LSU law professor named to editorial board

By Dawn Brotherton | Jul 10, 2016

BATON ROUGE—Louisiana State University Law Professor Edward Richards has been named to the editorial board of Laws, an open-access journal covering legal theory, legal institutions and a wide range of legal subjects. 

Richards joins 27 other professors from schools across the country on the editorial board.

He spoke with the Louisiana Record about the position and his career, which has included honors for preventive law writing, an outstanding teaching award and the 2001 President’s Award from the American College of Legal Medicine.

“(Being on an editorial board) is one of those volunteer efforts that is taken on as a professor,” Richards said. “This is a peer-reviewed law journal run by an international journal. Law reviews are run by students, without peer review. The other point is that it is an open-access journal. Author's institutions pay a $300 Euro processing fee for published articles, rather than subscribers paying for access. It is a hybrid of a (web) publication and a traditional journal.”

Richards graduated from Rice University in 1972 with a double major in biology and behavioral science. He then began work on a degree in medicine, but made a transition to the policies of health. He earned his law degree from the University of Houston Law Center in 1978, then attended the University of Texas School of Public Health to earn a Master in Public Health.

He was recruited by LSU in 2002 to be the Harvey A. Peltier Professor of Law, and director of the Law, Science and Public Health program. He’s worked extensively in public health and how it applies to national security. After Katrina devastated the Gulf, he became interested in climate change and disaster environment.

One underlying theme in his service has always been “how does the government deal with the risks of public health?” Richards wrote about AIDS and HIV in the early days, giving a presentation called "AIDS in the Workplace," and publishing articles titled "The Legal Risks of AIDS: Moving Beyond Discrimination" and "Accurate Information about AIDS" in conjunction with Colorado lawyer Katharine C. Rathbun in the late 1980s.

When 9/11 occurred, Richards worked with Homeland Security for public health during the crisis. He later published another article about the collaboration between law enforcement and public health, and the practical problems that occur when investigating crimes and terrorism. There has always been a disharmony between state laws, the Constitution and prompt investigations, but the tragic events of 9/11 gave it more urgency.

Richards currently is working on “The Hurricane Katrina Litigation against the Corps of Engineers: Is Denial of Geology and Climate Change the Way to Save New Orleans?” 

He said he “argues that conceptualizing the destruction of New Orleans as a negligent or intentional failure of the Corps is mistaken and will continue the cycle of catastrophic flooding in New Orleans.” 

His work in this area will have implications far beyond New Orleans and Louisiana, as “the litigation will drive geoengineering solutions for all coastal cities," he said. 

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