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Sovereignty, Humanity, and Law Conference Program

The University of Pittsburgh School of Law Center for International Legal Education (CILE) and The Law and Humanities Institute (LHI) are proud to co-sponsor, "Sovereignty, Humanity, and Law," Thursday, April 8 and Friday, April 9, 2021. 

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This program has been approved by the Pennsylvania Continuing Legal Education Board for five (5) hours of substantive and one (1) hour of ethics credit. The ethics credit has been approved for the keynote address. There is a $100 fee to cover all CLE credit for the event.

Conference Co-Sponsors: 

Center for International Legal Education (CILE), University of Pittsburgh School of Law

The Center for International Legal Education (CILE) at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law exists to advance legal education and the rule of law, both at the School of Law and throughout the world. CILE programs are designed to benefit Pitt Law JD students, foreign students enrolled in LLM and SJD programs, and external constituencies. These programs benefit students by responding to personal academic and career goals and providing opportunities that help each student achieve their goals. CILE offers students exposure to the world of international and comparative law in settings that help develop the necessary competence to become a global lawyer. CILE brings students to the School of Law from around the world to educate them in comparative legal systems, develop relationships, and create diversity in understanding the rule of law. CILE reaches out to countries in transition, providing training and a focus on legal education as core to a functioning legal system that is necessary to the rule of law and trains those who will educate future generations of lawyers in those transition countries. Without lawyers, there cannot be rule of law, and without good legal education, there cannot be the type of lawyers who will help establish and sustain the rule of law.

Law and Humanities Institute (LHI)

The Law & Humanities Institute (LHI) is a not-for-profit organization in its fifth decade of encouraging work inter-weaving law with the humanities. LHI supports amicus briefs where literary expression is being censored, endeavors to make the law clearer as it interacts with ordinary people, assists with new readings of canonic and lesser-known stories, and cosponsors events such as this one on "Sovereignty" so that in recent years it has contributed to presenting such disparate themes as the "Blood Libel," the "Rosenberg Spy Trials," "How we Value Lives," "Shylock vs Antonio on Appeal [a mock trial with scenes presented from THE MERCHANT OF VENICE]," and "The Abolition of War."

Conference Theme

While the conference will focus generally on the concept of sovereignty, the more specific focus will be on how the concept of sovereignty affects the law and, in particular, the way in which the law does or does not facilitate the development of human rights in the relationship between the sovereign and the citizen. Panels will reflect both a legal focus as well as a focus on law and literature.

Thursday, April 8, 2021

2-2:10 p.m.   Welcome, Pitt Law Dean Amy Wildermuth

                      Ronald Brand, CILE

                      Richard Weisberg, LHI

2:15-3:45 p.m.

Panel 1: Current Litigation of Sovereign Responsibility

This panel will discuss recent legal developments in the law of U.S. foreign sovereign immunity. A divergence of views has led to an inter-circuit conflict in which the Supreme Court is poised to resolve this term on issues of the exhaustion of local remedies, the role of international human rights and international comity under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act. This panel will examine these issues and consider potential paths forward as the law develops.


Elena Baylis, Professor of Law, Pitt Law


A Critique of the Genocide Exception to Sovereign Immunity

Vivian Curran, Distinguished Professor of Law, Pitt Law

The Perverse Reappearance of the Executive Branch in FSIA Disputes

Richard Weisberg, Visiting Professor of Law, Pitt Law; Walter Floersheimer Professor of Constitutional Law at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Yeshiva University

Exhaustion of Remedies Under the FSIA

Yanis Klumpp


Todd Grabarsky, Deputy Attorney General, California Department of Justice

3:45-4 p.m.: Break

4-5 p.m.: Keynote Address

Holocaust Justice and Sovereignty

Stuart E. Eizenstat, Senior Counsel, Covington & Burling

Friday, April 9, 2021

2-3:30 p.m.

Panel 2: The Sovereign and the Individual in the Law

This panel will address the concept of sovereignty and individual rights from multiple perspectives, especially considering private parties engaged in economic relationships with governments. Attention will be given to the role of the sovereign in the twenty-first century. The question of sovereignty in the relationship between the state and private parties in dispute resolution often is segmented, with a focus on either human rights litigation or economic rights litigation. The panel will cross these lines, considering the importance of decisions and developments in international economic law (e.g., bilateral investment treaties, international trade agreements, etc.) as well as decisions and developments in international human rights law.


Haider Ala Hamoudi, Vice Dean and Professor of Law, Pitt Law


Sovereignty, Agency, and the Division of Powers Historical Models

Paul Guyer, Professor of Philosophy, Brown University

Private Rights and Sovereign Obligations under International Law

Charles Kotuby, Partner, Jones Day, Washington, D.C.

The Role of Sovereignty in International Law

Ronald A. Brand, Professor of Law, Pitt Law


Jules Lobel, Professor of Law, Pitt Law

3:30-3:45 p.m. Break

3:45-5:15 p.m.

Panel 3: The Sovereign in Literature and History

This panel approaches the concept of sovereignty from a literary perspective, ranging from Nietzsche's genealogical approach to Shakespeare's representations and those of other imaginative writers.


Bernard Hibbitts, Professor of Law, Pitt Law


Pardoning After Trump

Bernadette Meyler, Carl and Sheila Spaeth Professor of Law, Stanford Law School

Angels and Diplomats: Sovereignty, Dignity, and the Human

Christopher Warren, Associate Professor of English with a Courtesy Appointment in History, Carnegie Mellon University

Nietzsche's Sovereign Individual and the Sin of Sodom

Michael Pantazakos, Adjunct Professor of Legal Writing, Cardozo Law School


Shaina Trapedo, Lecturer in English, Yeshiva University

5:15-5:30 Closing Remarks