Monday, October 15, 2012

A New Role for Professor Mann

If elected, Professor Elizabeth Warren would be the first female Senator from Massachusetts.  Her husband, Professor Bruce Mann, who also teaches at Harvard Law School, has been trying out a new role during the campaign--Elizabeth Warren's husband.  A recent article describes Professor Mann's contributions to the campaign and discusses the role of a candidate's husband, which is "less well-defined than that of a wife."  No one seems to know for sure what the expectations should be, or even what to call the husbands of successful female candidates.  In Alaska, for instance, Todd Palin was dubbed the "First Dude," which I always found to be lacking in dignity, but I guess it worked for the Palins, who were also lacking in dignity.

Professor Mann has taken a more low-key role than Gail Huff, Senator Scott Brown's wife and a well-known television reporter, who is campaigning full time this fall for her husband.  Professor Mann does events on his own, but they are usually not advertised to members of the press.  He sees "his role as helping people make the personal connection they need to support Warren."   Professor Mann is a highly respected legal historian.  His latest book, Republic of Debtors:  Bankruptcy in the Age of American Independence, broke new ground in the history of debt in the United States in its analysis of how debt was transformed in the eyes of society from moral failure into economic failure.  This transformation led to the Bankruptcy Act of 1800, the first federal bankruptcy statute, and eventually to today's "fresh start" for debtors. 

Thanks to Pace Law School student Kyle T. Pero, a native of Massachusetts, for pointing out this article to me.

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