Feingold ready to teach

Last November, former U.S. Senator Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) was certain of one thing: To exit the Senate, one either quits, loses or dies. For most of his term, however, he was certain of something else — he had a strong interest to teach and he wanted to write a book.

Just days after his loss, Feingold received a confidential note from Joseph Kearney, the dean of Marquette’s Law School, suggesting he consider a visiting professor position there. Conversations ensued, and Feingold took the job.

“Every time I was in Milwaukee, I would comment on how beautiful the Law School was,” Feingold said in an interview. “Everyone was beginning to think it was some sort of premonition that I’d end up here.”

The former Senator credited the deans, faculty and students of Marquette and its Law School in aiding his decision. He said teaching his first class re-enforced his choice.

The upper level elective course, “Current Legal Issues: The U.S. Senate,” met for the first time yesterday, and he referred to it as a “different kind of game.”

For one thing, delivering political speeches to a congregation of supporters varies drastically from preparing material for the class.

“As a politician, you know the issues, you know you’ll have about 20 minutes of talking with questions, and then it’s done,” he said. “A 75 minute-long class, however, is a long time. … I went through my material, looked up and we were only 25 minutes in.”

Although the length of class was surprising, he said it was satisfying and looks forward to future discussions with his students.

Teaching law is not the only new experience Feingold faces at this time, as he has started writing a book regarding the post-9/11 world. In his opinion, America missed its chance to correctly respond following the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, and he would like to reflect on that in his book, which will be published in 2012.

“Our nation’s response will not be looked upon as a wise one,” he said. “The book will look at the impressions our response gave, what we did wrong and what should have been done differently.”

In more recent news, Feingold responded to the controversy surrounding his Law School appointment and his political beliefs and Marquette’s Catholic values. He said he will do what Kearney told him to, and do justice to the opportunity presented to him.

“This is one of the finest law buildings in the country,” Feingold said. “The students are excellent, I appreciate the fact they choose to study law at this time and I am proud to be both a lawyer and a part of this school.”