Suzanna Sherry honored as 2012 Harvie Branscomb Distinguished Professor

Apr 2, 2012

Suzanna Sherry, the Herman O. Loewenstein Professor of Law, received the Harvie Branscomb Distinguished Professor Award, which honors faculty for creative scholarship and stimulating and inspiring teaching, at Vanderbilt University’s Spring Faculty Assembly on March 29.

The award was presented by Vanderbilt Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos. “Suzanna is widely respected as one of the top scholars of constitutional law and the Supreme Court, and she has authored numerous books and more than 70 articles and is one of the most cited members of the Vanderbilt Law School faculty,” he said.

Sherry joined Vanderbilt’s law faculty in 2000 from the University of Minnesota Law School, where she had taught since joining the legal academy in 1982. She holds a J.D. from the University of Chicago, where she graduated cum laude and was admitted to the Order of the Coif, and earned her undergraduate degree at Middlebury College in Vermont, where she was a Davison-Foreman Scholar. She clerked for Judge John C. Godbold on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and practiced at Miller Cassidy Larroca & Lewin before joining the faculty of the University of Minnesota.

Sherry’s most recent book, Judgment Calls: Principle and Politics in Constitutional Law co-authored with Daniel Farber (Oxford University Press, 2009), received a 2010 Scribes Book Award Honorable Mention. Other influential books, also co-authored with Farber, include Desperately Seeking Certainty: The Misguided Quest for Constitutional Foundations (University of Chicago Press, 2002) and Beyond All Reason: The Radical Assault on Truth in American Law (Oxford University Press, 1997). Recent articles include “Democracy’s Distrust: Contested Values and the Decline of Expertise” (Harvard Law Review Forum, 2011), “Foundational Facts and Doctrinal Change” (Illinois Law Review, 2011), “The Four Pillars of Constitutional Doctrine” (Cardozo Law Review, 2011), and “Wrong, Out of Step and Pernicious: Erie as the Worst Decision of All Time” (Pepperdine Law Review, 2011), among others. “Hogs Get Slaughtered at the Supreme Court” is currently forthcoming in the 2012 volume of the Supreme Court Review. Sherry regularly teaches Federal Courts, Civil Procedure, and an advanced seminar in litigation theory. She is the author, with Thomas D. Rowe Jr. and Jay Tidmarsh, of a casebook, Civil Procedure, the third edition of which will be released by Foundation Press in 2012, and of Federal Courts: Cases, Comments and Questions with co-authors Martin Redish and James Pfander (West, 7th edition 2011). She has also taught courses in constitutional law, theory and history.

With co-author Tracey George, Sherry developed the Life of the Law, an introductory course all first-year law students take during Orientation Week, and co-authored the course textbook, What Every Law Student Really Needs to Know: An Introduction to the Study of Law (Aspen, 2009). Sherry was honored with the student-selected Hall-Hartman Award for Outstanding Teaching in 2005, 2009, 2010 and 2011.

She is an associate editor of the Journal of Law and Courts and serves on the board of advisors of The Green Bag. She is a member of the American Law Institute and Phi Beta Kappa. She served on the university’s faculty promotion and tenure review committee from 2000-03 and in 2005, chairing that committee from 2002-03 and in 2005. She also served as the chair of the university-wide grievance process from 2007-2010.

“The Branscomb Award recognizes faculty for outstanding scholarship and inspiring teaching that results in learning of the highest order as well as devoted service to students, colleagues, the university and society at large,” Dean Chris Guthrie said. “It recognizes faculty for their total contribution to the institution. Suzanna has made significant contributions to the law school and the university through her tenure here and richly deserves this award.”

The Branscomb award was established in 1963 to honor retiring Chancellor Harvie Branscomb and endowed with funds contributed by members of the faculty. The winner receives a cash award of $2,500 and an inscribed silver plate and is recognized as the Harvie Branscomb Distinguished Professor for one academic year.


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