Developing International Law in a Global Age
John C. Jeffries, Jr. ’73
Everywhere one goes these days, there’s talk of globalization. In law schools, that means a broader engagement with international legal regimes, an increased emphasis on transnational transactions, and instructors with international experience. All of these things are happening in a small town nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. This issue of UVALawyer celebrates the growth and blossoming of international law at Virginia.
At the time of Hardy Dillard, who was universally recognized as a leader in the field, international law was a single curricular category. Students took a course in International Law, just as they took courses in Trusts & Estates and Corporations. Today, international law has morphed into a whole series of offerings, including International Banking Law, International Business Transactions, International Environmental Law, International Health Policy, International Human Rights, International Sales, International Taxation, and on and on.
This proliferation of “international” offerings tells only half the story. Equally important is the heightened attention to international aspects of traditionally domestic subjects. In Federal Courts, for example, students still learn the intricacies of federal jurisdiction and ponder the lessons of Erie Railroad, but they also study the growing controversy over whether and when international law supersedes state law as the rule of decision in American courts. And recent Supreme Court opinions invoke international law in interpreting provisions of the U.S. Constitution. To a remarkable degree, the study of law has become truly global.
This broad perspective is supported by engaged and active students. The Virginia Journal of International Law maintains a long and proud tradition as one of the nation’s two most prominent publications in that field. The John Bassett Moore Society of International Law is also very active, sponsoring speakers, conferences, and a moot court team on international law.
In the pages that follow, you will be introduced to Law School graduates who have been prominent in the international arena. Additionally, you will hear from several members of the faculty on the role of international law in the global war on terror. We hope these articles give you some flavor of the breadth of international interests in the Law School community today.
The Thomas Jefferson Award
As noted in the Faculty News section of this issue, Robert E. Scott received the University’s highest honor at the Convocation ceremony last fall. Given annually since 1955, the Thomas Jefferson Award recognizes a member of the University community whose influence, character, and accomplishments exemplify the ideals of Mr. Jefferson. In bestowing this distinction, the University cited Bob’s “integrity and honor, bold and skillful leadership, unfailing civility and uncompromising excellence.” I know that all of us join in celebrating his achievements.