Emory Law Journal


Many years ago, when I was a fresh-faced appointments candidate hoping to teach constitutional law, my dean at USC recommended some reading to ease me into the scholarly flow. One suggestion—which I took—was The Constitution, the Courts, and Human Rights.[1] I never imagined its author would become a mentor, colleague, and friend.

Several years into my first appointment at a law school in the rural South, I received a note from Michael (whom I had not yet met) telling me that, in a recent speech, he’d quoted something I’d published—a small but characteristically generous gesture that meant everything to a young scholar toiling in evident obscurity. Michael helped and encouraged me over the years, in ways large and small; I have watched him do the same for many others. He will leave behind scholars as well as scholarship.

There is, to be sure, plenty of scholarship. It is at once inspiring and humbling to see a scholar so fully commit himself to the same problem through a long and successful career. Michael’s work has made a difference—the most a scholar can ask—by providing moral justifications for human rights in a world seemingly bereft of both. Though I have never gotten used to his very long footnotes, I have learned from the depth of what he writes and the care with which he writes it.

While I am honored to participate in this Festschrift for Michael, I am blessed to be his friend. Some years ago, my son Alex passed away while attending a university where Michael was on the faculty. Nicea and I have never forgotten Michael’s kindness and concern for us and our daughters, then and for years after. He made a difference for us.

Included in

Law Commons