Farber, Daniel A. 1950–

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Farber, Daniel A. 1950–

PERSONAL: Born July 16, 1950, in Chicago, IL; married Dianne S. Farber, March 25, 1972; children: Joseph, Sonia, Nora. Education: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, B.A. (with high honors), 1971, M.A., 1972, J.D. (summa cum laude), 1975.

ADDRESSES: Home—25 E. Minnehaha Pkwy., Minneapolis, MN 55419. OfficeUniversity of California—Berkeley, School of Law, Boalt Hall, Rm. 894, Berkeley, CA 94270-7200; fax: 510-642-3728. E-mail[email protected].

CAREER: Law clerk to Judge Philip W. Tone of U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, 1975–76, and to Justice John Paul Stevens of the U.S. Supreme Court, 1976–77; Sidley & Austin, Washington, DC, associate, 1977–78; University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, assistant professor of law, 1978–81; University of Minnesota—Twin Cities, Minneapolis, associate professor, 1981–83, professor of law, 1983–, Julius E. Davis Professor of Law, 1983–84, Henry J. Fletcher Professor of Law, 1987, McKnight Presidential Professor of Public Law, 2000; University of California, Berkeley, Sho Sato professor of law, director of Environmental Law Program. Visiting professor at Stanford University, 1987–88, and at the University of Chicago Law School.

Also founder of the journal Constitutional Commentary; member of American Law Institute; member of advisory board of State and Local Legal Center, Washington, DC.

MEMBER: Association of American Law Schools (chair of contracts section, 1984; member of executive committee, 1987), American Economic Association.


(With Roger W. Findley) Environmental Law: Cases and Materials, West Publishing (St. Paul, MN), 1981, supplement, 1983, 2nd edition, 1985, supplement, 1988, also published as Cases and Materials on Environmental Law, West Publishing (St. Paul, MN), 1991, 1991 edition reprinted, Thomson/West (St. Paul, MN), 2005.

(With Roger W. Findley) Environmental Law in a Nutshell, West Publishing (St. Paul, MN), 1983, 5th edition, Thomson/West (St. Paul, MN), 2004.

(Contributor) P. Hay and M. Hoeflich, editors, Essays on the Law of Property and Legal Education, in Honor of John E. Cribbet, University of Illinois Press (Champaign, IL), 1988.

(With Suzanna Sherry) A History of the American Constitution, West Publishing (St. Paul, MN), 1990.

(With Philip P. Frickey) Law and Public Choice: A Critical Introduction, University of Chicago Press (Chicago, IL), 1991.

(With William N. Eskridge, Jr. and Philip P. Frickey) Cases and Materials on Constitutional Law: Themes for the Constitution's Third Century, West Publishing (St. Paul, MN), 1993.

(With Suzanna Sherry) Beyond All Reason: The Radical Assault on Truth in American Law, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1997.

The First Amendment, Foundation Press (New York, NY), 1998.

Eco-Pragmatism: Making Sensible Environmental Decisions in an Uncertain World, University of Chicago Press (Chicago, IL), 1999.

(With Suzanna Sherry) Desperately Seeking Certainty: The Misguided Quest for Constitutional Foundations, University of Chicago Press (Chicago, IL), 2002.

Lincoln's Constitution, University of Chicago Press (Chicago, IL), 2003.

Also contributor to Sociological Concepts: A Literary Reader, edited by R. Hardet, R. Cullen, and L. Hardet, 1986, and to Research in Social Problems and Public Policy, edited by M. Lewis and J. Miller, 1987. Contributor of articles and reviews to periodicals and law journals, including Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, Washington Monthly, and the New Republic. Past editor in chief of University of Illinois Law Journal; editor of Article Section, Constitutional Commentary; associate editor of Sociological Perspectives.

SIDELIGHTS: Daniel A. Farber has authored or coauthored numerous books focusing on law, including environmental and constitutional law, which are the author's primary areas of interest. In Beyond All Reason: The Radical Assault on Truth in American Law, which Farber coauthored with Suzanna Sherry, the authors discuss the legal scholarship surrounding the extreme law theories known as "radical multiculturism." According to the authors, purveyors of "radical multiculturism" essentially believe that a just society is impossible because there is no such thing as objective reality or truth. People that believe in this concept also state that any idea of objective truth or reality are merely used by those in power, which are white males, to keep their high-status positions. One of the results of such thinking is the belief that when minorities are taken to trial for a crime, they are actually victims of social discrimination whether they are guilty or not. Writing in Commentary, Heather MacDonald remarked that the authors "show in their new book, this movement is not just another expression of grievance politics. Rather it is a campaign against the very ideas that make possible the rule of law." In a review in the New Republic, Richard A. Posner called Beyond All Reason "a fine book, a work of intelligence and courage that will alter the terms of debate in academic law." Constitutional Commentary contributor Roderick M. Hills, Jr., called the book "a useful, well-written description of an unpromising trend in the legal academy."

The First Amendment provides a look at freedom of speech and religion in the United States and how the courts have analyzed this amendment over the years. The author also discusses how the amendment has worked in American society, exploring the complex doctrine and the many debates that have arisen around it, such as debates over hate speech and pornography. Writing in Constitutional Commentary, Alan E. Brownstein called the book "a concise, sophisticated, and probing text," adding: "I liked the book … [and] learned quite a bit in reading it."

