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Penn Law hosts symposium on Courts, Law, and Politics in the United States and Asia

April 25, 2019

On April 5 and 6, the University of Pennsylvania Law School hosted a conference featuring commentary from prominent jurists and leading academics from the United States, China, India, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. The multi-day symposium, “Courts, Law, and Politics in the United States and Asia,” was jointly hosted by Penn Law’s Center for Asian Law, the University of Hong Kong Faculty of Law, Waseda University Law School, and Penn’s Perry World House. Through panel discussions, roundtables, and keynote addresses, the symposium fostered an open dialogue on issues critical to the successful operation of every nation’s legal system. Speakers discussed subjects currently being debated by scholars, jurists, and policy-makers in all of Asia’s major legal jurisdictions. 

Ted Ruger, Penn Law’s Dean and Bernard G. Segal Professor of Law, and the co-directors of the Center for Asian Law (CAL) — Jacques deLisle, Stephen A. Cozen Professor of Law and Professor of Political Science; Eric Feldman, Professor of Law and Deputy Dean for International Programs; and Shyam Balganesh, Professor of Law — welcomed attendees to the symposium.

The first day featured keynote addresses by Justice Michael Hartmann of the Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal and Justice Ruma Pal of the Supreme Court of India, in which they shared “Perspectives on the Autonomy and Accountability of Courts,” and by Chief Justice Itsurō Terada of the Supreme Court of Japan and Judge Zhang Yongjian of the Supreme People’s Court of China on “Shaping the Judiciary: The Appointment and Training of Judges and the Organization of the Courts.” The day continued with panel discussions and roundtables comprised of respected jurists and scholars from top law schools in the United States and Asia discussing judicial decision-making and issues related to specialized courts.   

The keynote speakers for the second day were Justice Kim Ki Young of the Constitutional Court of Korea and Chang-Fa Lo of the Constitutional Court of Taiwan, who discussed courts, politics, and legitimacy. Panel discussions and roundtables followed, including a judicial roundtable and a discussion of inter-country legal borrowing and the use of foreign law.

“Never in the long history of Penn Law have we had such an extraordinary group of Asian jurists in the building,” said Feldman. “In addition, we were very fortunate to host an extremely distinguished group of judges and scholars from the United States. This was a watershed event in the history of the Law School, and what we hope will be the first of many such events for the Center for Asian Law.”  

In addition to the jurists from Asia, the conference featured some of the most highly-respected judges in the United States, among them Judge Stephen Williams of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, Chief Judge Diane Wood of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, Judge Anthony Scirica of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, and Chief Judge Robert Katzmann of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Scholars attending the conference included Professors Jerome Cohen and Samuel Issacharoff from New York University Law School, Professor Mark Tushnet from Harvard Law School, and Professor Gerald Rosenberg from the University of Chicago Law School.