Priests of Our Democracy by Marjorie Heins
The Supreme Court, Academic Freedom, and the Anti-Communist Purge

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In the early 1950s, New York City’s teachers and professors became the targets of massive investigations into their political beliefs and associations. Those who refused to cooperate in the questioning were fired. Some had undoubtedly been communists, and the Communist Party-USA certainly made its share of mistakes, but there was never evidence that the accused teachers had abused their trust. Some were among the most brilliant, popular, and dedicated educators in the city. Priests of Our Democracy tells of the teachers and professors who resisted the witch hunt, those who collaborated, and those whose battles led to landmark Supreme Court decisions. It traces the political fortunes of academic freedom beginning in the late 19th century, both on campus and in the courts. Combining political and legal history with wrenching personal stories, the book details how the anti-communist excesses of the 1950s inspired the Supreme Court to recognize the vital role of teachers and professors in American democracy. The crushing of dissent in the 1950s impoverished political discourse in ways that are still being felt, and First Amendment academic freedom, a product of that period, is in peril today. In compelling terms, this book shows why the issue should matter to every American.

About Marjorie Heins

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Marjorie Heins is the Director of the Free Expression Policy Project and a civil liberties lawyer. She is the author, most recently, of "Not in Front of the Children: 'Indecency,' Censorship, and the Innocence of Youth," and the forthcoming "Priests of Our Democracy: The Supreme Court, Academic Freedom, and the Anti-Communist Purge." She lives in New York City
Published February 4, 2013 by NYU Press. 384 pages
Genres: Political & Social Sciences, Education & Reference, Law & Philosophy, Professional & Technical. Non-fiction

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Publishers Weekly

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Heins, a civil liberties lawyer and founder of the Free Expression Policy Project, tracks the collision of politics, academic freedom, free speech, and the Constitution in this dense, well-researched

Jan 07 2013 | Read Full Review of Priests of Our Democracy: The...

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