With the 2012 presidential race now taking shape, Bitter Lawyer staffers thought it was time to assess the situation. While we have no known political leanings, we thought it would be amusing to stack up the GOP nominees’ academic credentials against those of President Barack Obama. Some of the candidates really stack up. Others, not so much, though we’re not saying that academic success or a law degree is an indicator of great leadership. After all, President George W. Bush had neither.
President Barack Obama
Columbia University. Harvard Law. First black president of Harvard Law Review. He worked as a civil rights attorney in Chicago and taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago Law School for eight years, from 1992 to 2004.
Attended Oral Roberts University’s O.W. Coburn School of Law in 1979, its inaugural year. Which, coincidentally, lost its ABA accreditation and closed its doors in 1986, the same year Bachmann graduated. (We would love it if someone would respond with some insight on this fine institution.) While at ORU, Bachmann studied under Professor John Eidsmoe, who was reknowned for weaving Christianity into the law school curriculum. When Biblical law conflicted with American law, Eidsmoe said, ORU students were generally taught that “the first thing you should try to do is work through legal means and political means to get it changed.” First order of business in office: un-separate church and state? We believe she may also possesses an LLM degree from William and Mary, which apparently helped her land her first law job as a tax collection attorney for the IRS.
In 1986, Santorum earned his J.D. from the Dickinson School of Law at Penn State, was admitted to the Pennsylvania bar, and began practicing law in Pittsburgh. While working at the law firm of Kirkpatrick & Lockhart (now K&L Gates), he represented the World Wrestling Federation, arguing that professional wrestling should be exempt from federal anabolic steroid regulations because it was not a sport. Tell that to the families of the 40 or so professional wrestlers who have died at a very young age under suspicious circumstances. Speaks Italian.
Quite the impressive resume. In the early 1970s, he became one of only 15 students to enroll at the newly created joint Juris Doctor/Master of Business Administration four-year program coordinated between Harvard’s law school and business school. He graduated in 1975 cum laude from the law school, in the top third of that class, and was named a Baker Scholar for graduating in the top five percent of his business school class. Chose to forego a law career for a much more successful career at Bain. And he’s got great hair.
Leroy Newton “Newt” Gingrich
We had to call him Leroy, largely because Newt’s academic background belies his true first name. Gingrich graduated from Emory University and went on to grab a master’s and a PhD from Tulane University in modern European history. He later became a congressional leader and Speaker of the U.S. House, though he became the only speaker ever to be disciplined for ethics violations (and was also boffing a house staffer during the Monica Lewinsky scandal). Since leaving office in 1998, he’s taught, founded or participated in various impressive think tanks and institutions, and on the side managed to write (or co-write) more than 19 books. Oh, and between meals, he authored nearly 500 informal book reviews on Amazon.
He received a B.S. degree in biology at Gettysburg College during 1957. After earning a Doctor of Medicine degree from the Duke University, he served as a flight surgeon in the US Air Force during the Vietnam War. And he’s delivered more than 4,000 babies. All of this before spending 30 years in Congress. In contrast to Obama’s civil rights work, Paul believes the Civils Rights Act of 1964 is unconstitutional.
Jon Huntsman, Jr.
Son of a billionaire and a third cousin to candidate Mitt Romney, Huntsman junior has piled up six honorary degrees in addition to being an Eagle Scout. Not bad for a guy who dropped out of high school to join a progressive rock band. He later got his GED and went back to school, first at Utah and then as a transfer student at Penn, where he got a degree in international politics. From there he launched into his political career, mostly as a staffer but later as ambassador to Singapore, governor of Utah and, more recently, ambassador to China under President Obama. He has eight brothers and sisters and seven children, two of whom are adopted. Speaks Mandarin Chinese. And rides motocross.
He graduated from Morehouse College in 1967 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in mathematics and received a Master of Science degree in computer science from Purdue University in 1971, while he was also working full-time in ballistics for the U.S. Department of the Navy. Makes a mean pizza, and is also an associate minister at Antioch Baptist Church North in Atlanta. Number of honorary degrees: eight.
Not a lawyer but his academic career sounds awfully familiar. Attended Texas A&M University, graduated in 1972 with a bachelor’s degree in animal science. According to his transcript, he earned 20 B’s, 27 C’s, and 9 D’s. Additionally, Perry was placed on academic probation for his poor performance in school. Perry was a prankster in college. He left chickens in the closet of an upperclassman over Christmas break and flushed lit M-80 firecrackers (with waterproof detonators) down a second floor toilet to scare A&M students sitting on toilets on the floor below. He was a member of the Corps of Cadets, a member of the Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity and one of A&M’s five yell leaders (a popular Texas A&M tradition analogous to male cheerleaders). At one point he sold books door-to-door and, more recently, sponsored a prayer meeting called
“The Rapture” “The Response.” We cannot figure out if he is related to GW Bush, but we imagine so.
(Caricatures by DonkeyHotey)