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Not many judges have served on every court in their home state. And not many have been on the bench for nearly 40 years. But Harvard Law School alum Robert Bell ’69 has an even more unusual distinction: He serves on a court that at one time ruled against him.
Next week, the Supreme Court will hear a pair of cases involving same-sex marriage. Harvard Law School Professor Michael Klarman has written a legal history of gay marriage, “From the Closet to the Altar: Courts, Backlash and the Struggle for Same Sex Marriage.” In the March-April 2013 issue of Harvard Magazine, which appears below, Klarman published an article on “How Same-Sex Marriage Came to Be.” His scholarship was also profiled in the Fall 2012 issue of the Harvard Law Bulletin in an article titled “The Courts and Public Opinion.”
On May 30th, Shannon Liss-Riordan ’96 opened The Just Crust, a worker-owned pizza restaurant that came as a result of a class-action lawsuit against Boston chain, The Upper Crust Pizzeria. Liss-Riordan is hoping to turn the infamous case accusing the pizza chain of stealing workers’ wages into an example of how giving employees a voice can be both fulfilling and profitable.
Haben Girma '13 is passionate about the power of both education and law to make a positive impact, and sees a natural connection between the two disciplines.
Fifty years after the Supreme Court determined in Gideon v. Wainwright that criminal defendants must be provided with counsel, scholars and practitioners from around the country grappled with continued limits on access to justice during an Harvard Law School conference in April titled “Toward a Civil Gideon: The Future of Legal Services.”
As the gay rights movement continues to gain momentum, it's easy to forget just how recently the tides of change were moving in the opposite direction, Associate White House Counsel Kathleen Hartnett '00 said at an April 11 talk at Harvard Law School, hosted by the Harvard chapter of the American Constitution Society.
On March 12 at Harvard Law School, award-winning filmmaker Ken Burns joined Harvard Law School Professor Charles Ogletree and two Central Park Five members for a film screening and panel discussion of his new documentary “The Central Park Five,” which tells the story of five Black and Latino teenagers who were wrongly convicted of raping and beating a white woman in New York City’s Central Park in 1989. The event was co-sponsored by Harvard Law School’s Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race & Justice and the Prison Studies Project and the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research.
As an enthusiastic supporter of the Special Olympics who has worked for more than two decades with Special Olympics International, Harvard Law School Professor William P. Alford welcomed the opportunity to help bring about the 2013 Special Olympics World Winter Games, held in PyeongChang, Korea earlier this year. “One of the major messages of the Special Olympics is that having a disability need not be seen as being as limiting or disqualifying as some people might assume,” says Alford, director of East Asian Legal Studies and chair of the Harvard Law School Project on Disability (HPOD).
The Board of Veterans’ Appeals denies a soldier’s claim for disability benefits for an injury to his lower extremities. But the decision is handed down while the soldier is serving in Afghanistan, and he doesn’t realize he has the right to appeal until after he returns from his deployment—after the appeal deadline has passed. For students in Harvard Law School’s new Veterans Legal Clinic, the chance to argue that the appeal deadline should have been tolled and the case allowed to proceed on the merits is proving invaluable educationally and personally.
The Caspersen Room in the Harvard Law School Library is currently displaying an exhibit documenting the involvement of Harvard Law School students, faculty and alumni in the long road to marriage equality. The exhibit includes a 1983 paper by Evan Wolfson ’83, “Samesex Marriage and Morality: The Human Rights Vision of the Constitution,” along with briefs and other exhibits from HLS Professors Elizabeth Bartholet ‘65, Lawrence Lessig, Frank Michelman ‘60, William Rubenstein ‘86, Carol Steiker ‘86 and Laurence Tribe, ‘66, and Lecturers on Law Kevin Russell and Benjamin Heineman Jr.
Harvard Law School Visiting Professor Michael Ashley Stein ’88 was awarded the 2013 Viscardi Award, which honors people living with disabilities for their work and influence in the global disability community.
“Courage to Dissent: Atlanta and the Long History of the Civil Rights Movement” (Oxford University Press, 2011) by Harvard Law Professor Tomiko Brown-Nagin has received numerous awards and has been cited for offering an important new perspective on the civil rights movement. The book was released in paperback this past September by Oxford.
In October, the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg issued two rulings bolstering the rights of persons with psycho-social disabilities. Both cases were brought by Hungarian-Slovakian disability rights activist János Fiala-Butora LL.M. ’10, an S.J.D. candidate at Harvard Law School and an associate of the Harvard Law School Project on Disability, known as HPOD.
Michael Klarman’s scholarship has focused on the effect that court rulings have on social reform movements. He argues that when courts get ahead of public opinion, political backlash often follows. That’s what he found in an earlier book he wrote on race and the U.S. Supreme Court, and it is a phenomenon he has also observed in cases involving the death penalty and abortion. In his new book, “From the Closet to the Altar: Courts, Backlash, and the Struggle for Same-Sex Marriage,” the HLS professor explores whether the same effect has taken place when it comes to same-sex marriage litigation.
In October, the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice sponsored a two-day conference looking back at Cooper v. Aaron and the impact it’s had on law and education over the course of 55 years. The event brought together legal scholars, students, and civil-rights lawyers and featured a moot-court proceeding involving U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer and nine appellate judges, to revisit the legal questions raised by Cooper.
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