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Carl Q. Christol

Last updated 09/29/2021

Following his retirement from USC in 1987, Carl Q. Christol recommenced the full-time practice of law specializing in Wills, Trusts, Estates, and employment issues for university faculties and their administrations. 

“Self-satisfaction and individual enhancement result from service to others.  This can result from many factors.  It can be summarized with ‘being a friend.’  New friendships are formed in service and religious organizations designed to advance community needs.  I have had a good feeling about raising funds for an organization dedicated to peacemaking.  I realize that to engage in such activities I must pursue a disciplined health regime, which in my case has led to regular swimming and walking.  Engagement in book clubs and duplicate bridge have helped to preserve an inquiring mind.  Respect for the views of others is not a bad place to start.”  – Carl Christol, 2010

Carl conducted arbitrations on behalf of the American Arbitration Association, served as an expert in court cases, and lectured on legal problems confronting the “graying” generation.  Following his relocation to Santa Barbara in 2004, he became an inactive member of the State Bar.  In Santa Barbara, he renewed a life-time interest in the United Nations Association, becoming a member of the Board of the Santa Barbara chapter, giving lectures on arms control and disarmament, and space law with special reference to international treaties dealing with the outlawing of anti-personnel land mines and cluster bombs, and space debris.  He was motivated in part by his infantry experiences during World War II.  He has been a regular contributor to the Chapter’s Newsletter dealing with the work of international criminal tribunals and Human Rights.  He was selected in 2002 by the USC Retired Faculty Association to deliver the Borchard Foundation lecture entitled “International Law and U.S. Foreign Policy.” When published it ran to 27 pages.  Recognizing the need of the academic community for a broader assessment of the issues raised in the lecture, he wrote International Law and U.S. Foreign Policy in 2002 (University Press of America, 282 pp.).  This was followed by a second and revised edition in 2007 (436 pp.).  As an American observer with a background in international law, U.S. constitutional law, Human Rights, and military operations, including the Laws of War, in 2007, he began the book entitled The American Challenge: Terrorism, Detainees, Treaties and Torture: The Rule of Law, 2001–2008.  It was published in 2009 (University Press of America, 267 pp.).

Carl Q. Christol was born in 1913 on the farm homesteaded by his grandparents in what had been Dakota Territory at the time of homesteading.  He grew up in Vermillion, South Dakota, where his father was a professor of history at the state university.  Graduating from the university in 1934, he began graduate studies at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy in Massachusetts, followed by a year at the University of Geneva and the Institute of Higher International Studies, followed by the University of Chicago, where he received the Ph.D. degree in June 1940.  He then enrolled at the Yale Law School where he studied from 1940–1941 and from 1946–1947, when he received the LLB degree.  He served in the Infantry between 1941–1946, including saving the Rhine River bridge at Remagen from its planned destruction by German Military Forces, the Battle of the Bulge, and making initial contact with Russian Forces east of the Elbe River in 1945.

He has lived in California since 1947 where he combined the practice of law, member of USC faculty (International Law and Political Science, 1948–1987), and military service.  He taught for a year at the United States Naval War College, lectured at ten foreign universities, published articles in 14 foreign journals, authored eight books (four of which dealt with space law and policy) and over 100 articles and reviews in American learned journals.  His 1966 publication of International Space Law was the first major book written by an American author on this subject.  In 2008 he received the Distinguished Achievement Award of the International Institute of Space Law.  He was elected to the International Academy of Astronautics (Paris) and was appointed Distinguished Emeritus Professor of Political Science by USC President Zumberge.  He has served on the Board of Editors of four academic publications.  At present he serves as a member of the Board of Editors of Space Policy (England). In 2010 he was appointed a member of the Board of Advisors of the London Institute of Space Policy and Law.  He also has been elected to honorary membership in two foreign professional space law and policy bodies (Japan and Uruguay).  His graduate school seminars often included segments dealing with international space law and policy.  As departmental chairman, the curriculum was enriched by new courses on The Politics of Peace-Human Rights and The Politics of Peace-Arms Control and Disarmament.  As a member of the IISL, he has been a member of its Committee on space law treaties.

(Deceased 2012)