News Around the Law Grounds
1999 - 2000
Law and Finance Conference
The Law and Finance conference brought together a distinguished group of financial economists and legal scholars to explore the interconnections between their disciplines. Financial economics has strongly influenced legal theory relating to corporate governance, securities regulation, and bankruptcy, among others. There is, in turn, increasing evidence that legal rules and institutions have a strong influence on the growth and quality of financial markets. Papers presented at the conference explored the ways in which law and finance interact. Presenters were Barry Adler, Susan Chaplinsky, Robert Daines, Michael Knoll, Randall Kroszner, Ross Levine, Adam Pritchard, and Mark Weinstein.
Judge Calabresi Awarded Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation Medal in Law
In addition to addressing first year students of property and engaging in numerous informal encounters with faculty and students, Judge Calabresi delivered a public lecture on "Liberte, egalite, fraternite." Calabresi's lecture explored a fundamental problem of constitutional law, how to prevent majoritarian legislatures from interfering with individual liberties in the name of communitarian values ("fraternite"). Calabresi provocatively set the stage for his exploration by imagining a situation in which the legislature requires citizens to contribute body parts to save lives at risk from a nuclear accident. A conventional "libertarian" response to such a demand might be simply that the legislature cannot thus encroach on the basic rights of citizens. But Calabresi noted that, on current constitutional doctrine, such a right might be insufficient to withstand the demands of community. He cited Justice Scalia's argument that the only reliable protection is the assurance, under equal protection of the laws, that ensures that those who make such demands on citizens are themselves equally burdened. However, this assurance assumes that equal treatment is more than a mere formality, as Calabresi illustrated with the abortion controversy. Pro-life advocates can claim a formal equality for laws restricting abortion, even though the burden is borne only by women, because the law equally affects all members of the class of persons capable of giving birth. But a truer measure of actual equality in regard to the communitarian value of preserving life would require that men bear an equal "pro-life" burden -- as for example by giving life-saving body parts to victims of the accident he earlier hypothesized. Without advocating such an extreme measure, Calabresi argued such an equality would at least provide a test of the ernestness of male pro-life advocates. Although there are no simple ways of creating precise equality -- there will always be some disparity between the "we's" that make the law and the "they's" that are burdened by it -- it is the great challenge for modern constitutionalists to do so, in order to mediate the competing demands of "liberte" and "fraternite."
Judge Guido Calabresi, of the U.S. Second Circuit, was awarded the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation Medal of Law, an award given annually by the University of Virginia to a person of outstanding achievement in American or international law. Judge Calabresi is, in the words of Dean Robert Scott, a "giant" of American law - a distinguished judge, a former Dean and Professor of the Yale Law School, a brilliant legal scholar who is internationally recognized as one of the founders of the law and economics movement.
VJIL 40th Anniversary Conference
Attorney General Janet Reno was the keynote speaker on the occasion of the anniversary of the founding of the Virginia Journal of International Law. Ms. Reno met with law students, delivered a public address on international criminal law enforcement, and took questions from the audience. In addition, two panels focused on Domestic and International Enforcement of Human Rights Norms at the Turn of the Millennium. One discussion, addressing General Augusto Pinochet's extradition proceedings, included Clive Nicholls (barrister for General Pinochet), James Dobbins (Ambassador, National Security Council), Michael Byers (Duke Law School), and Ruth Wedgwood (Yale Law School). Another examined the effectiveness of International Criminal Tribunals and included Shabtai Rosenne (retired Ambassador-at-Large, Israel), David Scheffer (U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for War Crime Issues), and John R. Bolton (American Enterprise Institute). Law School Professors David Martin and Curtis Bradley moderated the panels.
The Anniversary Celebration marked the 40th year for the oldest continuously-published, student-edited international law journal in the country.
Why the British Don't Think of Law the Way Americans Do
Visiting Professor Alan Ryan, Warden of New College, Oxford and a leading political theorist, lectured on "Why the British Don't Think of Law the Way Americans Do." To the British the American preoccupation with constitutional rights derived from a written constitution is a deep puzzle, according to Professor Ryan. In Great Britain, which lacks a written constitution, people look to Parliament rather than the courts as the primary protector of individual rights and interests. In contrast to American courts, British courts are more inclined towards an ad hoc utilitarianism than to broadly defined rights-based principles. The patron saint of English law is John Stuart Mill, while that of American law is John Rawls, Ryan noted. The British legal system may be changing somewhat, however, as a consequence of its membership in the European Union which will require enforcement of the European Convention on Human Rights. Ryan doubted, however, that the British courts or parliament would ever reach the point of declaring, as the United States Supreme Court has done, that nude dancing is a protected right of free expression.
Kenneth Abraham Receives All-University Outstanding Teacher Award
Kenneth Abraham, Class of 1962 Professor of Law and Albert Clark Tate, Jr. Research Professor of Law, was selected as one of four recipients of an All-University Outstanding Teacher Award for 1999-2000. It is the sixth straight year that a member of the Law Faculty has been so honored. Previous law school recipients are: Professors John Jeffries, Pam Karlan, Michael Klarman, Paul Mahoney and Anne Coughlin.
Public Service Law Conference
The University of Virginia School of Law Conference on Public Service and the Law brought together students, faculty, litigators, and policymakers for an exploration of various public interest issues facing today's legal community. The Conference sparked scholarly debate on subjects generally left outside the classroom, generated support for social justice issues, and stimulated student interest in public service. Through informal panel discussions, students had an opportunity to speak with practicing public interest attorneys to learn more about their daily activities, the public interest job market, and the benefits of working for social justice. The ultimate goal was to galvanize support among law school students and practicing attorneys for more aggressive and innovative involvement in public service, while exposing law students to available opportunities for service during their law school career.
Olin Conference on Legal Construction of Norms
The role of social norms in influencing human behavior has become the subject of a very substantial social science and legal literature. Much of this literature has been focused on the ways in which norms can shape compliance with legal rules. Only recently, however, have scholars begun to focus on whether legal rules themselves can undermine, reinforce, or shape social norms. This year's Olin Conference gave some of the leading scholars in the field an opportunity to explore the law's role in "constructing" norms. Participants included scholars from law, economics, psychology, philosophy and sociology: Bob Cooter, Richard McAdams, Eric Posner, Paul Robinson, Russell Hardin, Elizabeth Scott, Robert Scott, Saul Levmore, Amy Wax, Stephen Nock, Robert Ellickson's and Rip Verkerke.
Chaired Professorship Lecture Series
In the Chaired Professorship Lecture Series, Vince Blasi, the D. Lurton Massee, Jr. Professor and Hunton & Williams Research Professor delivered a lecture on "Madison and School Vouchers" in March. Professor Blasi drew on Madison's classic defense of the separation of church and state, Memorial and Remonstrance, not as authority to determine whether school vouchers are consistent with principles of church-state separation, but as a framework for inquiry. Alternatively exploring the historic context behind Madison's Remonstrance (protesting a bill before the Virginia assembly to provide support for "teachers of the Christian Religion") and the modern controversy over school voucher proposals (which would provide support for both religious-affiliated and nonsectarian schools), Blasi showed that history, and one of history's most astute political minds, still offer fresh insights into contemporary controversies two hundred years later.