Michigan Law is celebrating two distinguished former faculty members, Joseph. L. Sax and Bruno Simma, with the creation of new professorships bearing their names. And on Thursday, the University Regents approved the appointments of Professors Ted A. Parson and Steven Ratner to fill the respective chairs.
The Joseph L. Sax Collegiate Professorship honors Sax, a world-renowned environmental law expert who taught at Michigan from 1966-1986 as the Philip A. Hart Distinguished University Professor. Sax’s scholarship, particularly on the public trust doctrine and on takings law, has frequently been cited by the U.S. Supreme Court and remains definitive in the field.
In his 1970 landmark book, Defending the Environment: A Strategy for Citizen Action, Sax developed the idea of citizen enforcement of environmental laws. He worked as a policy advocate and legislative draftsman to turn this concept into practice in the "citizen suit" provisions of several federal environmental laws and in the Michigan Environmental Protection Act, popularly known as the "Sax Act."
From 1994 to 1996, he served in President Bill Clinton's administration as the counselor to the secretary of the interior and deputy assistant secretary for policy at the U.S. Department of the Interior.
Sax is on the faculty of Boalt Hall School of Law at the University of California, Berkeley, where he is James H. House and Hiram H. Hurd Professor Emeritus of Environmental Regulation.
The first Sax Professor is Edward A. (Ted) Parson, who joined the Michigan Law faculty in 2003, in a joint appointment with the School of Natural Resources and Environment. His research examines international environmental policy, the role of science and technology in public policy, and the political economy of regulation. Parson's most recent books are The Science and Politics of Global Climate Change, co-authored with Andrew Dessler, and Protecting the Ozone Layer: Science and Strategy, which won the 2004 Harold and Margaret Sprout Award of the International Studies Association.
The Bruno Simma Collegiate Professorship honors Simma, a leading figure in public international law who has been a judge on the International Court of Justice since 2003. Simma came to Michigan Law in 1986 as a visiting professor and held a joint appointment on the faculty from 1987-1992, while also serving on the UN Committee on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights and as vice president of the German Society of International Law. Simma was a professor of international law and European community law from 1973-2003 at the University of Munich, where he was also director of the Institute of International Law.
In 1995, Simma was both a visiting professor at the Law School and a lecturer at The Hague Academy of International Law. Since 1997, he has been a member of the Law School's Affiliated Overseas Faculty.
Simma's outstanding reputation in the field of public international law began with his textbook “Universelles Völkerrecht” of 1976, co-authored with his teacher and mentor Alfred Verdross and still widely cited in German literature and jurisprudence. Over a career that spans more than three decades, Simma has focused on the relationship between human rights law and general international law.
The first Simma Professor is Steven R. Ratner, who joined the Law School in 2004 from the University of Texas School of Law at Austin, where he was the Albert Sidney Burleson Professor in Law. His research has focused on new challenges facing new governments and international institutions after the Cold War, including ethnic conflict, territorial borders, implementation of peace agreements, and accountability for human rights violations. His books include The New UN Peacekeeping: Building Peace in Lands of Conflict after the Cold War, Accountability for Human Rights Atrocities in International Law: Beyond the Nuremberg Legacy, of which he is co-author, and International Law: Norms, Actors, Process, of which he is co-author.