March 22, 2011
Harvard Law School Professor Laurence H. Tribe ’66 will receive an honorary doctorate on March 29 from Mexico’s Instituto Nacional de Ciencias Penales (INACIPE), or National Institute of Criminal Science. He will be the first American to receive the annual “honoris causa” doctorate since its inception in 1998.
“The honoris causa doctorate is the highest academic distinction awarded by INACIPE,” institute officials said. “We consider Dr. Tribe’s work to be of the utmost relevance when measuring how … individual liberties [should] prevail over the states’ actions to maintain public interest. … Dr. Tribe’s work is also a must-read when it comes to the importance of judges’ criteria when making such assessments.”
INACIPE, a public agency created by the Mexican government in 1976, is a well-established think-tank for new ideas, initiatives, public policy and critical analysis pertaining to criminal justice.
Tribe will accept the award in absentia with a recorded speech, which will be presented at a ceremony in Mexico City.
Reacting to the award, Professor Tribe said: ”It is especially humbling to receive this special recognition as an American from Mexico’s Institute for the Study of Criminal Science, which is dedicated to the view that science and law enforcement must go hand in hand if justice and security are to be pursued as simultaneous goals.”
Harvard Law School Dean Martha Minow said: "This superb recognition from Mexico's National Institute for Criminal Science indicates the global reach of Larry Tribe's work. In addition to his breathtaking mastery of constitutional law, Larry's devoted efforts to improve justice systems during his recent time with the U.S. Department of Justice combined imagination, focus, rigorous analysis, and inspiring communication, all improving access to justice."
Tribe, a world renowned professor of constitutional law, joined the Harvard Law School faculty in 1968, received tenure in 1972, and held the Ralph S. Tyler, Jr. Professorship in Constitutional Law from 1982 to 2004, when he was appointed University Professor—the highest academic honor that Harvard University can bestow upon a faculty member, reserved for just a handful of professors throughout the university.
In 2010, he was elected to the American Philosophical Society and appointed to serve the Obama administration as Senior Counselor for Access to Justice in the U.S. Department of Justice, a position in which he formed and directed a newly launched initiative aimed at improving access to civil and criminal legal services.
Tribe is the author of more than 100 books and articles, including “American Constitutional Law,” “On Reading the Constitution,” and, most recently, “The Invisible Constitution.” He has argued 35 cases before the Supreme Court of the United States—including the historic Bush v. Gore case in 2000 on behalf of presidential candidate Albert Gore, Jr.— and he has testified frequently before Congress on a broad range of constitutional issues.
In addition to his J.D, Tribe holds a bachelor’s degree summa cum laude in Mathematics from Harvard College (1962), and he has been conferred with ten honorary degrees, including a doctor of laws in 2010 from the University of Miami, a doctor of laws in 2008 from New York University, and a doctor of humane letters in 1998 from Hebrew University.