Scholars at the Law School

Two well-known scholars will be at Seattle University School of Law on Thursday, October 25.

Professor Derrick A. Bell Jr., a leading African American scholar who has written extensively on the quest for racial justice, will be recognized at a luncheon at noon in the second floor gallery.

Professor Neal Katyal, a law professor at Georgetown University Law Center who argued Hamdan v. Rumsfeld before the U.S. Supreme Court will speak at 4 p.m., also in the gallery.

Bell, a visiting professor at New York University, will take part in two events sponsored by the university’s Center for the Study of Justice in Society the previous day: A faculty summit on “Race: Beginning A Holistic Conversation” and Community Conversation on Renewed Legacy of Segregation.”

Bell is a compelling voice on issues of race and class. Throughout his 40-year career as a lawyer, activist, teacher and writer, he has provoked critics and challenged readers with his uncompromising candor and original progressive views.

He was the first tenured black professor at the Harvard Law School in 1971. He relinquished it in 1992, when he refused to return from a two-year, unpaid leave of absence he took to protest the lack of women of color on the faculty. In 1980, he left Harvard for five years to accept the deanship at the University of Oregon Law School. Bell left the post when the faculty directed that he not extend an offer to an Asian American woman faculty candidate who, after an extended search, had been listed third on the list. When the top two candidates (both white males) declined the position, the faculty decided to reopen the search rather than extend an offer to the Asian American woman.

Prior to the positions at Harvard and the University of Oregon, Derrick Bell has served as Executive Director of the Western Center on Law and Poverty at the University of Southern California Law School, Counsel for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and Deputy Director of the Office for Civil Rights in the Department of Health, Education and Welfare.

Bell has been widely published in professional journals and newspapers His book “Race, Racism, and American Law,” published initially in 1973 is now in its third edition, and his book, “Constitutional Conflicts,” published in 1997, is a text intended for basic constitutional law courses. Bell’s autobiographical work, “Confronting Authority: Reflections of an Ardent Protester” offers an honest appraisal of his struggles as an educator, writer and non-conformist in a society plagued by racism.

Katyal scored a major victory (with Charles Swift ’94) in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, in which the Supreme Court found that President Bush’s tribunals for Guantanamo Bay detainees unconstitutional.

He previously served as National Security Adviser in the U.S. Justice Department and was commissioned by President Clinton to write a report on the need for more legal pro bono work. He also served as Vice President Al Gore’s co-counsel in the Supreme Court election dispute of 2000, and represented the deans of most major private law schools in the landmark University of Michigan affirmative-action case Grutter v. Bollinger (2003). Katyal clerked for Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer as well as Judge Guido Calabresi of the U.S. Court of Appeals. He attended Dartmouth College and Yale Law School. His articles have appeared in virtually every major law review and newspaper in America.

Katyal was named Lawyer of the Year in 2006 by Lawyers USA, Runner-Up for Lawyer of the Year 2006 by National Law Journal, one of the top 50 litigators nationwide 45 years old or younger by American Lawyer (2007), named one of the top 500 lawyers in the country by LawDragon Magazine (in 2006 and again in 2007) and one of 10 Non-Resident Indian Achievers Worldwide by Hindustan Times. He has also been awarded the Town of Salem, Massachusetts Prize (2007); the ACLU Foundation’s Roger Baldwin Award (2007), the National Asian Pacific Bar Association Trailblazer Award (2007), and the 2004 National Law Journal pro bono award for his work.