President Barack Obama announced on May 20 his intent to nominate Yale Law School professor Akhil Amar ’80 LAW ’84 to the National Council on the Humanities.
The White House statement accompanying the announcement recognized Amar’s service as a law clerk for judge Stephen Breyer while he was in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. The statement also noted that Amar co-edited the constitutional law casebook “Processes of Constitutional Decisionmaking” and has authored several key works in the field of constitutional law. Amar was appointed to the council alongside Robert Zimmerman, founder and partner of communications firm Zimmerman/Edelson Inc. In addition, four others were nominated for appointment to key administrative posts, including to positions in the Department of Defense, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation and the Federal Communications Commission.
“I am confident that these outstanding individuals will serve the American people well, and I look forward to working with them” Obama said in an official statement from theWhite House Press Secretary.
The National Council on the Humanities is a board of 26 private citizens, chosen for their outstanding contribution to the humanities. The president appoints them, and the Senate confirms them. Board members meet three times a year to review applications for federal grants from cultural institutions. including museums, universities and media outlets. These institutions compete for funding that may facilitate research, strengthen learning and preserve access to cultural and educational resources. Members report to the chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities, an independent federal agency and one of the country’s largest funders of humanities projects.
Amar has held professorships at the University since 1985. Former presidential candidate Mike Gravel named Amar as a nominee for the Supreme Court in 2008, and in the same year, a Legal Affairs poll listed Amar as one of the country’s top 20 legal scholars. The Supreme Court cited Amar’s work in the landmark 1998 Clinton v. City of New York decision, which found that the presidential line-item veto was unconstitutional. Amar’s scholarship has also been cited in more than 20 other cases that reached the Supreme Court.
Amar currently sits on the Board of Directors of the Constitutional Accountability Center and the Coalition of Freedom Advisory Board of the National Constitution Center. He is also an elected fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and in 2000, the National Constitution Center named him a senior scholar.