Harvard Law School professor Laurence Tribe is under fire this week
after referring to the selection of an African American for vice
president over Sen. Elizabeth Warren as mere “cosmetics.” The comment
set off a firestorm with critics calling the comment racist. I have
strongly disagreed with Tribe’s legal positions and his rhetoric.
However, I testified with Tribe during the Clinton impeachment and I
have interacted with him for years. He is neither a racist nor
dismissive of racial concerns. Tribe has spent his life fighting for
his vision of a more perfect and equal union. People need to afford
others a modicum of decency and consideration in such ill-considered
commentary. Anyone who believes that Laurence Tribe is a racist is
discarding decades of public interest work over a wayward comment.
Notably, Tribe’s insistence that he is not “ANTI-excellent others” does not seem to include any male candidates who were categorically excluded by Biden. Biden’s promise not to consider any male candidate would violate federal law if he were the head of a corporation as opposed to the country.
Nevertheless, “cosmetics” aside, Tribe is no racist. Hopefully, he will be equally protective of other academics who have been recently declared racist for merely expressing their views on current events.