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Harvard Law Prof is 'Bostonian of the Year'

Elizabeth Warren, the Harvard Law School professor who has been very much in the limelight this year for chairing the Congressional Oversight Panel overseeing the TARP bailout program and for originating the idea of a federal consumer financial protection agency, has been named Bostonian of the Year by The Boston Globe.

Photo-warren-s "It seemed as if the banks and other firms got a $700 billion bonanza and the American taxpayer got the shaft," says a preview of the piece that will be published in Sunday's Boston Globe Magazine. "But along came this straight-shooting Harvard professor to oversee the bailout, someone who pledged to look out for the middle class and brought a sense of sanity to the economic crisis. For this we give her our top honors this year."

For someone born and raised in Oklahoma to be named Bostonian of the Year is quite an honor. But this is someone who has already this year been named to Time Magazine's list of the 100 most influential people in the world and who blogger Matt Taibbi has urged be drafted to run for president in 2012. "She's pushed for transparency in the Fed, is openly furious about the misuse of bailout money, and seems to take personally the chicanery that credit card companies and banks use to game the suckers out there," Taibbi argues.

At Harvard, Warren teaches contracts, commercial law and bankruptcy. But her recognition by The Boston Globe comes not for her teaching, so much, as for her role as a national counterweight to financial gluttons, as writer Charles P. Pierce explains:

There are many ways to become our Bostonian of the Year. You could be one of the nation’s preeminent bankruptcy scholars, and a tenured professor of law at Harvard University, and a talking head for Frontline specials and Michael Moore’s latest documentary, and a leading voice decrying the human cost of the current economic morass, and the chairwoman of the Congressional Oversight Panel monitoring the Troubled Assets Relief Program, the TARP that covers a multitude of financial sins. ... This can set you at odds with secretaries of the Treasury, various ambitious legislators, and laissez-faire economic fundamentalists. Elizabeth Warren has done all that, and has done as much to earn the title Bostonian of the Year as has anyone who was born and raised in Oklahoma.
In her home state of Oklahoma, Warren was a champion debater. She graduated from the University of Houston in 1970 and from Rutgers Law School in 1976, where she was an editor of the law review. Before joining Harvard's law faculty in 1992, she taught at the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Texas, the University of Houston, the University of Michigan and Rutgers.

Warren's years in Texas also helped earn her this recognition in Boston, writes Pierce, because she once did something Boston Celtics fans can appreciate -- shut up basketball fans in Philadelphia. It happened when she was attending a game in Philadelphia between the 76ers and her favorites, the Houston Rockets. Her cheering led others seated nearby to quiz her about her bona fides as a Rockets fan. Her answers so impressed one burly Sixers fan that when others became impatient with her cheering, he stood up and told them to leave her alone. 

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on December 18, 2009 at 03:27 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

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