Warren fuels speculation by dropping class

Thursday, September 2, 2010

When fall classes began Wednesday at Harvard Law School, Elizabeth Warren was scheduled to be teaching contract law to first-year students. But something happened on the way to the chalkboard.

"I'm writing to let you know that Professor Jerry Frug will be teaching your Contracts class this term instead of Professor Elizabeth Warren," law school dean Martha Minow wrote to students on Tuesday, according to an e-mail obtained by The Washington Post. "Professor Warren regrets that she will not be able to teach you this fall and we regret the last minute change."

Last-minute change?

Cue up another round of speculation about whether President Obama is about to tap Warren to head the new Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection.

The watchdog, created by the massive financial overhaul bill signed into law in July, is aimed at protecting borrowers from abuses in mortgages, credit cards and other such loans. It will be housed in the Federal Reserve but will have an independent director, dedicated funding and autonomy to write and enforce its own rules.

Warren, a high-profile consumer advocate and chair of the Congressional Oversight Panel, has long been a leading candidate for the job. She recently met with top White House officials to talk about the post, which requires Senate confirmation and comes with a five-year term.

Through a spokesman, Warren declined to comment on Wednesday. White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said he didn't expect an announcement this week about whom the president would nominate.

Still, Warren's abrupt withdrawal from the classroom raises an obvious question: Why?

She continued to teach fall classes in 2008 and 2009, even as she chaired the oversight panel, and the Harvard Law School Web site still lists her as teaching this semester - three days a week.

Apparently, she has other plans.

- Brady Dennis

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