Out of all of the possible complications presented by First Lady Jill Biden wanting to continue teaching through her husband’s presidency, almost nobody expected the two sticking points to be her name and how she files her taxes.
From 2008 to 2016, while Biden was vice president under President Barack Obama, Dr. Biden taught in near-anonymity as Doctor B. But she can’t do that this time. Northern Virginia Community College at first planned to schedule all her classes with the teacher position “To Be Announced” (TBA). But that presented problems because students are unlikely to register for TBA classes. Right up until classes began in January, different options were being weighed. She nearly went by Doctor Jill Tracy, her middle name.
But in the end, the public schedule released by the school listed her three introductory English classes as being taught by Dr. Jill T. Biden.
“I am an English teacher at NOVA — not First Lady,” she wrote to colleagues in an email. “I am trying to keep my roles separate as I did as Second Lady. I appreciate your enthusiasm, but I want students to see me as their English teacher. I am not mentioning it in my classes AT ALL. Thanks for honoring my teacher identity. Jill.”
The second major issue is an issue of Constitutional law. The Constitution species that the President shall receive no other compensation from the nation, or from any state, apart from his emolument as President. Because President Biden and Doctor Biden are married – legally a single financial entity – her salary from a state school could be a Constitutional violation.
Possible solutions are to direct her salary into a foundation, or to have a chair endowed for her so her salary does not come from the state, but a decision hasn’t yet been made. Either way, Dr. Biden is teaching and will continue to teach.
Photo: Dr. Jill Biden. Credit: mark reinstein / Shutterstock.com