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Cass Sunstein

  • Austin arched windows featuring decorative stone work

    Harvard Law faculty among the most cited legal scholars by SSRN

    March 23, 2023

    Harvard Law School faculty members are currently featured prominently on SSRN’s list of the 100 most-cited law school faculty in all fields.

  • Abadir Ibrahim, Geraldine Schwarz, and Cass Sunstein.

    Not-so-innocent bystanders

    March 13, 2023

    Journalist Géraldine Schwarz shares the story of her grandparents who ‘followed the current’ in Nazi Germany.

  • portrait of Cass Sunstein in his office

    A Tingly Sensation

    February 14, 2023

    Professor Cass Sunstein, who has been cited as “one of the most wide-ranging, original, prolific, and influential scholars of our time," on the writing life

  • A person searching for a book on a bookshelf..

    On the bookshelf

    December 13, 2022

    This fall, Harvard Law School showcased the works of faculty, alums, and students at book events throughout the semester.

  • Three people in front of a 2021 balloons giving a thumbs up

    Harvard Law School welcomes the LL.M. Class of 2021 to campus

    November 2, 2022

    Dean John F. Manning ’85 invited members of the LL.M. Class of 2021, whose LL.M. year was entirely virtual, to experience life on campus and connect with each other in person.

  • Stephen Breyer seated in a red armchair

    Justice Stephen Breyer returns to Harvard Law School

    July 2, 2022

    Retired United States Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer ’64 is returning to Harvard Law School, where he will teach seminars and reading groups, write, and produce scholarship.

  • Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, Barrett Offer Few Clues on Affirmative Action’s Future

    January 25, 2022

    Former President Donald Trump’s three U.S. Supreme Court appointees likely will be key to the fate of affirmative action in college admissions as the issue of race-conscious policies returns to the high court. ... Shortly after that ruling, for which Gorsuch was widely praised, Harvard Law’s Cass Sunstein warned that Gorsuch’s adherence to the “original public meaning” of legal texts “gives a real boost to opponents of affirmative action.” The key passage, Sunstein wrote, is where Gorsuch writes that to discriminate is to treat an “individual worse than others who are similarly situated,” and text means that the judge’s “focus should be on individuals, not groups.”

  • Head shot of man looking to the side

    In Memoriam: Lloyd L. Weinreb: 1936–2021

    December 26, 2021

    Described as one of the great figures in the history of Harvard Law School, Lloyd L. Weinreb ’62, a leading authority on criminal and copyright law, and an HLS professor for nearly a half-century, died Dec. 15, at the age of 85.

  • Coffee cup with whipped cream and open book on a window sill.

    On the bookshelf

    November 30, 2021

    Here are some of the latest from HLS authors to add to your reading list over the holiday break.

  • You Can’t Nudge If You’ve Got Sludge

    September 30, 2021

    Harvard Law professor Cass Sunstein is best known as co-author, with Nobelist Richard Thaler, of the multi-million selling book Nudge. The idea that the behaviors of citizens and employees can be steered in a way that is beneficial to them have taken root worldwide. Today, there are hundreds of behavioral science teams, often called “nudge units,” in governments and corporations around the world.

  • Minow, Sunstein and Kennedy launch the inaugural issue of The American Journal of Law and Equality

    September 22, 2021

    This month saw the publication of the inaugural issue of The American Journal of Law and Equality, a project developed by three Harvard Law School professors in collaboration with MIT Press. The first issue features a variety of views from legal, academic and philosophical scholars, including its three editors and founders: 300th Anniversary University Professor Martha Minow; Michael R. Klein Professor of Law Randall L. Kennedy; and Robert Walmsley University Professor Cass R. Sunstein ‘78.

  • Scales of Justice statue

    ‘We have to spend more time on the inequalities that are embedded in the law itself’

    September 21, 2021

    September 2021 saw the publication of the inaugural issue of The American Journal of Law and Equality, a project developed by Professors Martha Minow, Randall Kennedy, and Cass Sunstein, in collaboration with MIT Press.

