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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Former South Africa Constitutional Court Justice Albie Sachs to Speak on Judicial Enforcement of Social and Economic Rights

Renowned human rights activist and former South Africa Constitutional Court Justice Albie Sachs will be at Yale Law School on Wednesday, September 21, 2011, to give the Robert P. Anderson Memorial Fellowship Lecture. The lecture, titled “The Judge Who Cried: Social and Economic Rights as Judicially Enforceable Fundamental Rights,” is free and open to the public. It begins at 5 p.m. in Room 127.

Asked to describe his talk, Justice Sachs commented that reflecting on the demand for housing made by South African activist Irene Grootboom and other evicted shack dwellers, and on the demand for anti-retroviral drugs made by HIV-positive women about to give birth, he will address the question, “Can the Constitutional Court of South Africa grant constitutional remedies without intruding unduly on the legitimate spheres of decision-making by the legislature and executive?”

A chief architect of South Africa’s post-apartheid Constitution, Justice Sachs was appointed by Nelson Mandela in 1994 to the country’s newly established Constitutional Court, where he served until his retirement in 2009. The appointment followed decades of anti-apartheid activism, during which Sachs was raided by the security police, subjected to banning orders restricting his movement, and twice detained in solitary confinement without trial for prolonged periods. He eventually went into exile, spending eleven years studying and teaching law in England and another eleven years in Mozambique, where he worked as a law professor and legal researcher. In 1988, he was the target of a car bombing by South African security agents, which cost him his right arm and sight in one eye.

Justice Sachs is the author of numerous books, including “Soft Vengeance of a Freedom Fighter,” which chronicles his recovery from the car bombing, “The Free Diary of Albie Sachs,” and “The Strange Alchemy of Life and Law,” which won the 2010 Alan Paton Prize. He has travelled to many countries sharing South African experience in healing divided societies and is recipient of the Reconciliation Award from the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation and the Ford’s Theatre Lincoln Medal.

The Robert P. Anderson Memorial Lecture was established by former law clerks and friends in memory of Robert P. Anderson ’29, Senior Judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.