Law school

School Notes: Yale Law School
July/August 2021

Heather K. Gerken |

Book provides historical and legal perspective on Constitution

In his new book, The Words That Made Us: America’s Constitutional Conversation, 1760–1840 (Basic Books), Professor Akhil Reed Amar ’80, ’84JD, combines historical and legal perspective to cover the main constitutional episodes of the fateful era in which “America became America.” By combining the two approaches, Amar hopes to solve what he sees as a fundamental problem in constitutional literacy—previous works on this subject are by historians who are not well versed in the law, and legal scholars who don’t pay enough attention to history in shaping modern constitutional rhetoric. Amar aims to unite history and law in a wide-angled multigenerational narrative that seems both to understand the past and to evaluate it using proper historical and legal tools of analysis.

Clinic wins settlement for veterans

The Veterans Legal Services Clinic at Yale Law School scored a significant federal court victory in the nationwide class action lawsuit Kennedy v. Whitley. Plaintiffs were represented by the clinic and Jenner & Block LLP. The case resulted in a historic settlement that will see the US Army review the discharges of thousands of veterans affected by post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, military sexual trauma, or other behavioral health conditions, and implement administrative reforms for individuals who apply to have their discharge statuses upgraded in the future. A federal court granted final approval of the settlement on April 26. 

Professor testifies before Congress

Professor Oona A. Hathaway ’97JD testified in March during a virtual hearing before the US House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs, to address issues concerning the balance of war powers between the executive and legislative branches. Hathaway is the Gerard C. and Bernice Latrobe Smith Professor of International Law at Yale Law School, professor of international law and area studies at the Yale University MacMillan Center, professor of the Yale University Department of Political Science, and director of the Yale Law School Center for Global Legal Challenges.

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