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University at Albany President Kermit L. Hall Appointed to Special Commission on the Future of New York State Courts

Contact: Catherine Herman (518) 956-8150

ALBANY, N.Y. (July 25, 2006) -- University at Albany President Kermit L. Hall, a constitutional law scholar and expert on the Supreme Court of the United States, has been appointed to New York State Chief Judge Judith Kaye's Special Commission on the Future of New York State Courts. The commission, announced during Judge Kaye's 2006 State of the Judiciary Address, will assess the effectiveness of the current court structure in New York, and make recommendations to modernize the state's courts to enable them to better meet the needs and expectations of New Yorkers in the 21st century. The commission is modeled after the Tweed Commission from the 1950s, which was the driving force behind the last significant revisions of the Judiciary Article of the New York State Constitution in 1961, when the commission's recommendations for structural and procedural reform of the judicial system received approval of the electorate.

"This Special Commission will play an important role in modernizing the New York State court structure which has gone unchanged for 45 years," said commission Chair Carey R. Dunne, a partner at the law firm of Davis Polk & Wardell in New York City. "We are grateful to have as part of this panel President Hall, who can offer insight and perspective as both a respected expert of constitutional law and the U.S. Supreme Court, as well as a leader of a major public institution of higher education such as the University at Albany."

Hall is author and editor of more than 20 books on the American legal and constitutional system, including The Judicial Branch (New York, Oxford University Press, 2005), the Oxford Companion to the Supreme Court of the United States (New York, Oxford University Press, 2nd revised edition, 2005), and the Oxford Companion to American Law (New York, Oxford University Press, 2002). He is also the author of The Law of the Land: A History of the Supreme Court (Prince Frederick, Maryland: Recorded Books, 2003, fourteen 35-minute lectures on the history of the Supreme Court of the United States), and The Magic Mirror: Law in American History (New York, Oxford University Press, 1989; 2nd revised edition forthcoming in 2006). His books have been main and alternate selections of the History Book Club and the Book of the Month Club.

Hall was one of five Americans appointed by President Bill Clinton to the Assassination Records Review Board to review and release to the public classified documents related to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. For his commitment to openness in government, the American Library Association bestowed its James Madison Award on Hall in 1999.

He received his doctorate in 1972 from the University of Minnesota, a master's degree in 1967 from Syracuse University and a master of studies in law from Yale University in 1980.


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