David Fellman

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David Fellman (September 14, 1907 - November 23, 2003) was an United States law and civil liberties and advocate for academic freedom. He taught general constitutional law, administrative law and civil liberties (possibly the first instance of such as a separate course in an American political science department).

Born in Omaha, Nebraska, Fellman was a member of the Omaha Central High School debate team that won the Nebraska state championship in 1925. That same year, he had been named as the best extemporaneous speaker in the state. He received A.B. (1929) and M.A. (1930) degrees from the University of Nebraska and the Ph.D. degree from Yale University (1934).[1]

He taught at the University of Nebraska from 1934 to 1947 and the University of Wisconsin–Madison from 1947 until he retired in 1978, holding the Vilas chair for the last fifteen of those years. He maintained an office at UW–Madison through the late 1980s.

His many books include The Censorship of Books (1957), The Defendant’s Rights (1958), The Limits of Freedom (1959), The Supreme Court and Education (1960), The Constitutional Rights of Association (1963), Religion in American Public Law (1965), The Defendant's Rights Under English Law (1966), and The Defendant's Rights Today (1976).

He wrote an annual article for the American Political Science Review from 1949 - 1961 on constitutional law, reviewing the prior year's work of the U.S. Supreme Court. Other writings include numerous articles published in law and political science journals, contributions to various encyclopedias and single chapters in a number of books.

He wrote speeches for two Democratic governors in the 1960s, and was a member of the governor's Commission on Human Rights and of the governor's Commission on Constitutional Revision.

Fellman was president of the Midwest Political Science Association, 1955–56, founding editor of that association's Midwest Journal of Political Science (now American Journal of Political Science), 1957- 1959, vice president of the American Political Science Association, 1959 - 1960; senior research Fulbright fellow, Great Britain, 1961 - 1962; holder of research grants from the Fund for the Republic, 1957 - 1958 and the Social Science Research Council, 1959 - 1960; and recipient of an honorary degree (Doctor of Laws) from the University of Nebraska, 1966.

Fellman was a member of the American Association of University Professors for sixty-one years, on its Committee A from 1957- 1971, chaired it from 1959 – 1964, became president of the AAUP in 1964 – 1966 and continued as a member of the Governing Board of its Legal Defense Fund into the 1990s.


  1. ^ Assembly of Behavioral and Social Sciences (U.S.). Panel on Privacy and Confidentiality as Factors in Survey Response (1979). Privacy and Confidentiality as Factors in Survey Response. National Academy of Sciences. ISBN 0-309-02878-7.