NYSB Program on Nuclear Weapons and International Law, 11/12/2020 – Remarks by John Feerick

 I am pleased to add my welcome today on behalf of Fordham Law School and its National Security Clinic directed by Karen Greenberg. As a School we long have had in our curriculum a course on nuclear weapons and international law, as have other law schools in the American legal academy, and that is, in our case because of Charles J. Moxley, Jr.  He received his BA from Fordham College and a MA from Fordham in Russian Area Studies and then attended Columbia Law where he concentrated in international law. 

Charlie joined Fordham law school to teach a course on nuclear weapons shortly after the turn of the century when I was serving as the School’s dean.  He has taught that course ever since and  also has  contributed more broadly to an understanding of nuclear weapons law through writings, speeches, lectures, reports, and as an participant in public forums and programs.   I can’t think of anyone more invested than Charlie in the subjects of this virtual conference today.

He is a lawyer’s lawyer and has been recognized as such in the leadership positions he holds and has held in the bar of this state.  His career over the past 40 years has been marked as well by a deep commitment to finding ways to resolve controversies and disputes, as a litigator, arbitrator and mediator, both internationally and domestically. I am honored each year to participate as a speaker in a program he creates and organizes with the New York State Bar Association that is held at Fordham Law School on alternatives to litigation.

The timeliness of today’s program is reflected in a registration of over 450, which is a testament to Charlie’s vision and reputation for excellence.

Nineteen years ago, in the aftermath of 9/11, I was asked to speak about the tensions and balances between security and liberty In a program organized by Doctor Kevin Cahill, called Traditions, Values and Humanitarian Action, in which Dr. Cahill said: “Life is never secure and the strongest foundations, so carefully constructed, can crack under the pressure of fear or folly or evil….  Acts that are in opposition to the foundations of a society…can…cause devastation and destruction.” Your discussions today of nuclear weapons and international law deal with fault lines that bear on our traditions and values and that bind us together.  

I hope to listen to the discussions and I thank Charlie for the opportunity to address you. Permit me, in closing, to welcome former governor Gerry Brown to this Fordham Law School sponsored program whose sister was a student of mine at the law school and whose father proudly attended her graduation in 1985.