ALI Establishes Fund in Memory of Daniel J. Meltzer

ALI Establishes Fund in Memory of Daniel J. Meltzer

The American Law Institute is pleased to announce the creation of a special fund established in memory of longtime ALI member Daniel J. Meltzer, who died in May 2015.

The Daniel J. Meltzer Fund, which will help to carry on Professor Meltzer’s dedication to advancing the Institute’s mission, was initiated through a major gift provided by ALI President David F. Levi. Professor Meltzer and President Levi were first cousins and close friends, growing up four houses apart and attending school as classmates all the way through Harvard College. Together they shared a love for their family and the law, as well as a deep commitment to the Institute.

“Dan was an extraordinary person and lawyer who is remembered for his intellect, for the rigor and integrity of his legal analysis, and for his generosity, kindness, and commitment to public service,” said President Levi. “He was dedicated to law reform and was looking forward to serving as ALI’s Director, so establishing the Daniel J. Meltzer Fund to honor and continue Dan’s legacy of support of ALI seemed like the right fit.”

The fund will provide ALI Director Richard L. Revesz and future directors the necessary resources to execute special initiatives that will further the Institute’s important and influential work of clarifying and improving the law for the better administration of justice.

From January 2009 to June 2010, Professor Meltzer served as the Principal Deputy Counsel to President Obama. When he announced in May 2010 that he would be leaving that post to return to Harvard, The New York Times noted that Professor Meltzer had “worked on nearly every major legal issue the White House has handled, a sprawling portfolio that ranged from domestic policies to national security matters.”

The Times report said Professor Meltzer “played a leading role” in the administration’s efforts to close the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and that he had helped to prepare U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor for her confirmation hearings.

He was also the White House’s primary liaison to the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, which evaluates the legality of proposed policies, the Times reported, as well as a key figure in the Obama Administration’s efforts to overhaul health care, “by negotiating and helping to draft an executive order Mr. Obama signed as part of a deal to persuade anti-abortion rights Democrats to back the bill.” After he left the White House, Professor Meltzer was appointed as a member of the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board and of the Intelligence Oversight Board.

Professor Meltzer received an A.B. in Economics from Harvard College in 1972 and a J.D. from Harvard Law School, where he was President of the Harvard Law Review. Upon graduation, he served as a law clerk to Judge Carl McGowan of the U. S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia circuit and to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart.

From 1977 to 1978, he was Special Assistant to the Secretary of the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. After that, he worked three years in private practice with the District of Columbia firm of Williams & Connolly. A member of the Harvard Law School faculty since 1982, Professor Meltzer was named the Story Professor of Law in 1998.

Revered as an expert in the fields of federal courts and criminal procedure, Professor Meltzer also taught and published in the fields of constitutional law, remedies, and comparative U.S./European federalism. He is the coauthor of several editions of Hart & Wechsler’s The Federal Courts and the Federal System and has published widely in law journals.

Elected to The American Law Institute in 1989 and to the ALI Council in 1999, Professor Meltzer served on the Executive and Nominating Committees and as an Adviser on the Model Penal Code: Sentencing; the Model Penal Code: Sexual Assault and Related Offenses; and the Federal Judicial Code Revision projects. In May 2013, he was named ALI’s Director Designate and was expected to succeed then retiring Director Lance Liebman, but withdrew from the position less than five months later for health reasons. He remained devoted to law reform, participating in the Institute’s work whenever possible until his passing in 2015.

“We are pleased that a fund has been established to honor the memory and involvement of Dan,” said ALI Deputy Director Stephanie A. Middleton. “He was loved and admired by many, including the ALI staff and his colleagues on the Council. It is our hope that the fund will continue to grow and have a long-term positive impact on ALI’s mission.”

The Daniel J. Meltzer Fund is currently accepting initial gifts from friends, colleagues, and anyone else inspired by Professor Meltzer’s extraordinary dedication to the law. For more information or to contribute to the fund, please contact ALI Development Manager Kyle Jakob at 215-243-1660 or