Joseph L. Sax Papers

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Joseph L. Sax papers

The materials in this online repository form part of a larger Joseph L. Sax manuscript collection held by the Bentley Historical Library. For a more complete index to the materials, please consult the collection's online finding aid.

For questions or more information, please contact the Bentley Historical Library's Division of Reference and Access Services

Joseph L. Sax was a Professor of law at the University of Michigan from 1966-1989. Collection includes materials from his career as a legal consultant on environmental issues, course syllabi, lectures, research materials, and manuscripts of published materials.

Joseph Lawrence Sax was a legal scholar who shaped environmental law in the United States by establishing the doctrine that natural resources are a public trust requiring protection.

Sax was born in Chicago, Illinois on February 3, 1936. He graduated from Harvard University in 1957, and the University of Chicago Law School in 1959. Sax was an attorney in Washington D.C. from 1959-1962. He left private practice to teach law at the University of Colorado (1962-1965) , the University of Michigan (1966-1986), and the University of California, Berkeley School of Law (1986-2010).

From 1994 to 1996, Sax served as Counselor to the Secretary of the Interior and as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy at the Department of the Interior under the Clinton Administration. He wrote extensively about environmental law issues and published five books. Sax received numerous honors including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Environmental Award, the Audubon Society’s Conservationist of the Year Award, and the prestigious international Blue Planet Prize in 2007. Sax was a visiting professor at Stanford University, the University of Utah, and the University of Paris. He served as a consultant or board member of nineteen environmental public service organizations.

Sax died of complications from a series of strokes on March 9, 2014.

Please note:

Copyright has been transferred to the Regents of the University of Michigan.

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