Writ Large: Faculty Books

The Balancing Act

Mack Reframes the story of America’s Civil Rights lawyers

In 1932, in a Philadelphia courtroom, a defense attorney representing a man accused of murder cross-examined a police officer. There was nothing unusual about this scene, except that the defense attorney, Raymond Pace Alexander ’23, was black, and the officer he was aggressively questioning was white. This scene is one of many dramatic moments in the new book by HLS Professor Kenneth Mack ’91, “Representing the Race: The Creation of the Civil Rights Lawyer.”

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Elected vs. Appointed?

Shugerman explores the history of judicial selection in the U.S.

Today, about 90 percent of state judges must run for office, and the elections have become increasingly expensive and nasty. Assistant Professor Jed Handelsman Shugerman provides historical perspective on judicial elections and other methods of judicial selection in his new book, “The People’s Courts: Pursuing Judicial Independence in America” (Harvard, 2012).

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‘A Harmonious System of Mutual Frustration’

Goldsmith points to a robust balance of power and new forms of presidential accountability in the fight against terrorism

As Barack Obama ’91 was making criticism of Bush administration policies on terrorism a centerpiece of his campaign for the presidency in 2008, Jack Goldsmith offered a prediction: The next president, even if it were Obama, would not undo those policies. One of the key and underappreciated reasons, he wrote in a spring 2008 magazine article, was that “many controversial Bush administration policies have already been revised to satisfy congressional and judicial critics.”

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Alumni News and Notemakers

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  • Pay it forward

    As an HLS student in the early 1980s, James O’Neal dreamed of combining his passions for law and education to help at-risk kids in New York City. But times were grim for lawyers interested in public interest work. The Legal Services Corporation, the primary provider of legal aid to low-income people in the United States, was in dire straits after losing much of its federal funding, and there were few other opportunities—and little support—for public service jobs. For O’Neal and others like him, the prospects were dim.

  • After Death Camps, a Force for Life

    Human rights lawyer Thomas Buergenthal LL.M. ’61 S.J.D. ’68, author of “A Lucky Child: A Memoir of Surviving Auschwitz as a Young Boy,” wrote that his experience as a Holocaust survivor made him a better judge. "I understood, not only intellectually but emotionally, what it is like to be victim of human rights violations. I could, after all, feel it in my bones."

  • Atticus Finch with a Laptop

    Robert McDuff ’80 remembers clearly what first got him thinking about civil rights and the profession of law. In 1968, when he was 12, he read a newspaper account of a murder trial in his hometown of Hattiesburg, Miss. The victim was an African-American shopkeeper and civil rights leader killed by the Klan after he let other other African-Americans use his store as a place to pay their poll taxes.

Letters to the Editor

A vindication of the physical object

I received the new issue [Winter 2012] in the mail yesterday, and I have to tell you it was fantastic—filled with really interesting content, which made me feel just wonderful about my association with HLS. But strikingly, it was also beautifully designed. Continue Reading

Defending a law that limits rights of a minority is not value-neutral advocacy

In “Defending Unpopular Positions Is What Lawyers Do” (Winter 2012), Paul Clement makes a claim (astonishingly echoed by Attorney General Eric Holder) that is as plainly wrong as it is self-serving. Continue Reading

Remembering Derrick Bell

Your recent “Tribute” to the late Professor Derrick Bell aptly identified him as an “iconoclast” and “community builder.” Professor Bell was certainly those things, but he was also much more. Continue Reading

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