Pepperdine University School of Law hosted Ruth Wedgwood, Edward B. Burling Professor of International Law and Diplomacy at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University, on Friday, Jan. 22 for a guest scholar luncheon.
Wedgwood gave a presentation about the need for both realism and humanitarianism in addressing issues of international law and foreign policy, especially the War on Terrorism.
Pepperdine's Robert J. Pushaw, James Wilson Endowed Professor of Law, reflected on the speech. "On the one hand, she criticized as naïve the idealistic view that Americans can win the support of our adversaries merely by being nice to them and assuring accused terrorists full constitutional rights," he said. "On the other hand, she condemned the Bush Administration's de facto endorsement of torture as based upon a hyper-technical interpretation of written legal rules that ignored universal natural law principles of justice and morality. Rather, Professor Wedgewood urged a middle path in which America could protect itself while honoring basic human rights."
Wedgwood also serves as director of the International Law and Organizations Program at Johns Hopkins. She received her AB from Harvard University and her JD from Yale Law School, where she was a member of the tenured faculty from 1986 to 2003. She is the U.S. member of the United Nations Human Rights Committee that monitors compliance of 165 states with the human rights guarantees of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. She also served on the Pentagon's Defense Policy Board for six years.
The presentation was part of an ongoing series of guest scholar luncheons.