The Alumni Association of Yale Law School presented its annual Award of Merit to Sen. Joseph Lieberman ’64 LAW ’67 Saturday.
He received the award at a luncheon that was part of the Yale Law School alumni weekend that brought several distinguished graduates back to campus.
Yale Law School Dean Anthony Kronman, who selected Lieberman for the honor, presented the award to the senator.
“[The award is in] recognition of the senator’s distinguished political career, but more importantly in recognition of the spirit of moral integrity that marks the career and the man,” Kronman said. “All Americans know [integrity] to be a national asset at this moment in our history, a moment charged with peril and demanding leadership of the kind we have always found in the past. Joe Lieberman is one of the best reasons we have to be confident we shall find it again.”
In his acceptance speech, Lieberman focused on the enduring influence he said the Law School has had on his life.
“I receive this award as encouragement and direction to continue in my years left of service to advance the great American values I learned here at Yale Law,” Lieberman said. “Yale Law gives a vision of the law as service and encourages all its students to go on to service in the classical sense.”
Lieberman said the United States must respond to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks with patriotism informed by values that are uniquely American, including legal values found in the equal protection and due process clauses of the Constitution.
“Laws are the way society expresses its values,” Lieberman said. “They are the standard and source of order, justice, peace, tranquility and goodness.”
Lieberman is now working on the Homeland Security Bill with Republican Sen. Arlen Specter LAW ’56 of Pennsylvania, who also was present at the luncheon.
“When people ask me what brought a Republican and a Democrat together to work on the bill, I tell them Yale Law School did it,” Lieberman said.
Specter said he also believed the Law School creates a connection between graduates.
“There is a really large emphasis on public policy at Yale Law,” Specter said. “Students learn the black letter law, but they also learn where law ought to be going and how it should be made.”
Previous recipients of the award include: Eugene V. Rostow LAW ’37; Cyrus R. Vance LAW ’42; Gerald R. Ford LAW ’41; Eleanor Holmes Norton LAW ’64; Ellen Ash Peters LAW ’54; and William Jefferson Clinton LAW ’73.
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