2009 Archive

Paul Mishkin, Longtime Berkeley Law Professor and Courts Expert, Dies at 82

Mishkin was an expert on the role of the federal courts and continued to teach a federal courts course at Berkeley Law long after his retirement

Paul Mishkin

Paul Mishkin, a long-time Berkeley Law professor and expert on the role of federal courts, died peacefully in his Berkeley home on June 26. He was 82.

Mishkin, a professor emeritus, received his A.B. (1947) and J.D. (1950) from Columbia University. He joined the Berkeley Law faculty in 1973 after having taught at the University of Pennsylvania Law School for 22 years; his students, however, were vastly more numerous, benefiting from his scholarship and professional leadership. Mishkin was an expert on the role of the federal courts and continued to teach a federal courts course at Berkeley Law long after his retirement. He was a reporter for the American Law Institutes's Study of the Division of Jurisdiction between State and Federal Courts, and he participated in a wide range of constitutional litigation in the U.S. Supreme Court, including acting as special counsel for the Regents of the University of California in the Bakke case.

During his long and distinguished career, he was a visiting professor at Colorado, Duke, Michigan, and Texas Law Schools, as well as at Haverford College. He was on the faculty of the Salzburg Seminar in American Studies and was a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences and at Wolfson College, Cambridge University. The coauthor of two books, On Law in Courts and The Federal Courts and the Federal System, Mishkin served on the U.S. Permanent Committee for the Oliver Wendell Holmes Devise. He was a member of the American Law Institute and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

In 1996, Mishkin received the law school's Rutter Award for Teaching Distinction. On October 27, 2006 dozens of the country's leading scholars and practitioners of constitutional and federal courts law gathered to honor Paul at a conference devoted to examining his ideas and life's work. Participants, many of them Mishkin's students, joined in a broad look at multiple substantive and procedural aspects of federal courts law, from U.S. Supreme Court decision-making to class actions and protective jurisdiction.

At the conference Jesse Choper observed: "Paul Mishkin's enormous influence on the subject of the jurisdiction and role of federal courts in the United States involves much more than being one of his generation's small handful of leading scholars."

The California Law Review published a symposium issue dedicated to Paul's work. 95 CLR 1193 (2007)

Mishkin's wife of 28 years, Milli, died in 2003. He is survived by his son, Jonathan Westover, who will continue living in his parents' residence in Berkeley.