From the Dean

Con Law Takes Center Stage

Dean Kagan

With the ongoing war in Iraq and fight against terrorism, questions involving the balance to strike among values of security, liberty and privacy are more pronounced today than at any time in recent memory. At such moments, the work of constitutional law scholars gains special urgency—a fact reflected in the number of HLS faculty members now on the front lines in critical national debates.

In this issue of the Bulletin, you’ll read about how our constitutional scholars are producing work that is reverberating in classrooms, Congress and the courts, on issues ranging from the scope of congressional war powers to the new restrictions on the availability of the writ of habeas corpus. Our depth in constitutional law—always impressive—is now even greater, thanks to the recent arrivals of Noah Feldman, Jack Goldsmith, Daryl Levinson, John Manning ’85, Gerald Neuman ’80, Mark Tushnet and Adrian Vermeule ’93.

But war and terrorism aren’t the only areas of focus of our constitutional law faculty. In this issue, Mark Tushnet, an expert on the Second Amendment and the debate over gun control, guides us through a recent ruling that may compel the Supreme Court to offer a more definitive interpretation of the amendment. In another hot-button area—the Takings Clause—Professor Laurence Tribe ’66 recently argued an important case in the Court, and was ably assisted by students in our terrific Supreme Court litigation clinic. Likewise, Professor Carol Steiker ’86 recently won a trio of death penalty appeals in the Court, helped by students in her classes.

You will also get a look here at the important contributions of two alumni whose work is concerned with constitutional questions. Glenn Fine ’85, the inspector general at the Department of Justice, has won bipartisan plaudits for his internal investigations of that department's activities including in the area of national security law. A recent graduate, HRH Princess Sonam Wangchuck LL.M. ’07 of Bhutan, is helping her country make the transition from an absolute monarchy to a constitutional democracy.

Finally, we pay tribute to two retiring professors, Bernie Wolfman and Bill Andrews ’55—eminent tax scholars and beloved teachers. In the fall, look for similar tributes to Arthur Miller ’58 and Paul Weiler LL.M. ’65, who also completed their storied HLS teaching careers this year.

In all of these accounts, you will see how our faculty, students and alumni are carrying on Harvard Law School’s great tradition of public service. I am enormously gratified by all that they are doing, and I believe you will be too.

Dean Elena Kagan ’86


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