Human Rights and Peace Law Docket
Hyder Centennial Professor of Law • Director of Research
The University of Texas at Austin
I am pleased to introduce the to practitioners, scholars, judges, and librarians of the 1990s. I know its value from long experience with its predecessors. You will find here a wealth of accurate, precise information on efforts being made to deal with old and new political questions — from hate crimes to nuclear weapons, from environmental crises to sexual harassment.
The has four unique features. First, it digests cases from the trial courts as well as the appellate courts. This is particularly important because major cases in the areas covered often never get beyond the trial court level. The outcomes of these cases, however, do shape the law in the field even though they will never be reported in traditional law reports. (The acquittals in California v. Angela Davis and Massachusetts v. Amy Carter, and the dismissal in United States v. Russo and Ellsberg come to mind.)
Second, the digests decisions of administrative bodies and statutes passed at all levels from Congress to city councils. In this era of the Rehnquist Court, this coverage nudges lawyers and activists away from the traditional reliance on "suing the bastards" toward considering the feasibility of lobbying Congress or drafting state and local laws.
Third, the does not begin with cases from the United States but with U.S. v Goering and other international cases dating from World War II. These are followed by cases from the International Court of Justice, the Organization of American States, and other regional organizations. This requires American readers to see the United States and its legal system in a global context.
While the bulk of the book does describe U.S. cases, Sections IV through XLIV outline cases from Argentina to Zimbabwe. Although efforts have obviously been made to provide the same kind of accurate information on these cases, the editors confess that this part of the book needs more work and readers are asked to supply more information for the next edition.
Finally, the seeks to include all cases raising issues under the United Nations Charter, the Nuremberg Principles, international covenants, the U.S. Constitution and statutes, and the fundamental law of other jurisdictions concerning peace and human rights. As a result, the combines cases traditionally divided into constitutional, international, criminal, labor, immigration, and related fields.
A look at recent cases and law review articles indicates that recent editions of the have been used to good advantage by judges, law professors, and students. See, e.g., the opinion of Laura Safer-Espinoza in New York v. Gray, 571 N.Y.S.2d 851 (N.Y. Crim. Ct. 1991); Joel H. Levitin, "Putting the Government on Trial: The Necessity of Defense and Social Change," 33 1221, 1223; Frank Lawrence, Note, "The Nuremberg Principles: A Defense for Political Protesters," 40 397 (1989). Professor Ann Fagan Ginger, Executive Director of the Meiklejohn Civil Liberties Institute in Berkeley, California, used cases from the 1990 in her expert testimony in West Valley v. Hamilton (PL-400) and in her article on "Enforcing the Hidden U.S. Equal Rights Law," in 20 385 (1990).
The continues an important series of case reporters that began with the of the American Civil Liberties Union (1920-1931), and continued with the (1932-1942), the Recent Items in the (1942-1945) (all of the above edited by Carol King), the (1955-1969), and (1979) (both edited by Professor Ginger).
The U.S. cases are organized in ways that practicing lawyers describe as "user friendly;" cases won in the trial court come first, followed, in order, by cases won on the first appeal, cases decided by the U.S. Supreme Court, and finally cases lost and pending. Keywords in the margin tag each case by the political issue raised ("Gulf War," "Immigrant Rights"), and the names and addresses of the lawyers involved appear at the end of each current case digest so that people with similar problems can contact each other.
For traditional researchers, the provides a table of cases and indexes to constitutions, statutes, regulations, and executive orders of the United States and other countries; to treaties, protocols, conventions and international agencies; to geographical sources, and an extensive subject index.
Fortunately for lawyers and others concerned about human rights and peace law issues, the Meiklejohn Institute has decided to produce the on a regular biennial basis. Now these individuals will be able to compete on an even playing field with their adversaries who have easy access to the files and work-product of prosecutors, government agencies, and business law firms.