From the Dean

Committed to Law’s Promise

Photo of  Dean Martha Minow

President Andrew Jackson once said, “All the rights secured to the citizens under the Constitution are worth nothing, and a mere bubble, except guaranteed to them by an independent and virtuous Judiciary.” Harvard Law School has long educated advocates and counselors about the judiciary but has also prepared individuals to serve as judges committed to law’s promise. When our graduates accept the invitation and responsibility of becoming judges, it is a cause for celebration and hope—celebration of individual achievement and hope for the vitality of the rule of law.

This issue of the Bulletin includes a look at recent scholarship on the United States Supreme Court. Coming at a time of renewed relevance of the New Deal era, Professor Noah Feldman’s “Scorpions: The Battles and Triumphs of FDR’s Great Supreme Court Justices” illuminates the battles of four justices appointed by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. An authorized biography of Justice William Brennan ’31 by longtime Bulletin correspondent Seth Stern ’01 and co-author Stephen Wermiel and my own new book on legacies of Brown v. Board of Education provide fresh materials for Court-watchers, young and old.

President Obama and Justices Kagan and Roberts
Pete Souza

“When our graduates accept the invitation and responsibility of becoming judges, it is a cause for celebration and hope.” —Martha Minow

Harvard Law School graduates serve on courts around the world, including international courts, and on state courts across the United States. According to our last count, more than 150 sitting U.S. federal judges are Harvard Law School alumni. Two of them, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. ’79 and former-Dean, now-Justice Elena Kagan ’86, are pictured on our cover. We are proud to be associated with each of the 21 individuals whose careers took them from Harvard Law School to the United States Supreme Court. (All right, two of them—William Cushing and Joseph Story—attended Harvard College before the law school was founded!) Today, six of the nine justices on the Court (Chief Justice Roberts and Associate Justices Anthony Kennedy, Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Antonin Scalia and Elena Kagan) attended the Harvard Law School. We are grateful for their service to the country!

We honor public service by other alumni, faculty and students in this issue as we look at the work of Julius Genachowski ’91, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, and his predecessor in that post, Kevin Martin ’93. These pages also share candid reflections of Professors Daniel Meltzer ’75, David Barron ’94 and Jody Freeman LL.M. ’91 S.J.D. ’95 as they return to HLS from government posts with significant responsibilities and challenges.

Also detailed in this Bulletin: scholarship by Professors Mark Roe ’75 (on the financial crisis and bankruptcy law) and Christine Desan (on law’s role in the evolution of money), the innovative HLS Institute for Global Law and Policy (headed by Professor David Kennedy ’80), and some of the many crucial projects under way at our 30 clinics and student practice organizations. One of our new faculty stars, Gráinne de Búrca, offers insight into the EU as a model of transnational governance and as a significant international player. This issue also shares interviews with leading international corporate lawyer and public intellectual Laurent Cohen-Tanugi LL.M. ’82 and extraordinary business leader Kenneth I. Chenault ’76.

It is a privilege to bring you this news from HLS, and with it my warm regards.

Dean Martha Minow


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