In Eco-Pragmatism: Making Sensible Environmental Decisions in an Uncertain World, Farber sets out his ideas for a moderate, or pragmatic, approach for dealing with environmental problems and making decisions. "Farber uses key problems involved in making hard environmental decisions as his organizational tools," wrote Lynda L. Butler in Ethics. "Those problems include deciding how to make trade-offs between conflicting values, deciding how to deal with the time dimension of environmental problems, and deciding how to respond to uncertainty about risk." Butler went on to note that the book "can have a profound impact on the world of environmental decision making if readers recognize the masterful job Farber does of integrating theory and practice." Noting that the book "rewards the reader in many different ways," Michigan Law Review contributor Christopher H. Schroeder also wrote: "The book contains valuable discussions of … problems offering important insights into dealing with them." In a review in the Yale Law Journal, Richard A. Epstein commented that "the book does not fall prey to any of the excesses of environmental zealotry." Gilbert Whittemore, writing in the Quarterly Review of Biology, noted: "This is an excellent introduction to the deeper issues of environmental poicy."

The author once again collaborated with Sherry to write about modern legal theorists' attempt to create a grand unified theory of constitutional interpretation. In their book Desperately Seeking Certainty: The Misguided Quest for Constitutional Foundations, the authors discuss the unconventional constitutional theories of several legal commentators and set forth their views of how problematic these theories are. Although he disagreed with some of the author's conclusions, Steven D. Smith, writing in Constitutional Commentary, commented: "The book's presentation of this … diagnosis is perceptive, good-natured, steadfastly (and even ostentatiously) commonsensical, sometimes entertaining, often insightful." New York Times Book Review contributor Garrett Epps wrote that the book "is at its best on the attack; the authors' criticisms are clear, sensitive and usually fair."

In his book Lincoln's Constitution, Farber examines the motivation and constitutionality of a series of decisions made by President Abraham Lincoln that seemed to defy the Constitution, including jailing dissidents, shutting down newspapers, and rescinding habeas corpus. The author argues that Lincoln's decisions had a basis in the Constitution and were necessary. Thomas W. McShane, writing in Parameters, noted, "Farber reviews the big themes underlying the Civil War: the nature of sovereignty; secession; presidential power; the nature of individual rights; and the rule of law." McShane went on to write: "This book illuminates current debates. Farber blends historical research with a pragmatic view of the Constitution, written in language non-lawyers will understand." Michigan Law Review contributor Craig S. Lerner noted that "Farber is generally balanced in his presentation of conflicting views, and measured and fair in his conclusions." Writing in the New York Times Book Review, Richard A. Posner commented: "Farber has written a timely and important book, which should provoke fruitful discussion of enduring issues of civil liberties and judicial philosophy."

Farber told CA: "When Roger Findley and I published our first environmental law book in 1981, Ronald Reagan had just been elected president. Friends told us that the field was dead and the book would only be useful to historians. But today environmental law is stronger than ever."



Commentary, October, 1997, Heather MacDonald, review of Beyond All Reason: The Radical Assault on Truth in American Law, p. 64.

Constitutional Commentary, summer, 1990, William M. Wiecek, review of A History of the American Constitution, pp. 441-447; summer, 1991, Herbert Hovenkamp, review of Law and Public Choice: A Critical Introduction, pp. 470-479; spring, 1998, Roderick M. Hills, Jr., review of Beyond All Reason, pp. 185-208; spring, 1999, Alan E. Brownstein, review of The First Amendment, p. 101; summer, 2002, Steven D. Smith, review of Desperately Seeking Certainty: The Misguided Quest for Constitutional Foundations p. 523; winter, 2003, Jim Chen, "Brilliance Remembered," testimonial to author, p. 717.

Ethics, January, 2001, Lynda L. Butler, review of Eco-Pragmatism: Making Sensible Environmental Decisions in an Uncertain World, p. 407.

Insight on the News, February 16, 1998, David Wagner, review of Beyond All Reason, p. 42.

Journal of the American Planning Association, spring, 2000, Rutherford H. Platt, review of Eco-Pragmatism, p. 212.

Michigan Law Review, May, 1992, William Dubinsky, review of Law and Public Choice, pp. 1512-1519; May, 1998, Daria Roithmayr, review of Beyond All Reason, pp. 1658-1684; May, 2000, Christopher H. Schroeder, review of Eco-Pragmatism, p. 1876; May, 2004, Craig S. Lerner, review of Lincoln's Constitution, p. 1263.

National Review, December 8, 1997, Mark Miller, review of Beyond All Reason, p. 52.

New Criterion, May, 1998, Marc M. Arkin, review of Beyond All Reason, p. 65.

New Republic, October 13, 1997, Richard A. Posner, October 13, 1997, review of Beyond All Reason, p. 40.

New York Times Book Review, August 25, 2002, Garrett Epps, review of Desperately Seeking Certainty, p. 17; August 24, 2003, review of Lincoln's Constitution, p. 10.

Parameters, autumn, 2004, Thomas W. McShane, review of Lincoln's Constitution, p. 160.

Publishers Weekly, April 26, 1999, review of Eco-Pragmatism, p. 71.

Quarterly Review of Biology, March, 2002, Gilbert Whittemore, review of Eco-Pragmatism, p. 88.

Yale Law Journal, May, 2000, Richard A. Epstein, review of Eco-Pragmatism, p. 1639.


University of California—Berkeley, School of Law Web site, http://www.law.berkeley.edu/ (November 3, 2005), faculty profile of author.