Skip to main content

Freund, Paul A. (1908–1992)

FREUND, PAUL A. (1908–1992)

Paul A. Freund was the leading constitutional scholar in the United States in the generation following world war ii. Born in St. Louis in 1908, he graduated from Washington University and the Harvard Law School, where he was president of the Harvard Law Review. In the 1930s, he was successively law clerk to Justice louis d. brandeis of the Supreme Court, attorney for various government agencies, and then a lawyer in the office of the solicitor general for ten years, with a brief stint in the middle of his service as a faculty member at Harvard Law School. Returning to Harvard in 1946, he quickly established himself as a constitutional scholar in a remarkable series of essays on a wide variety of constitutional law subjects. He remained at Harvard for the rest of his life, declining an offer from President john f. kennedy to become Solicitor General and, many people thought, thereby forfeiting his chance of appointment to the Supreme Court.

Although felix frankfurter was Freund's teacher and mentor, Freund more resembled benjamin n. cardozo in both personality and constitutional philosophy. Like Cardozo, Freund was a shy bachelor, who had a zest for learning in all fields of human knowledge, and a photographic memory for stories and apt quotation that made him a popular speaker on all occasions. Like Cardozo, Freund sought to understand and accommodate the contending principles in all legal disputes. Freund taught that "[i]f the first requisite of a constitutional judge is that he be a philosopher, the second requisite is that he be not too philosophical. Success in the undertaking requires absorption in the facts rather than deduction from large and rigidly held abstractions.… In the familiar phrase, judgment from speculation should yield to judgment from experience."

Freund was no less eloquent in his vision of law: "in a larger sense all law resembles art, for the mission of each is to impose a measure of order on the disorder of experience without stifling the underlying diversity, spontaneity, and disarray.… In neither discipline will the craftsman succeed unless he sees that proportion and balance are both essential, that order and disorder are both virtues when held in a proper tension … new vistas give a false light unless there are cross-lights. There are, I am afraid, no absolutes in law or art except intelligence."

Freund's wit, grace, and style made him one of the foremost essayists of his time on subjects legal and nonlegal, but particularly on topics of constitutional law. He was a commanding presence and taught the virtues of tolerance, accommodation, and learning for its own sake to a whole generation of students, lawyers, and judges.

Andrew L. Kaufman
(2000)

Bibliography

Freund, Paul A. 1961 The Supreme Court of the United States. Cleveland, Ohio: World Publishing Co.

——1968 On Law and Justice. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Freund, Paul A. (1908–1992)." Encyclopedia of the American Constitution. . Encyclopedia.com. 16 Nov. 2018 <https://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Freund, Paul A. (1908–1992)." Encyclopedia of the American Constitution. . Encyclopedia.com. (November 16, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/politics/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/freund-paul-1908-1992

"Freund, Paul A. (1908–1992)." Encyclopedia of the American Constitution. . Retrieved November 16, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/politics/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/freund-paul-1908-1992

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.