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Lane V. Sunderland

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Ford Center for the Fine Arts

Chancie Ferris Booth Professor Emeritus of Political Science

Lane Sunderland

General Interests
"My most recent publications focus on the Supreme Court of the United States and the Religion Clauses, the Court's treatment of precedent, and competing theories of constitutional interpretation. I have recently completed an article entitled "Justice Breyer's Pragmatic Jurisprudence."

The two most important things that define an excellent teacher are a deep commitment to students and love of the subject matter. I seek to combine these qualities with research and publishing in areas that are closely related to the courses I teach. Another key ingredient in the college classroom is a sense of humor."

Years at Knox: 1972 to 2020

Ph.D., Government with Honors, 1972, Claremont Graduate University.
M.A., Political Science, 1968, University of Washington.
B.A., Political Science, 1967, Kansas State University.

Teaching Interests
American constitutional law, American government, American political theory, modern political theory.

Recent Recognition
Invited participant annually to Supreme Court Fellows Alumni Program, United States Supreme Court.

Numerous radio and TV interviews, Voice of America, Illinois Public Radio and regional radio and TV stations focusing on the Supreme Court and issues such as nomination and confirmation of Supreme Court Justices; consultant to PBS Fourth Amendment special, "A Man's House is His Castle" (1973-present.)

Expert witness, New York hearings of the Attorney General's Commission on Pornography; United States Department of Justice expert witness, Federal District Court, Deep Throat obscenity trial; speeches to service clubs and alumni clubs, locally and across the nation (1973-present.)

Selected Professional Accomplishments


  • Research Fellowships from the Earhart Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities, 1978-2002. 
  • Caterpillar Award for Distinguished Service and Teaching, Knox College, 2001.
  • Philip Green Wright Award for Distinguished Teaching, Knox College, 1992 and 1975.
  • Tom C. Clark Award, United States Supreme Court Fellow, 1989.

"Justice Breyer's Constitutional Jurisprudence: Active Liberty and Pragmatism," Perspectives on Political Science 2016: 1-12.

"The Modesty and Immodesty of Justice Breyer's Jurisprudence." Proceedings of the Northeastern Political Science Association (2010.)

Review of Politics and Religion, 2009.

Editor and article contributor, Symposium Issue, "The Supreme Court and the Rule of Law in the Twenty-first Century." "It is a Constitution We are Expounding:'" Stare Decisis under a Written Constitution," Perspectives on Political Science (2004.)

"School Vouchers and the Original Understanding of the Establishment Clause." Religion and Education 29 (2002.)

"In Search of an Establishment Principle: The Original Understanding, Pre-Game Prayers, and Aid to Religious Schools." Religion and Education 28 (2001.)

"Free Exercise of Religion and Obedience to the Law: Communion Wine, Kosher Slaughterhouses, and Peyote." Religion and Education 27 (2001.)

"Steady, Upright and Impartial Administration of the Laws: Justice Antonin Scalia." Sober as a Judge: The Supreme Court and Republican Liberty. Edited by Richard G. Stevens and Matthew Franck. Lexington Books, 1999.

Popular Government and the Supreme Court: Securing the Public Good and Private Rights. University Press of Kansas, 1996.

"Critical Legal Studies and the Constitution." The Political Science Reviewer 23 (1994): 205-236.

Obscenity: The Court, the Congress, and the President's Commission. Washington: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, 1974.

"The Modesty and Immodesty of Justice Breyer's Jurisprudence." Paper, Northeastern Political Science Association, Boston Massachusetts, 2010.

Campus & Community Involvement

  • Chair, Faculty Personnel Committee.
  • Member, Presidential Search Committee.
  • Chair, Lectures and Concerts Committee.
  • Supreme Court Fellow, United States Supreme Court.
  • Director of Educational Programs, Commission on the Bicentennial of the United States Constitution.
  • Member, Supreme Court Fellows Alumni Association.
  • Lecturer, on the Constitution in Germany under the sponsorship of the Council of Europe and The Atlantic Council.
  • Consulting Editor, Perspectives on Political Science
  • Lecturer, Nomination and Confirmation of Judge Samuel Alito, Knox Chicago Lawyers' Club, Chicago, Illinois.
  • Board of Directors and Treasurer, Midwest Association of Pre-Law Advisers.
  • Lecturer, University of London.
  • Editorial Board, Perspectives on Political Science.
  • Member, Phi Kappa Phi.
  • Member, Pi Sigma Alpha.
  • Member, Phi Eta Sigma.
  • Member, Grace Anglican Church.

What Students Say
"Professor Sunderland has been a great mentor and pre-law advisor for me. His main concern as a teacher is to see his students critically develop and analyze their own opinions. Professor Sunderland will always challenge students to think and examine their own beliefs."
-Eric Rinehart, Political Science Major

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Printed on Sunday, July 14, 2024