  • 22 of the most anticipated new books to read this May

    May 7, 2021

    May is blooming with brand-new reads with a little something for everyone... ‘Noise: A Flaw in Human Judgment’ by Daniel Kahneman, Olivier Sibony and Cass R. Sunstein (available May 18): Ever wonder why people sometimes make such bad judgments? Nobel laureate, Princeton psychology professor and bestselling author Daniel Kahneman, along with Cass R. Sunstein, a legal scholar and Harvard law professor, and Olivier Sibony, an HEC Paris business professor, tackle that question and explore how variables of “noise,” akin to bias, affect errors in decision-making. The authors also offer ways to reduce noise and bias — important advice in today’s complicated world.

  • A Post-Trump Guide to Stopping the Lies and Healing Our Politic‪s‬

    March 26, 2021

    Cass Sunstein is a public intellectual and provocateur—and he has been pondering a timely issue: public lying. A longtime Harvard law professor and an expert on behavioral economics, Sunstein has written a slew of books, including volumes on cost-benefit analysis, conspiracy theories, animal rights, authoritarianism in the United States, decision-making, and Star Wars. He was recently named senior counselor at the Department of Homeland Security, where he will oversee the Biden administration’s rollback of Donald Trump’s policies. But right before he rejoined the federal government, he released his latest work: Liars: Falsehoods and Free Speech in an Age of Deception. The book is certainly a product of the Trump era, a stretch in which the “former guy” made 30,583 false or misleading claims while serving as president, according to the Washington Post. All his lying kind of worked. Donald Trump was elected despite—or because—of his serial falsehood-flinging. He nearly won reelection after his tsunami of truth-trashing. And after the election, Trump promoted the Big Lie that victory had been stolen from him, and his crusade triggered an insurrectionist raid on the Capitol that threatened the certification of the electoral vote count. After all that—and after Trump’s misleading statements about the COVID-19 pandemic led to the preventable of deaths hundreds of thousands of Americans—Trump remains the leader of the Republican Party and a hero for tens of millions of Americans.

  • Why humans believe most people are telling the truth — even when we’re told they’re lying

    March 5, 2021

    An op-ed by Cass SunsteinWhy do people credit falsehoods? Why don’t they dismiss them? Here is a large part of the answer: Most of the time, we tend to believe other people. When they tell us things, we assume that they are telling the truth.To be sure, we consider some people untrustworthy, perhaps because they have so proved themselves; perhaps because they belong to a group that we think we should distrust. But on average, we trust people even when we should not. We pay too little attention to clear evidence that what is being said is false. We fail to discount for the circumstances. For instance, what if I said: In recent months, scientists have found that climate change is unlikely to be a serious problem. On balance, most people will be unaffected by it. People in the United States and Europe are unlikely to be affected at all. To be sure, there will be some harmful effects elsewhere, including Rwanda and South Africa, but even there, those effects will be small. Remarkably, most of the world’s population will be better off, because the world will be warmer. Actually that is false; I made it up. But if you’re like most people, that false statement might well linger in your memory, making you think, at least for a little while and in some part of your mind, that climate change isn’t a serious problem. (Sorry.)

  • Group of men carrying a sign that says

    A journal dedicated to promoting ‘revolutionary law’

    February 24, 2021

    On its 55th anniversary, Harvard Law Today takes a look back at the founding of the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review.

  • Randall Kennedy, Martha Minow, Cass Sunstein

    Kennedy, Minow, Sunstein found new American Journal of Law and Equality

    February 23, 2021

    Three Harvard Law School professors have teamed up with MIT Press to launch a new journal focused on issues of inequality.

  • The White House after a heavy snowfall

    More Harvard Law faculty and alumni tapped to serve in the Biden administration

    February 19, 2021

    Since President Joe Biden took office in January, dozens of Harvard Law community members, including faculty and alumni, have been tapped to serve in high-profile positions in his administration