Headlines of Yore

Lani Guinier, the Penn law prof who was an early advocate of expanding voting rights

She eventually left Philadelphia to join the faculty at Harvard — but not before a now-famous colleague.

Lani Guinier was President Bill Clinton's nominee for assistant attorney general for the Civil Rights Division in 1993, when she was a law prof at Penn

Lani Guinier was President Bill Clinton's nominee for assistant attorney general for the Civil Rights Division in 1993, when she was a law prof at Penn

J. Scott Applewhite / AP Photo
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The University of Pennsylvania’s law school has been a launchpad for many prominent legal careers. Among them in the 1990s was Lani Guinier, a fierce advocate of expanding voting rights (yes, that debate has been raging for decades).

Guinier was also a proponent of affirmative action, and when President Clinton tapped her for a position in his administration, conservatives targeted her views as overly radical, eventually causing the nomination to be pulled.

There was a rumor the law prof would leave Penn for Harvard, but — as a headline from the Philadelphia Daily News notes — another woman legal scholar left Philly for Cambridge first.

That second professor wasn’t famous at the time, but three decades later, everyone knows her name. Scroll through the thread below to see how it all unfolded.

Want some more? Explore other Headlines of Yore stories.

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