Charles Fried

Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court; Harvard Law School
Boston, MA
Lawyer; Educator; Jurist
Social and Behavioral Sciences

Educated at Princeton, Oxford and Columbia Law School, Charles Fried, the Beneficial Professor of Law, taught at Harvard Law School for more than six decades.

He was Solicitor General of the United States, 1985-89, and an Associate Justice of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, 1995-99. His scholarly and teaching interests have been moved by the connection between normative theory and the concrete institutions of public and private law. During his career at Harvard he has taught Criminal Law, Commercial Law, Roman Law, Torts, Contracts, Labor Law, Constitutional Law and Federal Courts, Appellate and Supreme Court Advocacy. The author of many books and articles, his Anatomy of Values (1970), Right and Wrong (1978), and Modern Liberty (2006) develop themes in moral and political philosophy with applications to law. Contract as Promise (1980), Making Tort Law (2003, with David Rosenberg) and Saying What the Law Is: The Constitution in the Supreme Court (2004) are fundamental inquiries into broad legal institutions. Order & Law: Arguing the Reagan Revolution (1991) discusses major themes developed in Fried’s time as Solicitor General.

During his time as a teacher he argued a number of major cases in state and federal courts, most notably Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, in which the Supreme Court established the standards for the use of expert and scientific evidence in federal courts.

At the time of his passing, in January 2024, the Academy noted that he will be remembered for his brilliant legal mind, but also for his integrity, kindness, and thoughtful approach to issues of law and policy. We are grateful to have had the opportunity to work with him and for his many contributions to The Case for Supreme Court Term Limits

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