Judith Resnik Cameo in Doug Liman Film, Fair Game, Mirrors Liman Program Commitment to the Public Interest
Yale law professor Judith Resnik has another accomplishment to add to her distinguished resume as a legal scholar and author: The Arthur Liman Professor of Law makes her acting debut in the film, Fair Game, premiering Wednesday, October 6, at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. The movie is directed by Doug Liman, son of the late Arthur Liman ’57, in whose name the Arthur Liman Public Interest Program at Yale Law School is endowed.
Yale Law professor and Liman Program director Judith Resnik with Fair Game director Doug Liman at director's premiere October 6. The film opens in theaters November 5.
Resnik has a cameo in the film, a thriller based on the autobiography of Valerie Plame, an undercover agent whose CIA career was ended and marriage strained when her covert identity was illegally exposed by White House officials allegedly out to retaliate against her husband, Joe Wilson. Wilson, in a now-famous 2003 New York Times opinion piece, questioned the Bush administration’s claims that Iraq was attempting to purchase uranium from Niger to manufacture nuclear weapons and challenged the administration’s rationale for going to war. Plame’s CIA cover was leaked, an investigation was launched, and Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff, I. Lewis (Scooter) Libby, was subsequently convicted of obstruction of justice. Fair Game stars Naomi Watts and Sean Penn and opens in select cities nationwide November 5.
“This film provides powerful lessons on the misuses of government power, the critical roles played by honest individuals, and the need for institutional changes in our democracy,” said Resnik.
In inviting his friends and colleagues to a special director’s premiere of the film, Liman expressed his appreciation for his guests’ “support of my father Arthur Liman’s public service programs at Legal Action Center and Yale Law School” and noted the cameo by Resnik, whom he thanked for establishing and leading the Arthur Liman Public Interest Program at Yale.
The venerable Paris Theater on West 58th Street will be the site of the director’s premiere, also on October 6, honoring the Liman-supported programs at both Yale and the Legal Action Center, a nonprofit law and policy organization founded by Arthur Liman, on whose board Doug Liman sits. Following the showing, Resnik will moderate a discussion of the movie by Doug Liman, Valerie Plame, Joe Wilson, and Emily Bazelon ’00, senior editor for Slate magazine. Bazelon, a Yale Law School graduate, was one of the first Liman student fellows, and co-editor of a volume of the Yale Law and Policy Review on “The First Annual Arthur Liman Colloquium: The Future of Legal Services,” following the colloquium held at the Law School in 1998.
Judith Resnik joined Yale Law School as the Arthur Liman Professor of Law in 1997. She is founding director of the Arthur Liman Public Interest Program and Fund. She concentrates her teaching and research in the areas of federalism, procedure, large-scale litigation, feminism, and equality.
While the film role was a new one for her, Resnik made an appearance of a different sort on September 29 when she testified before a subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee about access to courts and the under-utilization of the federal courts. In her testimony, Resnik argued for improving access rather than cutting back on courthouses.
Resnik herself is no stranger to the courtroom, having recently argued successfully before the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of the plaintiff in Mohawk v. Carpenter, the first Supreme Court decision issued by the Court’s newest member, Justice Sonia Sotomayor.
This upcoming spring term, she will teach Courts, Democracy, and Contestation, a course based on her forthcoming book with Yale Law School Clinical Professor Dennis Curtis titled Representing Justice: Invention, Controversy, and Rights in City-States and Democratic Courtrooms. The book follows the development of courthouses as public spaces dedicated to justice for all.
Professor Resnik has chaired the American Association of Law Schools Sections on Procedure, Federal Courts, and Women in Legal Education, and she is a Managerial Trustee of the International Association of Women Judges. She served as a co-chair of the Women’s Faculty Forum of Yale University and is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a member of the American Philosophical Society. In 2008, she received the Fellows of the American Bar Foundation Outstanding Scholar of the Year Award. She holds a B.A. from Bryn Mawr and a J.D. from NYU Law School.
The Arthur Liman Public Interest Program was established in 1997 by family and friends of Arthur Liman to honor his commitment to public interest law. A nationally known and highly respected attorney and partner in the firm, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, Liman also served in a wide range of public service positions. He was chief counsel to the New York state investigation into the 1971 Attica prison uprising and later, chief counsel to the U.S. Senate committee probing the Iran-Contra scandal. He also led several major institutions devoted to providing services to those who could not afford lawyers, including the Legal Action Center, the Legal Aid Society of New York, the Vera Institute for Justice, Neighborhood Defender Services of Harlem, and the New York State Capital Defenders Office.
Today, the activities funded by the Liman Program reflect Arthur Liman’s breadth of interests and concerns, and the Program is supported by a host of generous donors who share Arthur Liman’s vision, humanity, and dedication to the overlooked and underserved. Those supporters include the Vital Projects Fund, Inc., and many Yale alumni and outside donors.
The Liman Program sponsors workshops, colloquia, programs, and research and advocacy projects for current law students. In 2009–2010, the focus of the weekly workshop was the causes and consequences of incarceration. The Liman Program also provides fellowships for Yale Law School graduates working in the public sector, and it helps to support summer fellowships for students at Barnard, Brown, Harvard, Princeton, Spelman, and Yale.
Through the Law School postgraduate fellowships, the Liman Program funds graduates to do full-time work in ongoing or start-up projects devoted to the public interest. Examples include work on behalf of workfare recipients, criminal defendants, prisoners, persons with disabilities, migrant workers, the elderly, and immigrants. Including the 2010–2011 awards, the Liman Program has supported some 70 fellows at more than 60 public interest organizations.
Both fellows and current law students participate in workshops as well as plan the annual Liman Colloquium, which over the years has addressed such topics as “The Future of Legal Services,” “Valuing Low-Wage Workers,” “Welfare ‘Reform’ and Response,” “Encountering the Criminal Justice System,” “Portraying the Public Interest,” “Public Interest Lawyering in an Era of High Anxiety,” “Organizing, Reorganizing: Public Interest in Individual and Global Contexts,” “Liman at the Local Level: Public Interest Advocacy and American Federalism,” “Forty Years of Clinical Education at Yale: Generating Rights, Remedies, and Legal Services,” and “Imprisoned.” The latest Liman Program newsletter details the work of some of the 400 people who explored the state of incarceration in contemporary America at the “Imprisoned” colloquium; it also features the work of the Liman fellows and other activities of the Program.
The fourteenth annual Colloquium will be held at Yale Law School March 3 and 4, 2011, on the topic, “Collaboration, Cooperation, and Confrontation,” which will consider the many ways in which public lawyers and government interact.