Superstar legal scholar Cass Sunstein, author of more than 30 books and one of the most widely cited legal experts today, will deliver a lecture titled “My University.com; My Government.com: Is the Internet Really a Blessing for Democracy?” on campus at 4 p.m. Thursday.
Sunstein’s talk is 18th annual Davis, Markert, Nickerson Lecture on Academic and Intellectual Freedom, and will be held in the Law School’s Honigman Auditorium.
While his main focus is constitutional law, Sunstein, a professor at Harvard Law School, has also written books on a variety of topics, including cloning and Bob Dylan lyrics. Sunstein is friends with President-elect Barack Obama, and advises him on policy matters from time to time. He is also reportedly on the short list of potential United States Supreme Court nominees.
Peggie Hollingsworth, president of the Academic Freedom Lecture Fund, said in an e-mail interview that the annual lecture serves to remind students of the value of intellectual liberties, a topic that Sunstein can speak well to.
“Cass R. Sunstein currently is the most frequently cited constitutional scholar in our country,” Hollingsworth said. “Like many previous lecturers, he continues the tradition of the Davis, Markert, Nickerson Lecture being presented by an eminent authority on academic and intellectual freedom as guaranteed by the United States Constitution.”
During his career, Sunstein has testified before congressional committees and has been involved in legislation reform activities in Ukraine, Poland, China, South Africa, and Russia. He is also half of what Esquire called the “Fun Couple of the 21st Century.” The other half is Samantha Power, a journalist, public policy professor and a Pulitzer prize winner for her book, “A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide.”
The Academic and Intellectual Freedom lecture series began in 1991, and has since hosted academics, lawyers and journalists. The Senate Assembly established the lecture to honor three University faculty members — Chandler Davis, Clement Markert and Mark Nickerson.
In 1954, the three were called to testify before a Congressional Committee on Un-American Activities, and refused to answer questions about their political affiliations. As a consequence, they were suspended and Nickerson was denied the summer portion of his fiscal year salary.