Harvard Law School

Obama began Harvard Law School in the fall of 1988 opening the door to the world.

Obama's admission to Harvard Law School was highly questionable. Nobody knew if Obama took the LSAT, or what his LSAT scores were -- and how does one graduate from Columbia without honors and yet get accepted at Harvard Law?

Obama's ascendency to the President of the Harvard Law Review would appear to have also been a case of blatant affirmative action, since the law student Obama had only written one legal paper and it was quite short and remarkably undistinguished. Obama’s timing, however, was better than his writing. In the same spring 1990 term that he would stand for the presidency, the Harvard Law School found itself embroiled in an explosive racial brouhaha.

Black firebrand law professor Derrick Bell was demanding that the Harvard Law School appoint a black woman to the law faculty. The protest would culminate in vigils and protests by the racially sensitive student body, in the course of which Obama would compare the increasingly absurd Bell to Rosa Parks.

Feeling the pressure, HLR editors wanted to elect their first African-American president. Obama had an advantage. Spared the legacy of slavery and segregation and having grown up in a white household, he lacked the hard edge of many of his black colleagues.

Until the 1970's the editors were picked on the basis of grades, and the president of the Law Review was the student with the highest academic rank, but after an ideologically charged meeting that lasted until early morning, the review's 80 editors elected Obama president from among 19 candidates.

Curiously, once elected, Obama contributed not one signed word to the HLR or any other law journal. As Matthew Franck has pointed out in National Review Online, "A search of the HeinOnline database of law journals turns up exactly nothing credited to Obama in any law review anywhere at any time.

Obama graduated from Harvard Law School in 1991. In 2008, his campaign people repeatedly said Obama received his Juris Doctor law degree, magna cum laude. That would have been the first time he ever achieved scholastic honors. Naturally, there are no records available to validate this assertion. Again, there are no transcripts.

Abner Mikva, a five-term congressman from Illinois who was at that time Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. circuit, tried to recruit Obama as a clerk, a position considered a stepping stone to clerking on the Supreme Court, but Obama turned him down.

"He could have gone to the most opulent of law firms," David Axelrod, a longtime friend who became Obama's media adviser, said. "After Harvard, Obama could have done anything he wanted."