Laurence Tribe, a renowned constitutional scholar and outspoken champion of liberal causes, spent four decades teaching students who occupy powerful posts in Washington – Barack Obama among them. His own foray into government service has been short-lived and, according to some supporters, too low-key, reports the Boston Globe. Tribe, 69, is returning to Harvard Law School after a nine-month stint in the administration of his former research assistant, Obama. Tribe said the recurrence of a benign brain tumor, which causes facial seizures, is the reason for his departure. He will be treated at Massachusetts General Hospital and resume teaching next fall.
Tribe headed a new unit at the Justice Department that seeks to help people who can't afford a lawyer, a task he performed far from the limelight. He said he has been happy with the job, which allowed him to use his fame in legal circles and his connections to influential people – many of them former students – to highlight a crucial but chronically neglected problem. “He deserved better,'” said Alan Dershowitz, a longtime associate of Tribe at Harvard. “He would have been terrific adviser to the president.  He was, after all, one of the president's mentors. He worked diligently during the [2008 presidential] campaign. I think it would have been in the president's interest to put him in an advisory position.”