President Obama Appoints Cardozo’s Richard Weisberg to Preserve American Heritage Abroad
President Barack Obama announced his nomination of Professor Richard Weisberg to the Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad on May 18. In this position, Weisberg would help protect and preserve historic buildings, collections and monuments in Europe that are significant to the heritage and culture of U.S. citizens.
Weisberg is the Floersheimer Professor of Constitutional Law at Yeshiva University’s Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law and has been on the Cardozo faculty since 1977. In 2009 he was awarded the Legion of Honor by the French government for his work with the U.S. State Department and French government, to provide restitution from France to victims of the wartime Vichy regime. From 2001-2009, Weisberg was the representative of former plaintiffs in Vichy-related litigation on an oversight committee, consisting of U.S. State Department and French government officials, which had responsibility for the day-to-day restitution of stolen banking assets to victims or their heirs.
He is the author of four books, including Vichy Law and the Holocaust in France, and the recipient of Guggenheim, ACLS and Rockefeller Foundation fellowships. Weisberg was also the founding director of the Floersheimer Center for Constitutional Law at Cardozo, and was instrumental in the creation of Cardozo’s Program in Holocaust and Human Rights Studies.
In addition, he is the founding and current president of the Law & Humanities Institute, and the founding and general editor of the Law and Literature periodical.
Weisberg received his JD from Columbia Law School, where he was an editor of the Columbia Law Review, and his PhD from Cornell University.
“An opportunity to serve in any governmental capacity is a great privilege and I’m especially pleased to serve on this commission,” Weisberg said. “Its work was designed to respect and extend the memory of Holocaust victims now in the U.S. and other interested citizens by preserving American patrimony abroad from misuse, desecration or expropriation.”
The Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad consists of 21 members appointed by the President. It was established after the Holocaust to protect cultural and communal sites significant to the Jewish population. The commission continues to look after many of those sites, a large number that are still endangered or affected by a resurgence of anti-Semitism. Members serve three-year terms and meet every six months. Weisberg’s first meeting as a commissioner has been scheduled for mid-July.