Law school

School Notes: Yale Law School
November/December 2021

Heather K. Gerken |

Professor’s book examines the humanity of war

In his latest book, Humane: How the United States Abandoned Peace and Reinvented War (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2021), Henry R. Luce Professor of Jurisprudence Samuel Moyn takes readers on a journey through the evolution of war and asks a troubling but urgent question: What if efforts to make war more ethical—to ban torture and limit civilian casualties—have only shored up the military enterprise and made it sturdier? To advance this argument, Moyn looks back at a century and a half of passionate debate about the ethics of using force. A popular movement to abolish war flourished on both sides of the Atlantic. Eventually, reformers shifted their attention from opposing the crime of war to opposing war crimes, with fateful consequences. Humane is the story of how America went off to fight and never came back, and how armed combat was transformed from an imperfect tool for resolving disputes into an integral component of the modern condition.

Liman Center director testifies on solitary confinement legislation

In early August, Judith Resnik, Arthur Liman Professor of Law and founding director of the Arthur Liman Center for Public Interest Law, was invited to present expert testimony for a policy hearing of the Pennsylvania Senate Democratic Policy Committee, “Ending the Unethical Use of Solitary Confinement in PA.” The testimony analyzed the text of the proposed bill and put it in the context of dozens of other statutes proposed or 
enacted since 2018. A few legislatures such as Colorado, New York, and Massachusetts have enacted comprehensive reforms that constrain the use of solitary confinement. Other statutes, like those enacted in Florida, Georgia, and Texas, focus on subpopulations like young and pregnant people and individuals with mental health challenges. The testimony drew on work by the Liman Center’s researchers, who are part of a collaborative effort to track the rules governing solitary confinement, the numbers of people held in prison in isolation, and the conditions of their confinement. 

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