Oct. 11, 2013 by Olivia Drake
Aharon Barak, former president of the Israeli Supreme Court Interdisciplinary Center, in Herzliya, Israel delivered the 23rd annual Hugo L. Black Lecture on Freedom of Expression Oct. 8 in Memorial Chapel. His talk was titled, “Human Dignity and Free Speech.”
Barak served as a justice on the Supreme Court of Israel from 1978 to 1995 and as president of the Court from 1995 to 2006. Earlier, he was Attorney General of the State of Israel and Dean of the Law Faculty at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. In 1978, Barak traveled to the United States as the legal advisor to the Israeli delegation in negotiating the Camp David Accords.
The recipient of many international prizes and of 17 honorary degrees, Justice Barak was chosen in 1987 as a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Among his books are The Judge in a Democracy (2006) and Proportionality: Constitutional Rights and Their Limitations (2012).
Much of Barak’s judicial work and writing has focused on the concept of a constitutional revolution brought about through the adoption by the Israeli Knesset of Basic Laws guaranteeing human rights.
Ruth Striegel Weissman, the Walter A. Crowell University Professor of the Social Science, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, welcomed Barak to Wesleyan. (Photos by Hannah Norman ’16)
The lecture, endowed by Leonard S. Halpert, Esq., ’44, is named in honor of the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black. The series is designed to bring to the Wesleyan campus distinguished public figures and scholars with experience and expertise in matters related to the First Amendment and freedom of expression. Former Hugo Black Lecture speakers have included U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, Geoffery Stone, Lawrence Tribe, Jack Balkin, Lawrence Lessig and others.