Elizabeth Warren: Consumer Champion?

Consumers across the country may soon have a new figurehead - and protector.

Rumors are swirling this week that Elizabeth Warren, a Harvard Law professor and government appointed banking industry watchdog, will be appointed by President Obama to serve as the head of the new consumer protection agency, which was created as part of the financial reform package passed earlier this year.

Bloomberg reports that Obama may nominate Warren to serve as the interim head of the agency sometime this week in order to bypass what some have speculated would be a risky Senate nomination process. If Obama followed this path, he would be free to let her stay on even after the interim period ended.

While the Obama administration is deliberately staying quiet on plans, there have been other telltale signs that Warren would get the nomination. She was among the three names placed on the shortlist to lead the position back in July, the other two being Michael Barr, an assistant Treasury secretary, and Eugene Kimmelman, a deputy attorney general in the U.S. Justice Department. Yet, neither of these other candidates had Warren's star power, which has only increased since the initial announcement as she has been the subject of countless blogs and opinion pieces pressuring the administration and legislators to approve her nomination.

More recently, Warren met personally with Obama at the White House and even decided to forfeit a class she was supposed to teach this semester at Harvard.

All of this leads to the conclusion that Warren is likely to get the nomination, but for many Americans, it raises an even more important question: Who exactly is Elizabeth Warren? And is she the right person to head this new agency?

Who Is Elizabeth Warren?

Warren grew up in Oklahoma in a middle-class family that was always short on cash. Early on, she developed an interest in the legal system, and particularly in bankruptcy law.

Since 1995, Warren has served as the Leo Gottlieb Professor of Law at Harvard University, where she teaches courses on bankruptcy and contract law. She’s also written several books over the years focusing on how debt, predatory lending and bankruptcy affect average middle-class Americans.

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