Judge Nancy Gertner (Ret.)

Senior Lecturer on Law

2017-2018

Langdell Library 328

Assistant: Alyssa Lary / 617-496-5487

Biography

Judge Nancy Gertner is a graduate of Barnard College and Yale Law School where she was an editor on The Yale Law Journal. She received her M.A. in Political Science at Yale University. She has been an instructor at Yale Law School, teaching sentencing and comparative sentencing institutions, since 1998. She was appointed to the bench in 1994 by President Clinton. In 2008 she received the Thurgood Marshall Award from the American Bar Association, Section of Individual Rights and Responsibilities, only the second woman to receive it (Justice Ginsburg was the first). She became a Leadership Council Member of the International Center for Research on Women the same year. In 2010 she received the Morton A. Brody Distinguished Judicial Service Award. In 2011 she received the Massachusetts Bar Association's Hennessey award for judicial excellence, and an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Brandeis University. In 2012 she received the Arabella Babb Mansfield award from the National Association of Women Lawyers, and the Leila J. Robinson Award of the Women's Bar Association of Massachusetts. She has  been selected to receive the Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement from the American Bar Association Commision on the Status of Women in the Profession in August 2014. She has been profiled on a number of occasions in the Boston Globe, the ABA Journal, Boston Magazine, and The Wall Street Journal. She has written and spoken widely on various legal issues and has appeared as a keynote speaker, panelist or lecturer concerning civil rights, civil liberties, employment, criminal justice and procedural issues, throughout the U.S., Europe and Asia. Her autobiography, In Defense of Women: Memoirs of an Unrepentant Advocate, was released on April 26, 2011. Her book, The Law of Juries, co-authored with attorney Judith Mizner, was published in 1997 and updated in 2010. She has published articles, and chapters on sentencing, discrimination, and forensic evidence, women's rights, and the jury system. In September of 2011, Judge Gertner retired from the federal bench and became part of the faculty of the Harvard Law School teaching a number of subjects including criminal law, criminal procedure, forensic science and sentencing, as well as continuing to teach and write about women’s issues around the world.

