Three Leading Harvard Law Professors Find New Journal Focuses on US Law and Equality | New



Distinguished Harvard Law School professors Randall L. Kennedy, Martha L. Minow, and Cass R. Sunstein recently founded The American Journal of Law and Equality, a publication devoted to the study of equality – and its absence – in American society.

The journal will publish annually and the three professors will edit each issue, a distinction from most law journals, which are traditionally edited by students.

Minow – who is a college professor, the highest honor in faculty at Harvard – said the idea came from Sunstein, another college professor who is currently on leave from law school as a senior advisor to the Department of Homeland Security of the Biden Administration.

Minow added that she and her colleagues felt “strongly” that the newspaper should focus on the United States and that it “makes the connection between theory and practice.”

Kennedy said civic unrest that swept across America over the summer inspired professors to found the journal.

“People knew various inequalities in American life, but it certainly brought to light in a particularly poignant way various inequalities in our society,” Kennedy said. “You’ve had the pandemic, you’ve had the ongoing, high-profile episodes of police malfeasance, often racist police malfeasance, the reaction to that when protests erupt across the country. And all of this is happening in the shadow of the impending elections. “

The first issue of the journal, due out this summer, will feature essays responding to aspects of Harvard government professor Michael J. Sandel’s recent book, “The Tyranny of Merit: What’s Become of the Common Good?” The three co-founders will also each contribute an article.

Sandel wrote in an emailed statement that he was “deeply grateful” to the journal’s co-founders for making his book the “topic of a symposium in the inaugural issue.” The book argues that despite the attraction of meritocracy, it has contributed to inequality in society and fueled backlash against elites.

“The editors enlisted a star cast of 14 researchers with different perspectives to respond to the book,” Sandel wrote. “I can’t wait to answer and learn from their essays.”

Kennedy said he was inspired to start the newspaper to contribute to the conversation started by pre-existing publications.

“All the editors have written for all kinds of publications, and we all feel gratitude and admiration,” Kennedy said. “Part of that gratitude and administration makes me, in a way, emulate what they are doing.”

Kennedy said the journal solicits work from a wide range of people beyond lawyers and academics.

“Law professors are certainly welcome, but so are political scientists, sociologists too, anthropologists too, philosophers too, people outside of academia are welcome too,” Kennedy said. “Our pages are open for thoughtful comments, regardless of the source of that comment.”

Sandel said the creation of the journal was both timely and necessary, and described his colleagues as optimal academics to lead the nascent publication.

“At a time when issues of equality and inequality demand new thinking, launching this journal is an inspired idea,” Sandel wrote. “The three founding editors are ideally equipped to engage multiple voices, from the academy of law and beyond.”

Kennedy said he hopes the newspaper will, over time, make “interesting, provocative, useful, enlightening” observations on the state of equality.

“I can’t help but think it’s a good thing that people are coming together, pooling their efforts and trying to bring the world a thoughtful discussion on topics,” he said. “As far as I’m concerned, you can’t have enough. “

– Editor Emmy M. Cho can be reached at [email protected]



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