Professor Drew Days Receives Raymond E. Baldwin Public Service Award
Days served as solicitor general of the United States under President Bill Clinton from 1993 to 1996. He had joined the faculty at YLS in 1981 and served his term as solicitor general while on leave from the school. He started his career in a labor firm, then worked for the Peace Corps in Honduras. He also joined the staff of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and was assistant attorney general for civil rights from 1977 to 1980.
During the award ceremony, a black-tie affair held at Quinnipiac, Days was feted by several speakers, including former YLS dean and appeals court judge Guido Calabresi and current dean Anthony Kronman.
Judge Calabresi turned away from Days's obvious achievements in the public sector to recognize his ability as "a great scholar and teacher." He proposed that all great scholars have some positive quality to an extraordinary degree.
"What is [Days's] signature intellectual quality? What is it that makes him stand out?"
"It is wisdom," Calabresi answered himself. A virtue he described as "so unusual and so necessary."
Calabresi said that all of Days's other skills and faculties are made "deeper, more compelling, more inescapable by the wisdom that shines through their every manifestation."
Dean Kronman chose to focus on Days's ability to cross the river between academe and public life to become a "scholar-public servant." It is a challenging transition, Kronman said, because "the scholar's polestar is truth... [but] that is not a gospel by which any public servant can steer his ship."
Kronman recalled the Roman general Cincinnatus--a hero to John Adams and Thomas Jefferson--who returned to his quiet life as a farmer after serving the Roman state in a time of need. "I've always thought of Drew as a modern Cincinnatus-like figure," said Kronman.
Days was presented the award by David S. King, the interim dean of Quinnipiac School of Law, with the commendation, "he has led the pursuit of justice and been a role model for all of us."
Days said he was honored to receive the award and took great satisfaction in "perpetuating the memory" of Raymond Baldwin.
Days used his acceptance speech to address the question of reparations for slavery. He reviewed the history of the concept of reparations and noted that they have become an accepted way of addressing past wrongs--such as the Holocaust, the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II, or apartheid in South Africa.
Days said that a case can certainly be made that "slavery devastated the American community of African Americans." However, he said that legal quandaries remain--such as liability and linking slavery to the current state of African Americans.
Days felt that a lawsuit seeking reparations may prove divisive and raise unrealistic expectations. At the same time, the process of considering reparations "has begun to move our society further along the road to discovering more about the true story of slavery," said Days.
"What I hope for," he continued, "is a clearing of the air, a putting aright of the record about that peculiar institution, slavery--for the good of us all."