With Publication of New Book, Martin H. Redish Reflects on a Multifaceted Career


Headshot of Martin H. Redish

Martin H. Redish is a powerhouse legal scholar published in countless scholarly journals, ranked as one of the most cited legal scholars of all time, and often quoted in the media. His latest book, Due Process as American Democracy, was published by Oxford University Press in February. Despite the acclaim and the accolades, he said it is teaching that brings him the most joy. Redish currently is the Louis and Harriet Ancel Professor of Law and Public Policy at Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law.

“When I look back on my career – and, I should emphasize, it’s by no means over – with all my publications, citations, and congressional committee appearances, one of the things I am proudest of is my teaching,” Redish said.

Three Childres Awards for teaching excellence at Northwestern—one of only three faculty members ever to win it three times—two first-year course professor awards, and the L. Hart Wright Award for Teaching Excellence at the University of Michigan Law School have garnered him a spot as one of the Law School’s most celebrated professors.

Hailing from a family of academics and growing up in the New York City area, Redish traveled to Chicago in 1973 to interview for an assistant professor position at Northwestern. He was immediately taken with both the Law School and the city of Chicago. While he very much enjoys working with students, Redish has a full career outside of the classroom practicing law with Crowell & Moring in addition to his active pursuit of scholarship and writing.

“When I am practicing, teaching, or serving as an expert witness I see gaps or problems in the law and I’m able to introduce new ideas into the classroom that often result in an article or book concept,” Redish said.

With dozens of articles and 19 books to his credit as author or co-author, Redish saw a gap in published legal scholarship regarding free speech and due process and how those two foundational constitutional protections intersect with democratic theory. “Neither those constitutional protections nor democratic theory could survive without each other,” Redish said.

Due Process as American Democracy evolved from Redish’s development of an original approach to procedural due process, which suggests that American democracy is about individuals needing to safeguard their own interests because no one can be depended on to do it for them. Redish said this adversarial lens to democracy has been unexplored until now. This is a skeptical view of democracy which influences how power is divided and guards liberal democracy.

“Skeptical optimism is the bodyguard of liberal democracy, intellectual development, and human growth,” Redish said.

High praise for the book abounds from colleagues nationwide. “Professor Redish’s tour de force deftly blends political theory, constitutional theory, and doctrine into a thoughtful, ambitious, and provocative reconstruction of the concept of due process. Scholars interested in constitutional law, interpretative theory, civil procedure, administrative law, legal ethics, remedies, free speech, the public-private distinction, or the American constitutional order as a whole – just to name a few topics covered in this bold and engaging work – will find themselves always thinking. This is scholarship at its best,” said Professor Gary Lawson, Philip S. Beck Professor of Law, Boston University School of Law.

Of particular interest to Redish in his role at the Law School is the ability to dissect these original concepts and theories with students as part of the Law School’s pathbreaking Senior Research Program.  Many of the projects result in coauthored articles.

“It is a magnificent program where leading faculty scholars and interested students collaborate on research and ultimately it produces law school graduates who are writing at a superior level,” Redish said. “An additional bonus to this type of collaboration is the lifetime connection forged with some students, many of whom become law professors or accomplished appellate litigators.”

Redish said he looks forward to continuing to make contributions to both the Law School and the legal profession for the foreseeable future.