Judith Resnik, Yale Law School
Judith Resnik is
the Arthur Liman Professor of Law at Yale Law School and the Founding Director
of the Liman Center for Public Interest Law. She teaches courses on federalism,
procedure, courts, prisons, equality, and citizenship. Her scholarship focuses
on the relationship of democratic values to government services such as courts,
prisons, and post offices; the roles of collective redress, class actions, and
arbitration; contemporary conflicts over privatization; the relationships of states
to citizens and non-citizens; the forms and norms of federalism; and equality
Professor Resnik received an Andrew Carnegie Fellowship, a two-year award to
enable her to complete research and write a new book, Impermissible Punishments,
which explores the impact of the 1960s civil rights revolution on the kinds of
punishments that governments can impose on people convicted of crimes. In 2018,
she was also awarded an honorary doctorate from University College London.
prior books include Representing Justice: Invention, Controversy, and Rights in City-States
and Democratic Courtrooms (with Dennis Curtis, Yale University
Press, 2011); Federal Courts Stories (co-edited with Vicki C.
Jackson, Foundation Press, 2010); and Migrations and Mobilities: Citizenship, Borders,
and Gender (co-edited with Seyla Benhabib, NYU, 2009). In
2014, Resnik was the co-editor (with Linda Greenhouse) of the Daedalus
Invention of Courts.
Justice received numerous awards for its
exploration of the evolution of adjudication into its modern form. Through
mapping the remarkable run of the political icon of Justice and tracking the
development of public spaces – courthouses – dedicated to justice, Resnik and
Curtis analyzed how Renaissance “rites” of judgment turned into democratic
“rights,” requiring governments to protect judicial independence and to provide
open and public hearings. With more than 220 images, readers can see the
longevity of aspirations for legitimate state-based adjudication and the
expansion of government services and come to appreciate that, while venerable,
courts are also vulnerable institutions that ought (like the post office and
the press) not be taken for granted. In 2011, Representing Justice was
selected by The Guardian as one of the year’s “best legal reads;”
in 2012, it was chosen by the American Publishers Association as the recipient
of two PROSE awards for excellence in social sciences and in law/legal studies,
and by the American Society of Legal Writers for the 2012 SCRIBES award. In
Justice won the Order of the Coif award, presented every two
years in recognition of a book’s outstanding contributions to legal
book chapters and articles include The Functions of Publicity and of Privatization in
Courts and Their Replacements (from Jeremy Bentham to #MeToo and Google Spain)
(Max Planck Institute, Luxembourg, Nomos, 2019); Accommodations,
Discounts, and Displacement: The Variability of Rights as a Norm of
Federalism(s) (Jus Politicum, 2017); Bordering by Law: The
Migration of Law, Crimes, Sovereignty, and the Mail (Nomos LVII:
Immigration, Emigration, and Migration, 2017); Revising Our “Common Intellectual Heritage” (Notre
Dame Law Review, 2016); and Diffusing Disputes: The Public in the Private of
Arbitration, the Private in Courts, and the Erasure of Rights (Yale
Law Journal, 2015).
now chairs Yale Law School’s Global Constitutional Law Seminar, a part of the
Gruber Program on Global Justice and Women’s Rights. The private seminar brings
together jurists from around the world and provides an annual set of readings
that are, in essence, case books on pressing issues of constitutional law.
Resnik is the editor of the volumes which, since 2012 when she became the
chair, have been published as e-books. They include Global Reconfigurations,
Constitutional Obligations, and Everyday Life (2018), Reconstituting
Constitutional Orders (2017), and The Reach of Rights (2015),
and are available at https://documents.law.yale.edu/global-constitutionalism-seminar.
founded Yale’s Arthur Liman Center for Public Interest Law, which supports
one-year fellowships for Yale Law School graduates as well as summer
fellowships for students at Barnard, Brown, Bryn Mawr, Harvard, Princeton,
Spelman, Stanford, and Yale. From its inception in 1997 through 2020, 152
graduates of Yale Law School have held Liman Fellowships. Each year, the Liman
Center sponsors colloquia and teaches seminars on the civil and criminal
faculty in the Liman Center also work on projects related to
incarceration and the challenges of the justice system for individuals
with limited resources. For example, the Liman Center has joined with the
Association of State Correctional Administrators (ASCA) in a series of reports
on solitary confinement, in which prisoners are held for 22 hours or more in
their cells, for 15 days or longer.
