Six nationally-renowned legal scholars, including Harvard Law School’s Professor Annette Gordon-Reed, winner of the 2009 Pulitzer Prize in History, the 2008 National Book Award for Non-Fiction, and a MacArthur ‘Genius’ grant in 2010, will be in Hawai‘i during January to teach special courses at the William S. Richardson School of Law.
Gordon-Reed, who was also awarded a 2009 National Humanities Medal by President Barack Obama, is the 2013 Frank Boas Visiting Harvard Professor. Boas, a generous supporter of the Law School, annually sponsors one visiting Harvard professor each January Term (J-Term.) The Wallace S. Fujiyama Distinguished Visiting Professor Fund supports many of the other J-Term professors.
Gordon-Reed, the first African-American to win the Pulitzer Prize in History and the first African-American woman to win the National Book Award for Non-Fiction, garnered these honors for “The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family.” She will teach a course that looks at slavery, and the role of the law and lawyers during the early American republic.
The six visiting professors also include Professor Jerome Cohen of the N.Y.U. School of Law, who is credited with introducing Chinese Law to American law schools and who was a key negotiator in arranging the release of Chen Guangcheng, the blind activist lawyer from China who made international news in April after his dramatic escape from house arrest.
Another is the Hon. Mark W. Bennett from Northern Iowa District Court, who appeared in an award-winning documentary on the war on drugs that took first place at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival.
In the BBC-funded documentary - a centerpiece of the course he will teach – Judge Bennett allowed unusual access to his courtroom and was filmed leading a discussion group at a federal prison with 10 inmates he had sentenced.
The visiting scholars will teach intensive J-Term courses during the break between semesters at the University of Hawai‘i Law School, beginning Jan, 7, 2013 and running through Jan. 12.
They will also make several public appearances. The schedule will be announced shortly.
The visiting faculty courses cover such hot legal topics as drug sentencing, punishment in criminal cases, criminal justice in China in the context of human rights, the role of lawyers during slavery, international legal issues around the division of Korea, and issues relating to the right to die and the ownership of bodily tissue.
Along with Judge Bennett and Professors Cohen and Gordon-Reed, the scholars include: University of Michigan Law Professor Thomas Green, a legal history expert; Inha University Professor of International Law Professor Seok-woo Lee from Korea; and the University of California-Berkeley’s Marjorie M. Shultz, who has played a key role in analyzing and developing alternatives to high-stakes standardized tests.
J-Term, launched in 2005, offers Hawai‘i law students a singular opportunity to take mini-courses taught by outstanding legal scholars and judges from across the nation.
Law Dean Avi Soifer notes that the unique program offers students and the community a tremendous opportunity to learn directly from prominent legal scholars.
Soifer said, “This program is an extra treat for our students and the entire community benefits from having these star teachers and scholars here for more than a brief visit. An added bonus is that they learn about Hawai‘i and wind up spreading the word about our exceptional students, faculty, and community.”
Professor Gordon-Reed, the Charles Warren Professor of American Legal History at Harvard Law School, will teach “Law and Politics in the Early American Republic.” The course considers the role of law in the period stretching from the Revolution to the Age of Jackson. It will look at the ratification of the Constitution, the development of private law, slavery, and the role of lawyers during this period. Before joining the Harvard faculty, Gordon-Reed was the Wallace Stevens Professor of Law at New York Law School and the Board of Governors Professor of History at Rutgers University-Newark.
Judge Bennett, in his 18th year as a U.S. District Court Judge, will teach the course “The War on Drugs and Federal Sentencing: A View from the Inside,” which examines federal and state drug sentencing issues in the U.S. through the unique lens of the documentary, “The House I Live In.” Bennett is a critic of congressionally-mandated minimum sentences for drug offenses and he will lead students through an interdisciplinary approach to drug sentencing, including some of his own opinions rejecting federal Sentencing Guidelines. The class may video or teleconference with people featured in the Sundance documentary and with defendants Bennett has sentenced who are currently imprisoned. In particular, the course will look at how drug sentencing guidelines and mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenses directly affect the poor and racial minorities.
Professor Cohen will teach “Human Rights and Criminal Justice in China,” exploring the topic in a human rights context, including the role of the Communist Party in the justice system, the use of re-education through labor, “black jails,” and other “administrative punishments.” Cohen began studying China’s legal system in 1960 as a faculty member at the University of California (Berkeley) and founded East Asian Legal Studies in 1964 at Harvard Law School, where he taught full-time for 15 years and part-time for another decade. He pioneered international law practice relating to contemporary China by opening a law office in Beijing in 1979. He is Adjunct Senior Fellow for Asia at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York and a director of the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations.
Professor Green, the John P. Dawson Collegiate Professor of Law Emeritus and professor emeritus of history, will teach “Criminal Responsibility in American History,” focusing on main developments in criminal justice in America since 1850. The course will examine tensions between official legal rules and broad social ideas and attitudes regarding responsibility and punishment. It will also consider the ways in which the use of the criminal jury trial reflects these tensions and also shaped the course of American legal justice. Green has taught on the law faculties of Tel Aviv University as well as the University of Ljubljana. He received a PhD in history from Harvard University and a JD from Harvard Law School and has published a number of books on both the English and U.S. criminal jury systems.
Professor Lee will teach a course called “Korea and International Law: Colonialism, War and the Rise of a Mid-Power State” that offers an overview of the nature and function of international law in Korea. The themes include: Korea’s encounter with the modern International Legal System; the status of International Law in Korea’s domestic legal system; the legacy and impact of Japanese colonialism; the evolution of the Korea-U.S. Alliance; and Korea’s contribution to the Law of the Sea.
Lee often worked on Law of the Sea issues with the late Richardson Law Prof. Jon M. Van Dyke, and he has spent research time at a wide range of institutions including Harvard, Georgetown, and Oxford. His research areas include Territorial and Boundary issues, Law of the Sea, and International Human Rights Law.
Professor Shultz will teach the course “Law and Bio-Medical Ethics,” to examine the policy changes that have occurred as medicine rapidly advances, especially in this technological age. Medicine and science affect many of our most fundamental values and law provides an authoritative institutional setting to resolve disputes. A member of the Clinton Legal Review Group in 1993, Shultz has been an active participant in national public health policy. She also served on the first advisory board for the National Institutes of Health Office of Research on Women’s Health. Throughout her career, Shultz has also worked on issues of race and gender justice, and is the co-author of “Whitewashing Race: The Myth of a Colorblind Society,” published in 2003.