Law professor's book earning praise worldwide

Wayne State University Professor of Law Brad Roth is winning praise at home and around the world. He recently was awarded a prestigious WSU Board of Governors Faculty Recognition Award for 2013.
And in Taiwan recently, Roth of Detroit drew on his work on recognition of states and governments to wade into one of the most sensitive legal disputes in Asia.

The professor, who teaches at the university’s Law School and for the Department of Political Science, was cited by the board for his “superlative record of research since joining WSU in 1997.” The book that earned him the award, one of just five conferred this year, is Sovereign Equality and Moral Disagreement: Premises of a Pluralist International Legal Order (Oxford University Press, 2011).

The book has been critically acclaimed since its publication. Professor of Law Gregory Fox, director of the Program for International Legal Studies at Wayne Law, called the book “a major event in the field.”
The book argues that in a politically diverse international community, notions of sovereignty still should have a place. International law and foreign countries should respect the rights and immunities of states with differing governmental systems, and outsiders shouldn’t be broadly licensed to impose solutions to internal conflicts, Roth argues.

Reviews of the book have included:

• “A brilliant piece of work that will be required reading for international lawyers” – David Caron, president, American Society of International Law.

• “Pioneering work in international legal theory” – Mark Osiel, Aliber Family Chair of Law, The University of Iowa College of Law.

• “A convincing reminder that we must work towards an international legal order that will serve the world we have, rather than the world as we wish it was” – Hannah Woolaver, University of Cape Town.

The book’s impact has further boosted Roth’s standing in his field. He serves as one of three American Branch representatives on the International Law Association’s Committee on Recognition/Non-Recognition of States and Governments. He has lectured on the book and related topics around the world, including at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands, Carleton University and McGill University in Canada, and Goethe University of Frankfurt in Germany.

Most recently, Roth led discussions and gave presentations at three events last month in Taipei, Taiwan. He presented “Parsing ‘Mutual Non-Recognition and Mutual Non-Denial’: An International Law Perspective on Taipei’s Current Framework for Cross-Strait Relations” at the 2013 International Law Association-American Society of International Asia-Pacific Research Forum; led a discussion on Taiwan’s status in international law at a Taiwan ThinkTank forum; and gave a talk on the 2011 book at National Taiwan University with Professor Timothy Webster from Case Western Reserve University School of Law.

“Brad is equally at home discussing theories of international society and real-world problems facing international law,” Fox said. “Very few scholars have that breadth of knowledge and interests.”

Roth specializes in international law, comparative public law, and political and legal theory. He earned a bachelor of arts from Swarthmore College, a law degree from Harvard Law School, a master of laws from Columbia University School of Law and a doctorate from the University of California at Berkeley. His first book, Governmental Illegitimacy in International Law, also published by Oxford, was awarded a certificate of merit in 1999 by the American Society of International Law.