NYU Press Announces Priests of Our Democracy
November 13, 2012
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Priests of Our Democracy: The Supreme Court, Academic Freedom, and the Anti-Communist Purge, by Marjorie Heins, is slated for February 2013 publication. In the book, Heins focuses on the fight for academic freedom, and on the court decisions that grew out of the 20th century’s anti-communist teacher investigations. It tells the stories of the teachers whose lives were upended by them, and discusses the repercussions we still feel today. It’s available from NYU Press (http://nyupress.org/books/book-details.aspx?bookid=6818)
Two U.S. Supreme Court decisions growing out of New York state investigations bookended the struggle. The 1952 Adler decision rejected the claim that academic freedom provided teachers and professors with protection against being investigated for their political beliefs. Years of court cases at all levels eventually chipped away at loyalty investigations and the refusal to acknowledge the primacy of academic freedom. In the 1967 Keyishian case the Court reversed Adler and declared that freedom “a special concern of the First Amendment, which does not tolerate laws that cast a pall of orthodoxy over the classroom.”
Marjorie Heins is a civil liberties lawyer, writer, and teacher, and the founding director of the Free Expression Policy Project. She wrote the profile of Irving Mauer, one of the teachers whose cases she covers in Priests of Our Democracy, at our related site Dreamers & Fighters. You can read it at http://www.dreamersandfighters.com/mauer/inter_mauer.aspx .