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Louis Henkin November 11, — October 14, , widely considered one of the most influential contemporary scholars of international law and the foreign policy of the United States , was a former president of the American Society of International Law and of the American Society for Political and Legal Philosophy and University Professor emeritus at Columbia Law School. He took a chance at applying to Harvard Law School after seeing a fellow student at Yeshiva fill out an application. The justices would hold their weekly conference on Saturday, and Henkin would sleep on Frankfurter's couch on Friday nights and would refrain from writing while at the conference in order to avoid the performance of activities prohibited on Shabbat.
In a interview, Henkin said that he "did my job as well as I could, observing Shabbat as well as I could" and said that he did not know if Frankfurter—who was not Shomer Shabbat —was ever aware that Henkin had been sleeping on his couch. Beginning in , Henkin worked at the United Nations bureau of the United States Department of State , where he was one of the individuals responsible for the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees in , an agreement that established the internationally agreed upon definition of what constitutes a refugee and established the requirements for countries to provide asylum to individuals so designated.
He left the State department in to teach for a year at Columbia University on the subject of nuclear disarmament which became the subject matter for his book Arms Control and Inspection in American Law. He taught at the University of Pennsylvania starting in , continuing his work that was published as The Berlin Crisis and the United Nations in and the book Disarmament: The Lawyer's Interests , which was released in While teaching at Columbia Law School starting in the early s and through the Justice and Society Program of the Aspen Institute , Henkin specialized in the development and instruction of human rights law , which he put into practice by establishing the university's Center for the Study of Human Rights in and creating the Human Rights Institute in Elisa Massimino, president and chief executive officer of Human Rights First , the nonpartisan organization originally formed by Henkin as the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights, said that he "literally and figuratively wrote the book on human rights" and that "[i]t is no exaggeration to say that no American was more instrumental in the development of human rights law than Lou".
Written while Richard Nixon was conducting the American involvement in the Vietnam War , his book Foreign Affairs and the Constitution described the division of responsibility between the President of the United States and the Congress in conducting foreign affairs and military action, exploring how the executive branch had achieved a great measure of control despite the fact that the Constitution grants the legislative branch the power to declare war.
As the practice of foreign affairs had become more complex, he detailed how Congress had gradually acceded to the President greater control in conducting American foreign relations and showed that it had not taken adequate precautions in the way these powers were wielded by the executive.
In his work Constitutionalism, Democracy and Foreign Affairs Henkin reiterated his concerns about the growth of the Imperial Presidency and its effect on the way the nation's foreign affairs were conducted, emphasizing that the preservation of human rights must play an important role.
This and other books such as The Rights of Man Today , How Nations Behave , and Age of Rights , comprised a collection of works that The New York Times described in his obituary as being "required reading for government officials and diplomats". Professor Henkin died at age 92 on October 14, , at his home in Manhattan after a long illness. He was survived by his wife, Alice Hartman Henkin, as well as by three sons and five grandchildren. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Yeshiva College Harvard Law School. International law.
How Nations Behave (2nd Ed.)
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How Nations Behave
Ian Brownlie, How Nations Behave. Law and Foreign Policy. By Louis Henkin. New York: Columbia University Press, Most users should sign in with their email address. If you originally registered with a username please use that to sign in. To purchase short term access, please sign in to your Oxford Academic account above.
How Nations Behave: Law and Foreign Policy
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