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Professor Steven L. Winter to be honored at international conference for work as legal theorist

March 24, 2011

DETROIT (March 24, 2011) – Wayne State University Law School is pleased to announce that Steven L. Winter, Walter S. Gibbs Professor of Constitutional Law, will be honored for his work as a philosopher and legal theorist by the Dutch Association of Legal Philosophy, also known as the Vereniging voor Wijsbegeerte van het Recht (VWR), and Rechtsfilosofie & Rechtstheorie (R&R), the leading Dutch journal of legal philosophy.

Every year, the association and journal collaborate on a special issue “dedicated to an outstanding international scholar who has made significant contributions to legal and political theory,” said Professor Bart van Klink of VU University Amsterdam and chairperson of the VWR and Professor Hans Lindahl of Tilburg University and editor-in-chief of R&R. Winter’s work, according to van Klink and Lindahl, “has attracted considerable attention in the Netherlands and Flanders” and will be honored at a conference hosted by VWR on June 22, 2012. The proceedings will be published by R&R and available online.

Winter, who is working on a book about consumerism and democracy, is the author of numerous articles on constitutional law and legal theory. Some of his published works include The Metaphor of Standing and the Problem of Self-Governance; Bull Durham and the Uses of Theory; An Upside/Down View of the Countermajoritarian Difficulty; The “Power” Thing; Melville, Slavery, and the Failure of the Judicial Process; What Makes Modernity Late? and, most recently, Reimagining Democracy for Social Individuals. His book, A Clearing in the Forest: Law, Life and Mind, is the first systematic attempt to assess cognitive science’s implications for law and legal theory.

Past special issues and conferences have featured the work of philosophers and legal theorists such as H. Patrick Glenn, Bonnie Honig, Philip Pettit, Neil Walker and Gunther Teubner.

“I am honored and humbled to be included with such world-famous philosophers and legal theorists as Philip Pettit and Gunther Teubner,” said Winter.

Winter is a regular participant in the Conference on Philosophy and Social Sciences held annually at the Czech Academy of Science's Villa Lana in Prague. He has served as a consultant for the Helsinki Watch Committee and the Central Intelligence Agency.

Wayne Law’s first faculty member to hold an endowed chair, Winter has made a name for himself as a scholar and practitioner both in the United States and abroad.

A graduate of Yeshiva University and Columbia Law School, Winter began his legal career as a law clerk to the Hon. Paul R. Hays of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. From 1978 to 1986, he served as an assistant counsel for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund Inc. (LDF), where he litigated a wide range of civil rights cases concerning prisoners’ rights, employment discrimination, school desegregation, police violence, capital punishment, habeas corpus jurisdiction, discrimination in the military and attorneys’ fees. While at LDF, he worked on more than a dozen U.S. Supreme Court cases including brief and argument in Tennessee v. Garner, 471 U.S. 1 (1985), the landmark case holding the common law fleeing felon rule unconstitutional.

Winter held faculty positions at the University of Miami School of Law (1986-1997) and Brooklyn Law School (1997-2002) before joining the Wayne Law faculty in 2002 as the Walter S. Gibbs Professor of Constitutional Law. He also taught at American University’s Washington College of Law, the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, the Rutgers School of Law-Newark and Yale Law School.

At Wayne Law, Winter has taught Constitutional Law, Federal Courts, Civil Procedure, and seminars on Ethics of the Lawyering Experience, Consumerism and Democracy, and Contemporary Problems in Legal Theory. In 2009, he led the effort to add The Regulatory State to the first-year curriculum, a course that introduces students to the central role that statutory law and regulatory agencies play in modern law and government. 

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