Areas of Interest

Elizabeth Bartholet, Nancy Gertner, Janet Halley & Jeannie Suk Gersen, Fairness For All Students Under Title IX (Aug. 21, 2017).
Categories:
Discrimination & Civil Rights
,
Family Law
Sub-Categories:
Civil Rights
,
Discrimination
,
Gender & Sexuality
,
Education Law
Type: Other
Abstract
Four feminist law professors at Harvard Law School have called on the U.S. Department of Education to revise the previous Administration’s policies on sexual harassment and sexual assault on campus. In a memo submitted to the Education Department yesterday, they set out an agenda of fairness for all students, accusers and accused. In recent years the Education Department has pressured colleges and universities to adopt overbroad definitions of wrongdoing that are unfair to both men and women, and to set up procedures for handling complaints that are deeply skewed against the accused and also unfair to accusers. Janet Halley and Jeannie Suk Gersen, Elizabeth Bartholet, and Nancy Gertner are professors at Harvard Law School who have researched, taught, and written on Title IX, sexual harassment, sexual assault, and feminist legal reform. They were four of the signatories to the statement of twenty-eight Harvard Law School professors, published in the Boston Globe on October 15, 2014, that criticized Harvard University’s newly adopted sexual harassment policy as “overwhelmingly stacked against the accused” and “in no way required by Title IX law or regulation.” Janet Halley said “The college process needs legitimacy to fully address campus sexual assault. Now is the time to build in respect for fairness and due process, academic freedom, and sexual autonomy.” The professors submitted to the Education Department a memorandum entitled “Fairness for All Students under Title IX.”
Nancy Gertner, Neuroscience and Sentencing, 85 Fordham L. Rev. 533 (2016).
Categories:
Disciplinary Perspectives & Law
,
Criminal Law & Procedure
Sub-Categories:
Sentencing & Punishment
,
Law & Mind Sciences
Type: Article
Nancy Gertner, Complicated Process, 125 Yale L.J. F. 442 (Mar. 22, 2016).
Categories:
Disciplinary Perspectives & Law
,
Discrimination & Civil Rights
Sub-Categories:
Law & Public Policy
,
Gender & Sexuality
,
Feminist Legal Theory
Type: Article
Nancy Gertner, Opinions I Should Have Written, 110 Nw. U. L. Rev. 423 (2016).
Categories:
Government & Politics
,
Legal Profession
Sub-Categories:
Judges & Jurisprudence
,
Biography & Tribute
Type: Article
Nancy Gertner, On Competence, Legitimacy, and Proportionality, 160 U. Pa. L. Rev. 1585 (2012).
Categories:
Criminal Law & Procedure
,
Government & Politics
Sub-Categories:
Sentencing & Punishment
,
Judges & Jurisprudence
,
Courts
Type: Article
Judge Nancy Gertner & Melissa Hart, Employment Law: Implicit Bias in Employment Discrimination Litigation, in Implicit Racial Bias across the Law 80 (Justin D. Levinson & Robert J. Smith eds., 2012).
Categories:
Labor & Employment
Sub-Categories:
Employment Discrimination
Type: Book
Abstract
Judges exercise enormous discretion in civil litigation, and nowhere more than in employment discrimination litigation, where the trial court’s “common sense” view of what is or is not “plausible” has significant impact on the likelihood that a case will survive summary judgment. As a general matter, doctrinal developments in the past two decades have quite consistently made it more difficult for plaintiffs to assert their claims of discrimination. In addition, many of these doctrines have increased the role of judicial judgment – and the possibility of the court’s implicit bias – in the life cycle of an employment discrimination case. This chapter begins by examining the persistence of gender and racial disparity in the workplace despite the fact that laws prohibiting discrimination have been on the books for decades. Social science offers an explanation in the form of studies that describe the role implicit bias plays in those continuing inequities just as the legal system seems especially resistant to integrating their insights. The chapter goes on to explore the ways that doctrinal developments for assessing evidence in employment discrimination cases – the procedural mechanisms that guide the cases through the system – are a one-way ratchet that makes it harder and harder to prove that discrimination occurred and that enables the judge to enact his or her biases.
Nancy Gertner, In Defense of Women: Memoirs of an Unrepentant Advocate (Beacon Press 2011).
Categories:
Disciplinary Perspectives & Law
,
Legal Profession
,
Discrimination & Civil Rights
Sub-Categories:
Gender & Sexuality
,
Feminist Legal Theory
,
Biography & Tribute
Type: Book
Abstract
Nancy Gertner launched her legal career by defending antiwar activist Susan Saxe, who was on trial for her role in a robbery that resulted in the murder of a police officer. After this high-profile, highly charged case, Gertner continued to cause a stir in case after riveting case. She threw herself into criminal and civil cases focused on women’s rights and civil liberties, establishing herself as a talented and unrepentant advocate for women. Now she looks back on that storied career of groundbreaking firsts and tells of her struggle to succeed personally and professionally while working on benchmark cases.
Nancy Gertner, Juries and Originalism: Giving "Intelligible Content" to the Right to a Jury Trial, 71 Ohio St. L.J. 935 (2011).
Categories:
Criminal Law & Procedure
,
Government & Politics
,
Constitutional Law
Sub-Categories:
Fourteenth Amendment
,
Sentencing & Punishment
,
Judges & Jurisprudence
,
Courts
Type: Article
Nancy Gertner, From Omnipotence to Impotence: American Judges and Sentencing, 4 Ohio St. J. Crim. L. 523 (2007).
Categories:
Criminal Law & Procedure
,
Government & Politics
Sub-Categories:
Sentencing & Punishment
,
Judges & Jurisprudence
Type: Article

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Langdell Library 328

Assistant: Alyssa Lary / 617-496-5487