The News in Brief


An HL Central calendar welcomes students back to HLS in the empty new mailroom beneath Pound.

Obama nominated; alums snubbed for veep slots

Making a climactic appearance in a Denver stadium at the close of August’s Democratic National Convention, Illinois Senator Barack Obama ’91 accepted the party’s nomination to run for the presidency of the US, making him the first African-American to be nominated by a major party. If successful, Obama would be the first HLS alum to occupy the Oval Office since Republican Rutherford B. Hayes, Class of 1845. By Obama’s side in Denver was running mate Joe Biden, the longtime senator from Delaware. By picking Biden, Obama ended speculation he might select fresh-faced Virginia Governor and HLS alum Tim Kaine ’83. Rumors swirled around Kaine’s potential to deliver the swing state of Virginia and reinforce Obama’s mantle of “change.” A top contender for the Republican VP slot, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney ’75, was also passed over by his party’s nominee; John McCain chose Alaska Governor Sarah Palin instead.

Sunstein joins HLS faculty

Admin law geeks and New Republic subscribers rejoice: the inimitable Cass Sunstein ’78 has returned to HLS as a full-fledged faculty member. While a student at HLS, Sunstein edited the Civil Rights – Civil Liberties Law Review and was on the winning team of the Ames Moot Court Competition. The now prolific scholar will serve as Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law and Director of the Program on Risk Regulation. He took up HLS’s offer after 27 years at the University of Chicago, which he left under some controversy. Sunstein had been partners with Chicago philosopher Martha Nussbaum, herself a longtime HLS hiring target, before reports broke out that he had begun seeing Kennedy School professor Samantha Power ’99. The two met while campaigning together for Barack Obama, for whom Power was serving as a foreign policy advisor. Sunstein and Power were married in Ireland this past July.

LLM/SJD alum named UN Human Rights chief

The UN General Assembly has confirmed Navanethem Pillay LLM ’82, SJD ’88 as the next UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. Pillay is a South African of Tamil descent who has had a trailblazing legal career. In 1967, she was the first woman to open her own practice in Natal Province, South Africa, because no law firm would hire a nonwhite person. A defender of apartheid activists, she helped win legal representation for political prisoners on Robben Island, including Nelson Mandela. In 1995, she was nominated as the first nonwhite woman to serve on the High Court of South Africa. She later served as president of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and served on the first panel of judges on the International Criminal Court. Pillay began her leadership of the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Commission on September 1.

Some glitches as new website unveiled

HLS rolled out a new design for its website over Labor Day weekend, but the launch was not without problems. Broken links caused issues for students attempting to complete their complicated financial aid applications. Still other parts of the site – particularly the faculty directory – retain the old design. Students are divided on the aesthetics of the new site; most comments focused on the fonts gracing the front page, while others questioned its copious white space.

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