Campus News

Legal scholar to discuss how law affects official government action

Legal scholar to discuss how law affects official government action

Frederick Schauer, Harrison Distinguished Professor at the University of Virginia, will deliver the School of Law’s 105th Sibley Lecture. Entitled “When and How (If at All) Does Law Constrain Official Action?,” the lecture will take place Oct. 28 at 4:30 p.m. in the Hatton Lovejoy Courtroom. It is free and open to the public.

Although Americans claim to live in a country whose decisions are highly influenced by law and courts, the reality may be quite different, according to Schauer.
“Across the political spectrum officials and public figures are politically and reputationally rewarded for doing the right thing even if it violates the law and punished for doing the wrong thing even when the law commands it,” he said. “Identifying the relatively small importance of law as law, and of law as distinct from its power to punish violators, should give us pause when we assume too easily the importance of law in American public life.”

Schauer teaches courses in constitutional law, evidence and the philosophy of law at the University of Virginia. He also is the Stanton Professor of the First Amendment Emeritus at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, where he taught from 1990-2008. Additionally, Schauer served as academic dean and acting dean at the Kennedy School and taught courses in evidence and the First Amendment at the Harvard Law School.

Schauer is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a former Guggenheim Fellow. A founding co-editor of the journal Legal Theory, he is the author of more than 200 articles for legal and philosophic journals and books on freedom of speech and press, constitutional law and theory, evidence, legal reasoning and the philosophy of law.

His work includes The Law of Obscenity; Free Speech: A Philosophical Enquiry; Playing by the Rules: A Philosophical Examination of Rule-Based Decision-Making in Law and in Life; Profiles, Probabilities and Stereotypes and Thinking Like a Lawyer: A New Introduction to Legal Reasoning. He is also the co-editor of The First Amendment: A Reader and The Philosophy of Law.

Schauer has served as chair of the constitutional law section of the Association of American Law Schools and as chair of the philosophy and law committee of the American Philosophical Association. He earned his A.B. and M.B.A. from Dartmouth College and his J.D. from Harvard University. He holds an M.A. by resolution from the University of Oxford.

The Sibley Lecture Series, established in 1964 by the Charles Loridans Foundation of Atlanta in tribute to the late John A. Sibley, is designed to attract outstanding legal scholars of national prominence to Georgia Law. Sibley was a 1911 graduate of the law school.