Ronald Dworkin, the Frank Henry Sommer Professor of Law at New York University Law School, and a Distinguished Scholar in Residence with the UCLA Law and Philosophy Program, passed away on February 14, 2013 after a valiant battle with leukemia.
Professor Dworkin had been one of the nation’s preeminent scholars of jurisprudence and political philosophy and was considered by many to be the most influential figure in contemporary Anglo-American legal theory. Dworkin taught jurisprudence at both Yale Law School, where he was Hohfeld Professor, and the University of Oxford, where he was Professor of Jurisprudence and Fellow. In 1969, Dworkin was appointed Chair of Jurisprudence at the University of Oxford, succeeding H.L.A. Hart in that position.
Professor Dworkin was the author of a great number of scholarly articles in philosophical and legal journals as well as articles on legal and political topics in the New York Review of Books. His books include: Taking Rights Seriously (1977); A Matter of Principle (1985); Law's Empire (1986); Philosophical Issues in Senile Dementia (1987); A Bill of Rights for Britain (1990); Life's Dominion: An Argument about Abortion, Euthanasia, and Freedom (1993); Freedom's Law: The Moral Reading of the American Constitution (1996); Sovereign Virtue: The Theory and Practice of Equality (2000); Justice in Robes (2006); and, Is Democracy Possible Here?: Principles for a New Political Debate (2006). Several of these books have been translated into the major European languages as well as Japanese and Chinese. Perhaps Dworkin's best known book is Law's Empire, which received the prestigious Coif Award from the American Bar Association as the best book written on law over a three-year period, and the Ames Prize of the Harvard Law School for the best book on law over a five-year period.
During his distinguished career, Professor Dworkin was the recipient of many prestigious awards, including an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Harvard University. He thereby joined a highly select group of individuals who have received honorary Doctor of Laws degrees from Harvard, including John F. Kennedy, Nelson Mandela, and other leading scholars like John Rawls.