New York, September 9, 2014—Columbia Law School announced today the establishment of the Center on Law and Liberty to study freedom, threats to its existence, and legal protections designed to ensure its survival.
Columbia Law School Professor
The center will be overseen by Philip Hamburger, the Maurice and Hilda Friedman Professor of Law at Columbia Law School and an expert on constitutional law, religious liberty, the history of law, and contracts.
Initially, the Center on Law and Liberty will hold a series of events in New York on academic freedom.
Hamburger has dedicated his career to exploring questions of liberty and law. His interest in the subject began when he was an undergraduate at Princeton University conducting research on England’s Star Chamber, which, during the 16th and 17th centuries mandated that all publications receive governmental approval. Hamburger has continued to explore censorship as a professor, including the limits placed on academic research by universities’ Institutional Review Boards. In his most recent book, IsAdministrative Law Unlawful? (University of Chicago Press, 2014), Hamburger argues that U.S. administrative law revives the sort of absolute power the Constitution and courts were designed to prevent.
“The forthcoming events on academic freedom will be important opportunities for exploring the current threats to intellectual inquiry and debate in colleges and universities,” Hamburger said. “More broadly, the Center on Law and Liberty will consider the full range of threats to freedom.”
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