The University College London Faculty of Laws (UCL Law) has awarded an honorary doctorate of laws to Judith Resnik ’75, Arthur Liman Professor of Law at Yale School of Law. The founding director of Yale’s Arthur Liman Center for Public Interest Law, Resnik teaches and researches on a wide range of issues related to constitutionalism, federalism, the impact of democracy on government services, the relationship of states to citizens and non-citizens, and equality and gender.  

Judith Resnik '75UCL Professor Dame Hazel Genn presented Resnik with the honorary doctorate at UCL Law’s graduation in London on July 3. “The unifying and motivating objective of her teaching, research and litigation work is her profound commitment to social justice,” Genn said of Resnik. Genn also praised Resnik’s “ability to integrate her focus on civil rights, courts and democracy and equal treatment through all tree aspects of her professional life.” 

In her address at the UCL Law ceremony, Resnik challenged graduates to consider the state of democracy as they launch their legal careers. “In countries around the world, people are seeing profound challenges to the independence of judiciaries and to the vitality of democracy,” she said. “Your studies have given you a set of skills that oblige you—and all of us with law degrees—to ask ourselves: what can we do to help? How can we be useful amidst the many challenges and the acts of hostility? How can the past inform this moment? What precepts of law need to be underscored? And what new institutions and ideas do we need to invent?”

This degree is one of a long list of honors that Resnik has received over the course of her legal career, including the 2013 Arabella Bab Mansfield Award, the highest honor from the National Association of Women Lawyers, given “in recognition of professional achievement, positive influence, and valuable contribution to women in law and in society,” and the 2014 Order of the Coif award for her book, Representing Justice: Invention, Controversy, and Rights in Ciy-States and Democratic Courtrooms, which she co-wrote with her husband, Yale Law Professor Emeritus Dennis Curtis. Earlier this spring, Resnik was selected as a recipient of a 2018 Andrew Carnegie Fellowship, a two-year grant that supports scholarship in the social sciences and humanities. Resnik will use her fellowship to study and write a book on the transnational history of prison reform.

Posted July 24, 2018