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Honoring Dan Meltzer


Dan Meltzer was a giant in the field of Federal Courts, and it is hard to overstate his influence on its development. He taught Federal Courts at Harvard Law School and was a long-time co-author of Hart & Wechsler’s The Federal Courts and the Federal System (“Hart & Wechsler ”), the casebook that created the field and shaped how generations of judges, lawyers, and scholars think about complex questions of federal jurisdiction. In addition, Dan enriched the field immeasurably by writing seminal articles on a wide range of Federal Courts topics. His work was characterized by deep knowledge of the law, the relevant history, and the surrounding literature. After reading one of Dan’s articles, one always came away with a deeper understanding of the problems he examined and the potential solutions to them. Because of his efforts to link doctrine with theory, Dan’s influence has extended well beyond the academy. His work has been cited dozens of times by the Supreme Court and hundreds of times by lower federal courts. Dan also taught thousands of Federal Courts students at Harvard Law School for nearly three decades—students who went on to become, among other things, law clerks, legal scholars, and judges. As I learned early in my career, Dan was very generous in giving comments and advice to young scholars who sent him drafts or reprints of their work. In all of these ways and more, Dan profoundly impacted every aspect of the field of Federal Courts. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him or were familiar with his work.



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