Dean Emeritus Norman Redlich (LL.M. ’55), former Judge Edward Weinfeld Professor of Law, passed away on June 10. He was 85.
Redlich joined the NYU School of Law faculty in 1960, and taught until 1994. An expert in constitutional law and professional responsibility, he was also an early defender of civil liberties and civil rights, and a pioneering advocate for the abolition of the death penalty. During his tenure as dean between 1975 and 1988, Redlich hired prominent faculty members including Ronald Dworkin, Thomas Nagel, Anthony Amsterdam, and John Sexton; Sexton would succeed Redlich as dean before going on to become president of NYU.
Dean Richard Revesz, whom Redlich appointed to the faculty in 1985, gave a eulogy at Redlich’s memorial service on June 13: “Norman’s extraordinary energy and powerful leadership inspired not only generations of students and faculty, but also a much broader community of lawyers and public servants.”
Redlich oversaw the construction of two of the Law School’s residence halls, D’Agostino Hall and the Mercer Street Residence, as well as the underground extension of the Law Library creating a link between Vanderbilt Hall and Furman Hall. He also strove to diversify the student body, increased NYU Law’s commitment to public interest law, worked to improve the clinical program, and launched interdisciplinary initiatives in the areas of lawyering and law and philosophy.
Outside of the Law School, Redlich served as assistant counsel on the Warren Commission, helping to develop the “single-bullet theory” of the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Working in New York City’s Law Department, Redlich helped grassroots activist Jane Jacobs thwart Robert Moses’s proposed Lower Manhattan Expressway, which would have resulted in a four-lane highway running through Washington Square Park. Redlich also served as corporation counsel, New York City’s highest legal office, until he became dean. During the McCarthy era, he defended blacklisted individuals who had refused to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee. He also represented death row inmates at Sing Sing appealing their capital sentences, ultimately saving five men from execution.
Posted on June 14, 2011