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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, 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.”
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.
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.”
Steven Goldberg ’72 is part of the legal team challenging the National Security Agency’s warrantless wireless wiretap of an Islamic charity in southern Oregon. He visited Harvard Law School on March 31 to discuss the case in the context of how law students and lawyers working apart from large organizations can get involved in similar cases.
“I took the view that what we ought to be talking about and thinking about was universal suffrage,” stated Michael Young in a lecture at Harvard Law School titled, “The Secret Talks That Led to the Fall of Apartheid.” As a British businessman in the 1980s, Young initiated and led unprecedented talks between the African National Congress and the South African government that led to the end of apartheid in South Africa.
On Tuesday, Feb. 14, the Harvard Federalist Society and the Harvard Black Law Students Association co-sponsored a discussion about race and redistricting with Dr. Abigail Thernstrom of the Manhattan Institute and Professor Randall Kennedy, the Michael R. Klein Professor of Law at Harvard Law School.
Pop sensation Lady Gaga launched her anti-bullying, youth-empowering Born This Way Foundation (BTWF) at Sanders Theatre on Wednesday during an Askwith Forum sponsored by the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE). The foundation was established in partnership with HGSE, Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society, the John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the California Endowment. Special guests included Oprah Winfrey, author and speaker Deepak Chopra, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen G. Sebelius, and Harvard Law School professor Charles J. Ogletree.
The celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day at Harvard Law School on Monday, Jan. 23 included a panel moderated by Harvard Law School Clinical Professor Ronald Sullivan ’94, and featuring Harvard Medical School Professor Allen Counter and Preston Williams, a theology professor at Harvard Divinity School. Students from across the University, including students from the Medical School, the Divinity School, the Kennedy School, the Business School, and Harvard College attended the celebration.
On the night Barack Obama ’91 was elected president of the United States, many people cried tears of joy. For many black people the tears held a special significance: They couldn’t believe they had lived to see this milestone. Yet their happiness also signified something sad about the moment, about the history of the country and about the problem of race in America that did not end with the election of the nation’s first black president, says Randall Kennedy.
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