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The Constitution Goes to CollegeFive Constitutional Ideas That Have Shaped the American University$
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Rodney A. Smolla

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780814741030

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814741030.001.0001

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(p.17) 2 Academic Freedom and the Living Constitution

(p.17) 2 Academic Freedom and the Living Constitution

(p.17) 2 Academic Freedom and the Living Constitution
The Constitution Goes to College

Rodney A. Smolla

NYU Press

This chapter examines how academic freedom is linked to the “living Constitution” debate even as the words “academic freedom” do not appear anywhere in the text of the U.S. Constitution. It first considers the notion that “academic freedom” should be treated as an “implied” First Amendment right by looking at the actual text of the First Amendment. It then discusses the debate over whether the Constitution is a living document by citing the right of privacy as implied in modern constitutional law. It also revisits the first mention of the phrase “academic freedom” in a Supreme Court case, Adler v. Board of Education of the City of New York (1952), which upheld New York's “Feinberg Law.” Finally, it explores the Supreme Court's unwillingness to formally recognize academic freedom as a distinct right due inpart to an egalitarian, anti-elitist impulse in constitutional law.

Keywords:   academic freedom, living Constitution, U.S. Constitution, First Amendment, right of privacy, constitutional law, Supreme Court, Adler v. Board of Education of the City of New York, New York, Feinberg Law

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