In 2013, ASCA and Liman researched all
fifty states’ rules governing placement in isolation and learned that policies
made it easy to be placed into confinement and focused little on insuring
release from segregation. In 2015, ASCA and the Liman Center co-authored Time-in-Cell: The
ASCA-Liman 2014 National Survey of Administrative Segregation in Prison.
The report was the first to provide updated information, as of the fall of
2014, on both the numbers of people (80,000 to 100,000) and the conditions in
solitary confinement nationwide. Since then, Liman and ASCA have undertaken
follow-up services to provide a unique longitudinal database on the use of what
correctional officials call “restrictive housing.” The reports include Aiming to Reduce
Time-In-Cell: Reports from Correctional Systems on the Numbers of Prisoners in
Restricted Housing and on the Potential of Policy Changes to Bring About
Reforms (2016); Rethinking Death Row (2016); Reforming Restrictive Housing: The 2018
ASCA-Liman Nationwide Survey of Time-in-Cell, and its companion
to Limit Restrictive Housing: Efforts in Four Jurisdictions to Make Changes,
both published in 2018. All of these volumes are available at https://law.yale.edu/centers-workshops/arthur-liman-center-public-interest-law/liman-center-publications.
research survey estimated that 61,000 people in prison were held in-cell for an
average of 22 hours or more for 15 days or more. Reporting jurisdictions
counted more than 3,500 people who had been held in solitary for more than
three years. ASCA-Liman has also identified a significant shift in governing
policies. Once, prison administrators saw solitary as the solution to
disciplinary issues in prison. Today, many prison leaders are joining in the
national and international view that solitary is itself a problem to be solved
through abolition or substantial limitations on its use.
of the Liman Center includes researching the challenges that women face while
incarcerated. In February of 2019, Professor Resnik joined nineteen other
witnesses to testify before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights at its hearing
on women in prison.
The Liman Center
also has several initiatives focused on economic injustice and the courts.
Professor Resnik chaired the 2018 Colloquium, Who Pays? Fines, Fees, Bail, and the Cost
of Courts, and co-taught the 2018 Liman workshop, Rationing Access to
Justice in Democracies. The 2019 Liman seminar, Poverty and the Courts:
Fines, Fees, Bail, and Collective Redress, continued to explore
In March of
2019, the Arthur Liman Center for Public Interest Law, joined by the Policy
Advocacy Clinic at UC Berkeley and the Fines and Fees Justice Center, focused
on these challenges at the 22nd annual Liman Center Colloquium, Economic Injustice:
Courts, Law Schools, and Institutionalizing Reforms, and in the
Colloquium’s publication, Ability to Pay, which aim to bring the economics of court
services and the needs of courts and litigants into the mainstream of legal
education. These books are available at https://law.yale.edu/sites/default/files/area/center/liman/document/liman_colloquium_book_combined_cover_march_21_2019.pdf
is a member of national and international organizations dedicated to law,
courts, and social justice. She has chaired the American Association of Law
Schools’ Sections on Procedure, on Federal Courts, and on Women in Legal
Education. She is a Managerial Trustee of the International Association of
Women Judges. Professor Resnik served as a founder and, for more than a decade,
as a co-chair of Yale University’s Women Faculty Forum, begun in 2001.
is also an occasional litigator. She argued Mohawk Industries, Inc. v. Carpenter,
decided in 2009 by the United States Supreme Court; and in the 1987 case about
admission of women to the Rotary Club. She also regularly files amici briefs in
areas related to her expertise. Professor Resnik has testified before Congress,
before rulemaking committees of the federal judiciary, and before the House of
Commons of Canada.
From 2014 to
2016, Professor Resnik was a Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar, travelling to
various liberal arts colleges in the United States. In 2015, she was a visiting
professor at Université Panthéon-Assas Paris II, to which she will return in
2020; she is also an honorary visiting professor at University College London.
Professor Resnik was the recipient of the Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of
Achievement Award from the Commission on Women of the American Bar Association.
In 2001, she was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences,
and in 2002, she became a member of the American Philosophical Society, where
she delivered the Henry LaBarre Jayne Lecture in 2005. In 2008, Professor
Resnik was named Outstanding Scholar of the Year by the Fellows of the American
Bar Foundation. In 2010, she received the Elizabeth Hurlock Beckman Prize,
awarded to outstanding faculty in higher education in the fields of psychology
or law. That year, Professor Resnik also had a cameo role in the Doug Liman
Game. In 2013, Professor Resnik was given the Arabella Babb
Mansfield Award, the highest honor presented by the National Association of
Women Lawyers. In 2017, she was honored by former Liman fellows with the
establishment of the Resnik-Curtis Fellowship in Public Interest Law.