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February 11 Tuesday

Tort as Private Administration - John Witt - Seminar in Private Law and Inequality

  • Tuesday, February 11, 2020 at 12:10PM - 1:00PM
  • SLB Room 122
  • Open To The Yale Community
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Professor John Witt will lead a session titled Tort as Private Administration. This is an open to the public session of the 2020 Seminar in Private Law and Inequality, organised by Professor Daniel Markovits and the YLS Center for Private Law. Lunch will be served. All are welcome, but to attend and receive the paper RSVP to private.law@yale.edu

John Fabian Witt is Allen H. Duffy Class of 1960 Professor of Law at Yale Law School. He is the author of a number of books, including Lincoln’s Code: The Laws of War in American History, which was awarded the Bancroft Prize, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, was selected for the American Bar Association's Silver Gavel Award, and was a New York Times Notable Book. Professor Witt is currently writing the story of the men and women behind the Garland Fund: the 1920s foundation that quietly financed the efforts that culminated in Brown v. Board of Education.

Other writings include To Save the Country: A Lost Manuscript of the Civil War Constitution (Yale University Press, 2019) (with Will Smiley), Patriots and Cosmopolitans: Hidden Histories of American Law (Harvard University Press, 2007), and The Accidental Republic: Crippled Workingmen, Destitute Widows, and the Remaking of American Law (Harvard University Press, 2004), as well as articles in the American Historical Review, the Columbia Law Review, the Harvard Law Review, the Yale Law Journal, and other scholarly journals. He has written for The New Republic, The New York Times, Slate, the Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Post. He has been a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellow and is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Professor Witt holds a J.D. and a Ph.D. in history from Yale. He served as a law clerk to Judge Pierre N. Leval on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. He taught for a decade at Columbia Law School and has visited at Harvard, Stanford, and the University of Texas at Austin. Professor Witt’s casebooks, Torts and Regulation: Cases, Principles, and Institutions (2019) and Torts: Cases, Principles, and Institutions (4th ed. 2019), are available for free on a Creative Commons license at https://www.cali.org.

The 2020 Seminar in Private Law will devote itself to examining questions about the relationship between private law and inequality. We hope to explore how the private law's foundational promise of formal equality fares against the structural inequalities present in our society; how the existing institutions of property, tort and contract contribute to rising inequality; and how private law institutions might be used to remedy inequality. Our ambition is to study the subject from both theoretical and empirical perspectives and to engage champions, as well as critics, of private law. The Seminar will bring together lawyers with scholars from economics, history, anthropology, and philosophy. Other sessions within the seminar are the following:

28 January Arthur Ripstein (Toronto Law)
A Wrong Personal to You
11 February   John Witt (Yale Law)
Tort as Private Administration
18 February Josh Macey (Cornell Law)
The Regulatory Compact
3 March Liz Sepper (Texas Law)
Converting Corporate Social Responsibility
17 March Gerald Torres (Cornell Law)
24 March Khiara Bridges (Berkeley Law)
Family Law of the Poor
31 March Daniel Sharfstein (Vanderbilt Law)
Second Skins: Arbitration in New York’s Fur Business and the Americanization of an Immigrant Industry, 1912-1938
7 April Daria Rothmayr (USC Gould Law)
Racism Pays
14 April Amy Dru Stanley (Chicago History)
Private Wrongs, Human Rights, and the Power of  Commerce:  A Problem of Sex


Sponsoring Organization(s)

YLS Center for Private Law