Ralph Nader: More law professors should be like Elizabeth Warren


Dear Editor:

The wide acclaim given to the standup reformist advocacy and wise interrogations by Professor Elizabeth Warren during this period of chronic abuses by many in the financial industry is a refreshing wind coming from the Harvard Law School to Washington, D.C.

Professor Warren combines rigorous scholarship with a superb sense of needed change and clear ways to communicate those needs to families and individuals around the country. Let’s say that in consumer circles, the chairperson of the Congressional Oversight Panel is a superstar!

Her example, along with those of a few other HLS professors, such as Lawrence Lessig’s launch of Fix Congress First! should stimulate a broader discussion among students about what conditions produce activist professors and how to motivate more of them who are already on the faculty.

Students of Elizabeth Warren are directly being enriched by her teaching and advocacy. There is a moral imperative to connecting knowledge with action.

I propose there be an open forum some day next fall so that students and faculty discuss concrete ways to activate more of the latent talent among the faculty for long overdue changes in our corporatized and bureaucratized legal systems writ large and small. Any interested readers may wish to contact me at info [at] csrl.org.

The 600 year old Chinese saying that “to know and not to do is not to know” may not apply to the Harvard Law faculty, but it does send a provocative message in this age of gigantic manipulation of the law to serve the interests of raw power.


Ralph Nader ’58

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