wanted her, they could have put her in place the day the bill was signed.

        I think what this shows is something about the internal dynamics of the WH.

        The problem in the quoted sentence is the word “they”, as if “they” were monolithic. On appointments such as Dawn Johnsen & Elizabeth Warren, my guess is that there is no monolithic “they,” but instead there are factions. These two appointments (one past, the other potential) indicate something of Obama’s management style: Obama listens to both sides, sees merit in both arguments, and has a hard time choosing between them. So he postpones his decision, and we get this dithering response.

        Bob in AZ

          • bobschacht says:

            So who is in charge of this administration? I feel as if Obama is just phoning it in.

            No, that was Bush’s style. He essentially let Hadley be the de facto Prez for the last few years of his admin.

            I think Obama is totally engaged, and it’s turning his hair gray. But he’s still getting a grip on what it means to be an executive. Right now, ISTM he has given a lot of those executive functions to Rahm.

            I’m hoping that Obama grows out of his Chicago politics background and grows into the presidency. He’s learning not only from Rahmbo, but also from the Clintons.

            Bob in AZ

      • pdaly says:

        Points well taken. No reason for the delay in installing Warren except that the Obama WH is actively delaying her nomination and appointment.

        WRT to teaching commitments, I find only one course in the 2010-11 Harvard Law School course catalog that lists Elizabeth Warren as the professor.

        Empirical Analysis of Law (seminar). It meets on Tuesday evenings for 2 hours, fall and spring semesters.

        Not sure where the WaPo is coming up with three days a week teaching commitment.

  8. skdadl says:

    OT: What do I know about Merkin law, but I thought this looked like an interesting scholarly paper on the military-commission charges against Khadr incoming:

    Essentially the government seeks to distort the fundamental legal equality between opposing belligerents into a unilateral shield for coalition personnel, turning the conflict into a “hunting season” in which U.S. forces can shoot their enemy on sight but their adversaries commit a war crime by fighting back. Because the tribunals’ statutory bases, the Military Commission Acts of 2006 and 2009, were enacted after Khadr was in custody, any charges lacking sound grounding in the LOAC constitute impermissible ex post facto enactments. These charges fail that test and the commission thus lacks jurisdiction. Khadr can only be validly tried in a U.S. or Afghan domestic law court.

    (I’m learning manners from fatster.)

    • fatster says:

      After all these decades on this planet, I now am a trend-setter? My word. Do I have to wear a frock, gloves, hat and sensible heels with that?

      Thnx, dear skdadl. You brighten the day.