Special Issue: Professor Charles Alan Wright-A Bill of Rights: Does It Matter?

Article excerpt

The Editorial Board of Volume 32 of the Texas International Law Journal is proud to present this special issue honoring the career and contributions of University of Texas School of Law Professor Charles Alan Wright. In April 1996, Professor Wright traveled to Dunedin, New Zealand, to deliver his first formal lecture in twenty-four years to the Triennial Conference of the New Zealand Law Society.1 That thoughtful paper, A Bill of Rights: Does It Matter? forms the centerpiece of this issue and became the starting point for the articles written by the other eminent authors featured herein.

As Professor Douglas Laycock illustrates in this issue's foreword, Professor Wright's contributions to both the Law School and the jurisprudence of federal practice and procedure make him a giant among contemporary legal scholars. In addition, the impressive international roster of distinguished jurists and academics who enthusiastically agreed to participate in this special issue demonstrates that Professor Wright's work as an American constitutional law scholar has influenced legal thinking far beyond the United States' borders. As emerging and transitional democracies in Eastern Europe and South Africa have considered what sort of civil rights framework will best safeguard their newfound freedoms, it is hard to deny that the American experience has served as the navigation point on the horizon-whether to steer toward its strong points or to avoid its perceived shortfalls. New Zealand, with a long-established democratic tradition, has recently fine-tuned its approach to guaranteeing its citizens' fundamental rights. As this issue was nearing completion, even the United Kingdom seemed ready to move away from its unwritten constitution and toward incorporation of the express guarantees contained in the European Convention on Human Rights. …