Associate Professor Robert Burt used to jokingly refer to himself as a walking contradiction of the separation of powers doctrine. Before entering teaching (he served two years on the University of Chicago law faculty before moving to Michigan this fall), Burt clerked for Chief Judge David Bazelon of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, served in the executive office which represented the United States in the Kennedy Round trade negotiations, and was legislative assistant to Senator Joseph Tydings of Maryland.
As Assistant General Counsel in the Office of the President's Special Representative for Trade Negotiations, Burt worked at "cajoling and coercing the multitude of federal agencies and generally striving toward a policy which we thought would be best overall. The beauty of that position from my perspective was the view it afforded of the functioning of the executive branch-the continual clash of agencies."
As Senator Tydings' legislative assistant, Burt's major projects were the Omnibus Crime Control Act of 1968 and the 1968 Civil Rights Act. He did the primary staff work for Tydings' partially successful effort to delete sections of Title II of the Crime Control Act, which purported to overrule the Miranda case, limit the availability of habeas corpus in state criminal convictions, and deprive federal courts of jurisdiction to review state court criminal prosecutions admitting confessions or lineup identifications into evidence. This rich practical background served him well when he authored a thoughtful and provocative article, "Miranda and Title II: A Morganatic Marriage," published in last year's Supreme Court Review.
Burt plans to apply his experience and interest in the institutional structure of the federal government in his constitutional law course and his seminar on the Congress. He also will teach a course in family law. "This reflects another interest, in legal regulation of social behavior. The family law area is paradigmatic of what happens when the law attempts to control personal social behavior."
Burt received his LL.B. in 1964 from Yale, where he was a Law Journal note and comment editor. Prior to law school he received a degree in jurisprudence at Oxford after two years as a Fulbright scholar.
-- From the University of Michigan Law School's Law Quadrangle Notes, V.15, Iss.01 (Fall 1970).
Burt left Michigan Law in 1976 to join the Yale Law faculty.