Davis, Markert, Nickerson Lecture on Academic and Intellectual Freedom
Harvard professor to discuss Internet, democracy connection

First Amendment scholar and Harvard law professor Cass Sunstein will give the 18th Annual Davis, Markert, Nickerson Lecture on Academic and Intellectual Freedom.

Sunstein, the Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law at the Harvard Law School, will discuss "My University.com; My Government.com: Is the Internet Really a Blessing for Democracy." The lecture, set for 4 p.m. Dec. 4 in Room 100 Hutchins Hall at the Law School, is free and open to the public.
(Photo courtesy Law School)

The lecture will tie into Sunstein's book, " Republic.com 2.0." According to the publisher Princeton University Press, the book finds Sunstein rethinking "the critical relationship between democracy and the Internet in a world where partisan weblogs have emerged as a significant force in politics and where cyber-jihadists have embraced the Internet to thwart democracy and spread violence."

"Cass R. Sunstein currently is the most frequently cited constitutional scholar in our country," says Peggy Hollingsworth, president of the Academic Freedom Lecture Fund. "He will continue the rich tradition of the Davis, Markert and Nickerson Lecture being presented by an eminent First Amendment scholar."

Sunstein graduated in 1975 from Harvard College and in 1978 from Harvard Law School magna cum laude. After graduation, he clerked for Justice Benjamin Kaplan of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court and Justice Thurgood Marshall of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Before joining the University of Chicago Law School, he worked as an attorney-advisor in the Office of the Legal Counsel of the U.S. Department of Justice. Sunstein has been involved in constitution-making and law reform activities in a number of nations, including Ukraine, Poland, China, South Africa and Russia.

Sunstein, who is author of many articles and books, is working on various projects involving the relationship between law and human behavior. In January 2009 he will be the Harry Kalven Visiting Professor at the University of Chicago Law School.

The lecture is named for three former faculty members who were sanctioned by the University for their political views and associations in the 1950s.

H. Chandler Davis, Clement Markert and Mark Nickerson were suspended for refusing to testify about their political views and activities before a congressional subcommittee in 1954. Davis and Nickerson were fired. Markert eventually was reinstated and received tenure before leaving for another academic position.

The lecture is sponsored by the Academic Freedom Lecture Fund, American Association of University Professors Michigan Conference and U-M-Ann Arbor Chapter, Office of the President, Office of the Vice President for Communications, Office of the Vice Provost for Academic Information, Law School and the Senate Advisory Committee on University Affairs.