Sherry, Suzanna 1954-

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SHERRY, Suzanna 1954-


Born March 29, 1954, in New York, NY; daughter of Leonard Isaac and Bernice (Cohen) Sherry; married Paul H. Edelman; children: Hannah Elizabeth, Joshua Benjamin. Education: Middlebury College, A.B. (cum laude), 1976; University of Chicago, J.D. (cum laude), 1979. Religion: Jewish.


Office—Law School, Vanderbilt University, 131 21st Ave. S., Nashville, TN 37203; fax: 615-322-6631. E-mail[email protected]


Admitted to the bar, Washington, DC, 1980; U.S. Court of Appeals, fifth circuit, Montgomery, AL, law clerk, 1979-80; Miller, Cassidy, Larroca & Lewin (law firm), Washington, DC, associate, 1980-82; University of Minnesota—Twin Cities, Minneapolis, associate professor, 1982-88, professor of law, 1988-2000; Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN, Cal Turner Professor of Law and Leadership, 2000—.


American Law Institute, American Society for Legal History, District of Columbia Bar Association.


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

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

(With Martin H. Redish) Federal Courts: Cases, Comments, and Questions, 4th edition, West Group (St. Paul, MN), 1998, 5th edition, 2002.

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

(With Thomas D. Rowe and Jay Tidmarsh) Civil Procedure, Foundation Press (New York, NY), 2004.

Contributor to books, including Law's Stories, edited by P. Gewirtz and P. Brooks, 1996; and The Legal Canon 374, edited by J. M. Balkin and S. Levinson, 2000. Contributor of several dozen articles and reviews to law reviews and other journals. Coeditor, Constitutional Commentary, 1992-2000.


In the book Beyond All Reason: The Radical Assault on Truth in American Law, Suzanna Sherry and her coauthor, Daniel A. Farber, explore a perceived trend in law schools throughout the United States—a trend on the part of minority and feminist theorists to reject the principles of rational argument and objective truth as tools of a white male power structure used to keep the status quo in place. The authors argue, in the words of Heather MacDonald in Commentary, that this movement "is a campaign against the very ideas that make possible the rule of law." Sherry and Farber provide readers with discussions of practitioners of this movement—centered in critical race theory and radical feminism—including Patricia Williams, who advocates for the replacement of case analysis in courtrooms with the telling of stories about racial and sexual discrimination. Williams claims, as MacDonald noted, that "it does not matter whether, in a notorious incident from the late 1980s, Tawana Brawley was actually raped by six white men outside Poughkeepsie, New York, or, as it subsequently emerged, she just made up the incident: either way," MacDonald continued, "according to this professor of law, Brawley remains the 'victim of some unspeakable crime.'" Also mentioned is Hispanic law professor Richard Delgado of the University of Colorado, who is quoted as saying that the prevalent merit system is the way by which white men keep "their own deficiencies neatly hidden while assuring only people like them get in."

Beyond All Reason was well received by critics. Though MacDonald felt that Sherry and her writing partner did not go far enough in condemning the radical theorists they discuss in their book, she did report that "their case against the movement and its epigones" is "powerful." Richard A. Posner in the New Republic noted as "the most original chapter" in Beyond All Reason the one in which the authors "expose what they consider to be the latent anti-Semitism of critical race theory." Because Jews are represented in numbers much larger than their proportion of the general population in fields such as law, advocates of quotas, according to Sherry and Farber, must at root feel that Jews are part of a racist conspiracy keeping African Americans and Hispanics from prestigious positions. Posner went on to describe Beyond All Reason as "a fine book, a work of intelligence and courage that will alter the terms of debate in academic law." Alex Kozinski, reviewing the work in the New York Times Book Review, concluded that because of the political climate in most American law schools, "in writing this book, Farber and Sherry have taken a personal risk. If those of us outside the academy fail to take heed, we will not be able to say we were not warned."



Commentary, October, 1997, Heather MacDonald, review of Beyond All Reason: The Radical Assault on Truth in American Law, pp. 64-65.

New Republic, October 13, 1997, Richard A. Posner, review of Beyond All Reason, pp. 40-43.

New York Times Book Review, November 2, 1997, Alex Kozinski, review of Beyond All Reason, p. 46; August 25, 2002, Garrett Epps, review of Desperately Seeking Certainty: The Misguided Quest for Constitutional Foundations, p. 17.


Suzanna Sherry Home Page, (September 19, 2004).*

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Sherry, Suzanna 1954-

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