January 14, 2013
In Memoriam: Jeff O'ConnellJeffrey O'Connell, Professor Emeritus at the University of Virginia School of Law, passed away last week. He was 84. O'Connell, a torts and insurance scholar who was an early proponent of no-fault insurance, graduated from Harvard Law. Over his career, he also taught at Illinois and Iowa, and visited at a number of other schools.
January 11, 2013
In Memoriam: James HoggJames Hogg, a professor of law at William Mitchell College of Law, passed away this week at the age of 83. Hogg served as president and dean of William Mitchell from 1985-95. He also served as dean of Western State College of Law from 2001-03. He was a member of the University of Minnesota Law School faculty from 1956-70.
January 10, 2013
In Memoriam: Beth EislerProfessor Beth Eisler of the University of Toledo passed away last week. She started her academic career at Wayne State and served as the interim dean at Toledo in 2005. She was 66.
December 19, 2012
In Memoriam: Robert Bork (1927-2012)
Chicago's memorial notice is here. It correctly emphasizes his most important scholarly work, in the field of antitrust. In the legal academy, he was probably more widely known for his 1971 paper, "Neutral Principles and Some First Amendment Problems," a forceful argument for the proposition that, "Where constitutional materials do not clearly specify the value to be preferred, there is no principled way to prefer any claimed human value to any other." It also included the striking claim that,
Every clash between a minority claiming freedom and a majority claiming power to regulate involves a choice between the gratifications of the two groups. When the Constitution has not spoken, the Court will be able to find no scale, other than its own value preferences, upon which to weigh the respective claims to pleasure.
Much later in his career, this kind of hedonic value relativism would vanish from his work.
In the broader culture, of course, Judge Bork may be most-remembered for his name having been turned into a verb: "to bork" a judicial nominee was to subject the nominee to political attack (perhaps unfair political attack). In order to avoid being "borked," candidates for judicial office without substantial "paper trails" were preferred. My most striking recollection from the time of his unsuccessful nomination to the Court by President Reagan was the explanation offered to me by a senior partner at my New York law firm, who was subsequently President of the New York City Bar Association (which opposed the nomination). He said that what persuaded the NYC Bar to oppose Judge Bork was his willingness to overrule settled precedents that he deemed not to have a sound constitutional basis. Despite his seminal work on antitrust, it was overshadowed in the mind of these corporate lawyers by the constitutional vision of the 1971 paper, and what they felt was its contempt for precedent.
UPDATE: Interesting reflections on Judge Bork's career from Michael Dorf (Cornell).
December 17, 2012
In Memoriam: Russell J. Weintraub (1929-2012)I am sorry to report the passing of my esteemed former colleague at the University of Texas, Russell Weintraub, probably the leading conflicts of law scholar of his generation and a member of the UT law faculty for many decades.
August 28, 2012
In Memoriam: Roger Fisher (1922-2012)A leading figure in negotiation and conflict resolution, Professor Fisher spent his academic career at Harvard. The HLS memorial notice is here.
June 25, 2012
In Memoriam: Ann Scales
Professor Ann Scales, from the University of Denver School of Law faculty, passed away Sunday. She was 60. Scales, a feminist law scholar, previously taught at the University of New Mexico School of Law. Al Brophy writes more about her here.
May 09, 2012
In Memoriam: Louis Pollak
Judge Louis Pollak, former dean of both Yale and Penn Law, passed away yesterday. I've posted a bit more length here.
May 02, 2012
In Memoriam: Ann Richardson
Professor Ann Bishop Richardson, the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at the University of the District of Columbia School of Law died on April 17. She joined UDC in 1994 and taught for a number of years in the school's Public Entitlements clinic. Richardson was 71.
March 15, 2012
In Memoriam: John Kidwell
John Kidwell, Professor of Law Emeritus at the University of Wisconsin School of Law, passed away on Saturday. Kidwell joined the Wisconsin faculty in 1972 and took emeritus status in 2005. He published in a variety of areas, including contracts, IP, and property. He was 66.