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Gilbert and Sarah Kerlin Lecture on Environmental Law

Richard Blumenthal
United States Senator for Connecticut

"Environmental Enforcement – Giving the Law Teeth"

Tuesday, October 13, 3:30 pm, Ottinger Hall, 202

Please RSVP to Leslie Crincoli at


Senator Richard Blumenthal is serving his first term as a United States Senator from the State of Connecticut.

He served an unprecedented five terms as Connecticut’s Attorney General, fighting for people against large and powerful special interests. His aggressive law enforcement for consumer protection, environmental stewardship, labor rights, and personal privacy has helped reshape the role of state attorneys general nationwide, and resulted in the recovery of hundreds of millions of dollars for Connecticut taxpayers and consumers each year.

A key player in the national fight against Big Tobacco, he helped bring an end to deceptive marketing aimed at children – a victory significantly lowering youth smoking rates, and compelling a multi-billion dollar settlement for Connecticut taxpayers. He also helped lead a coalition of all 50 states that culminated in historic agreements with social networking sites to better protect children from Internet predators.

As Attorney General, he advocated for reforms in the health insurance industry to assure critical health care coverage and lower pharmaceutical drug prices.  He has worked relentlessly to eradicate corruption in state government and make state contracting accountable, fair, honest, and transparent.
His vigorous investigation and legal action against insurance industry abuses has successfully forced financial restitution and reform, compelled greater disclosure by insurers and brokers to consumers, and recovered millions of dollars for the state, municipalities, and individuals. He has successfully fought unfair utility rate charges, air pollution causing acid rain, general environmental wrongdoing, as well as a wide array of consumer scams and frauds.

Senator Blumenthal has personally argued several major cases in court, including his successful effort to uphold the Connecticut sex offender registry in the Supreme Court. He has fought and sued the federal government for failing to follow or enforce environmental laws and energy statutes, as well as imposing multimillion dollar unfunded mandates on local taxpayers under the No Child Left Behind Act.
From 1977 to 1981, Senator Blumenthal served as a U.S. Attorney for Connecticut, prosecuting drug trafficking, organized and white collar crime, civil rights violations, consumer fraud, and environmental pollution. He served in the Connecticut House of Representatives from 1984 to 1987, and the Connecticut State Senate from 1987 to 1990.  As a volunteer attorney for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Senator Blumenthal saved the life of an innocent, wrongly convicted death row inmate who came within hours of execution.

Prior to his position as U.S. Attorney, Senator Blumenthal also served as Administrative Assistant to U.S. Senator Abraham A. Ribicoff, aide to former U.S. Senator Daniel P. Moynihan when Moynihan was Assistant to the President of the United States, and law clerk to Supreme Court Justice Harry A. Blackmun.

Senator Blumenthal graduated from Harvard College (Phi Beta Kappa, Magna Cum Laude), and Yale Law School, where he was Editor-in-Chief of the Yale Law Journal. From 1970 to 1976 he served in the United States Marine Corps Reserves, and was honorably discharged with the rank of Sergeant.


Pace Law School established the Gilbert and Sarah Kerlin Lecture on Environmental Law to expand the its programs of research, education, professional and scholarly activity and publications in environmental law, a field for which Pace has received national and international recognition. The Kerlin endowment funds a named professorship on Environmental Law at Pace. Professor Nicholas A. Robinson, founder of Pace Law School's environmental programs, was named the first Gilbert and Sarah Kerlin Distinguished Professor in 1999 and Professor Jason J. Czarnezki was designated as the second Kerlin Distinguished Professor in 2014.

Mr. Kerlin, of counsel to Shearman & Sterling in New York City, was a distinguished lawyer. He was a founder and chairman of the Riverdale Community Planning Association, an organization that spearheaded the rezoning of the entire West Bronx to preserve the greenbelt area of that section of New York City. He was also a leader in protecting the natural environment of the Hudson River and its greenbelt area. Mr. Kerlin was the founding chairman of Wave Hill, the outstanding public garden and cultural institution in Riverdale, New York. Mrs. Kerlin, a long-time trustee of the Bank Street College of Education, was responsible for creating and supporting environmental and educational programs at Wave Hill for teachers and public school students.

Mr. Gilbert Kerlin passed away at the age of 94 in 2004; his wife of 60 years, Sarah, died in 2001. The Gilbert and Sarah Kerlin Lecture on Environmental Law continues in their honor.


October 1, 2014
Antonio A. Oposa Jr.
2014 Distinguished International Environmental Scholar-in-Residence, Pace Law School
"Shooting Stars and Dancing Fish"


       >> View lecture video    
             >> View lecture slides

September 25, 2013
Jason Czarnezki
Gilbert and Sarah Kerlin Distinguished Professor of Environmental Law, Pace Law School
“New York City Rules! Regulatory Tools and the Environment”

       >> View lecture video

January 29, 2013
Patricia Salkin
Dean, Touro College Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center
“The Executive and the Environment: A Look at the Last Five Governors in New York”


       >> View lecture video

October 27, 2011
John C. Cruden
President, Environmental Law Institute
“Making the Polluter Pay: Environmental Enforcement in the Modern Era”


October 18, 2010
Jim Salzman
Professor of Law, Professor of Environmental Policy at Duke University
"What is the Emperor Wearing? A Critical Look at the Potential of Ecosystem Services for Environmental Protection"

October 8, 2009
Suedeen G. Kelly
Commissioner, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
"Renewables and Smart Grid: Is This Where We are Headed?"



October 1, 2008
Peter Lehner
Executive Director, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)
"Environment, Law, and Nonprofits: How NGOs Shape Our Laws, Health, and Communities"



October 19, 2007
John P. Cahill '85 '92
Of Counsel, Chadbourne & Parke LLP
"Environmental Law in New York State: The Past as Prologue to the Future"



October 30, 2006
Theodore W. Kheel
Of Counsel, Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker LLP;
President and CEO, Nurture Nature Foundation
"Resolving the Conflict between Environmental Protection and Economic Development"


November 17, 2005
Malcolm Grant, CBE, MA, LLD, HonMRTPI, HonRICS  
President and Provost, University College London (UCL)
"Reconciling Science and Public Engagement in Environmental Policy Making: European Attitudes toward Releasing Genetically Modified Organisms"



November 8, 2004
Daniel C. Esty
Hillhouse Professor of Environmental Law and Policy, Yale Law School
"Bringing Administrative Law to Bear in Global Environmental Governance"



October 27, 2003
Bharat H. Desai, PhD
Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India
"The Future of International Environmental Governance: Johannesburg and Beyond"



September 25, 2002
Juan Mayr Maldonado
Former Minister of the Environment, Republic of Colombia
"The Role of Ethics in the Construction of a Culture for Sustainable Development"



September 20, 2001
Jacqueline Lang Weaver
A. A. White Professor of Law, University of Houston Law Center
"The Federal Government As a Useful Enemy: Perspectives on the Bush Energy/Environment Agenda from the Texas Oil Fields"



September 21, 2000
Carol Rose
Gordon Bradford Tweedy Professor of Law and Organization, Yale Law School
"Selling the Common Heritage? Commerce, Property and the Protection of the Environment"