671 From the Dean cf8
From the Dean

Days Filled with Ideas, Dialogue, and Debate

    A day in the life of any law school is hard to describe and difficult to quantify. One way to do so at Cardozo is to use each issue of Cardozo Life to represent the richness of life at our institution. The cover of this issue captures in a lighthearted way the broad range of activities that we participate in and enjoy. Our days seem filled with ideas, dialogue, and debate impacted and informed by national and international events. The halls, classrooms, and lounges become venues for discussions that change our perception of the law and its role in our lives. For all of us, understanding the law and its role in society is a daily undertaking.

    Among its many strengths, Cardozo has on its full-time faculty at least six constitutional law scholars. They provide expertise in how the Constitution is structured, how the Bill of Rights operates, and how foreign constitutions enlighten analysis of our own document. Our faculty express both liberal and conservative views on these issues and make an indelible mark in the courtroom  as well as the classroom. Overall they have achieved an enviable position as writers and as players in the world of ideas.

    Consider Ed de Grazia, who helped free from censorship Henry Miller's Tropic of Cancer, William Burroughs' Naked Lunch, and the film "I Am Curious Yellow." He worked closely with Allen Ginsberg during those years. Today, he continues to work on projects that insure artists and writers freedom from censorship. Or consider Marci Hamilton, whose compelling argument in the City of Boerne case helped the Supreme Court declare the Religious Freedom Restoration Act unconstitutional. When he was at the Department of Justice, John O. McGinnis worked in the Office of Legal Counsel; he believes strongly that the President has committed an impeachable offense and testified in Congress in support of this view. Richard Weisberg, a 1998 Guggenheim Fellow, takes a completely different view and chastises the American public for shirking its civic duty by engaging in trivial gossip rather than substantive public discourse. David Rudenstine, who authored the award-winning book on the Pentagon Papers case, now helps us remember Telford Taylor, a founding member of this faculty whose life remains an object lesson in professional achievement.

    The interview with Jacques Derrida, one of France's most famous philosophers and a founder of deconstruction, is something of a coup. It is a special opportunity for us to hear the thoughts of Derrida the man as well as Derrida the philosopher. Only a talented interviewer like our comparative constitutionalist Michel Rosenfeld could have captured as felicitously the words of this remarkable thinker, whose annual visits to our School are much-anticipated events.

    Our educational mission, of course, is the collegial integration of our students into the life of the law. Looking over this issue makes me realize anew how well we are achieving that goal.