November 17, 2010 — Coral Gables — Miami Law is launching a lecture series on human rights named in honor of the late Louis Henkin, a prominent law professor at Columbia University who was one of the founders of the academic study of human rights and who helped educate a whole generation of human rights lawyers, scholars, and activists.
The first lecture, scheduled for Friday, November 19, is titled "Obama's War on Terror: Change We Can Believe In?", and will be presented by David D. Cole, the John Carroll Research Professor of Law at Georgetown University Law Center. Cole is a prominent civil liberties lawyer, scholar and frequent contributor to the New York Review of Books.
In announcing the launch of the Louis Henkin Lecture Series, Miami Law Dean Patricia D. White said it was fitting to name the series after "a remarkable figure in the fields of human rights and international law who taught and influenced so many people – including several of our own faculty."
Henkin, who died in October 2010, was a former University Professor at Columbia University, Chairman of Columbia's Center for the Study of Human Rights, President of the American Society of International Law and co-editor in chief of the American Journal of International Law. Henkin is credited with founding the study of human rights law and inspiring generations of legal scholars. A prolific scholar, Henkin's numerous books, articles and amicus briefs are cited in hundreds of federal and state court opinions. In 1993, a federal appellate judge referred to him as the "preeminent constitutional scholar in the area of international law."
Among those who shared those sentiments is U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who said she was "powerfully influenced" by Henkin. In a 2006 tribute to mark the 50th anniversary of Henkin's affiliation with Columbia University, she said that "Countless times, when struggling with a trying case involving a question of constitutional law or international law, I looked to his writings for counsel." Justice Ginsburg taught with Henkin on the Law School faculty from 1972 to 1980. "Lou's writings sometimes clarified what the law really is, but other times lucidly developed what the law ought to be."
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