Cass Sunstein

Cass R. Sunstein is the Karl N. Llewellyn Distinguished Service Professor of Jurisprudence at the University of Chicago Law School and the author of more than a dozen books, including After the Rights Revolution, Designing Democracy and most recently, The Cost-Benefit State.

Recent Articles

Is Violent Speech a Right?

Advocacy of illegal violence to kill people is not necessarily constitutionally protected speech.

This spring, talk-show host G. Gordon Liddy, speaking on the radio to millions of people, explained how to shoot agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms: "Head shots, head shots... Kill the sons of bitches." Later he said, "Shoot twice to the belly and if that does not work, shoot to the groin area."

The Return of States' Rights

What are the powers of the national government? When is the nation allowed to act? When must the states act instead? These are not trivial issues. The answers will determine the ultimate fate of measures safeguarding the environment, protecting consumers, upholding civil rights, preventing violence against women, protecting endangered species, and defining criminal conduct in general and banning hate crimes in particular.

Unchecked and Unbalanced

Kenneth Starr's behavior as independent counsel follows a pattern set in other investigations: the problem lies in the incentives and unchecked power of the office.

Constitutional Politics and the Conservative Court

Ever since 1969, when President Nixon appointed Warren Burger to replace Earl Warren as Chief Justice, observers have been anticipating the emergence of a conservative Supreme Court and the end of an era of expanding civil rights and civil liberties. For years, the predictions turned out to be premature. It was the Burger Court, after all, that in the 1970s recognized a constitutional right to reproductive freedom and first concluded that discrimination on the basis of sex would receive careful constitutional scrutiny.

Ideas, Yes; Assaults, No

Universities committed to the value of learning must be committed, above all, to the free exchange of ideas. But it does not follow that they are obliged to accept any and all forms of speech. Under a system of free expression, universities -- and, indeed, the government -- can legitimately distinguish between verbal assaults and speech that forms part of the exchange of ideas. Those who deny this distinction will, I think, have trouble making sense of their own deepest beliefs about the kinds of speech that enjoy full protection of the First Amendment and those that do not.

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