Law as a Means to a Public Order of Human Dignity: The Jurisprudence of Michael Reisman

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The Yale Journal of International Law


Words cannot do justice to the man who has transformed the lives of so many of us who have gathered at the Yale Law School today. But words are all we have to share our feelings, as we must, over space, and over time. Michael Reisman is the man we have the pleasure and deep satisfaction to honor and to celebrate: our teacher, our guide, our mentor, our friend. He has touched our lives in a variety of ways. In my case, the introduction to his magnificent work was made by a young South African scholar at the Peace Palace in The Hague, and I never looked back. His jurisprudence of insight and empowerment was a liberation indeed-a fountain of truth on how law is really made and changed, and a treasure trove of wisdom on what considerations should guide the decisions we consciously and unconsciously make. He made us, who call themselves professionals of the law, realize that we are not mere bouches de la loi; he challenged us to live up to the role we actually play in society and to assume the responsibility that comes with leadership. This statement of friendship and respect is designed to highlight our honoree's distinct place in the pantheon of jurisprudence (Part I); his keen sense of observation and analysis (Part II); his consummate skills of communication (Part 1II); and his abiding quest for a public order of human dignity (Part IV).

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Summer 2009