Frederick Schauer honored with Marshall-Wythe Medallion

William & Mary Law School Dean Davison M. Douglas presented Professor Fred Schauer with the Marshall-Wythe Medallion at a dinner in his honor on October 4. The award is the highest honor conferred by the law school faculty, and recognizes outstanding achievement and leadership in the field of law.

Schauer (l) and Dean DouglasSchauer, currently the David and Mary Harrison Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of Virginia, taught at William & Mary Law School from 1978-1983. Since leaving Williamsburg, he has taught at the University of Michigan Law School, the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and at the University of Virginia School of Law since 2008. Schauer has also been a distinguished visiting professor at several of the leading English-speaking universities in the world, including Oxford University, the University of Toronto, Dartmouth College, Cambridge University and the University of Chicago.

Schauer began his academic career as an expert on the First Amendment, focusing on obscenity law, but quickly made a name for himself as a legal philosopher. He has served as vice-president of the American Society for Political and Legal Philosophy and chair of the Committee on Philosophy and Law of the American Philosophical Association. He was a founding co-editor of the prominent journal Legal Theory.

Douglas also noted that Schauer has been the subject of symposia at several law schools, has held a Guggenheim Fellowship, and is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Schauer received Harvard’s Distinguished Teacher Award in 2004, although Douglas was quick to point out that William & Mary “acknowledged him first,” naming him Professor of the Year in 1979.

Schauer has written five books, most recently Thinking Like a Lawyer: A New Introduction to Legal Reasoning, published in 2009 by Harvard University Press. He is also the author of nearly 200 scholarly articles and essays, which have appeared in nearly every prestigious law journal in the country.

Calling the Marshall-Wythe Medallion an “unexpected, surprising and wonderful honor,” Schauer noted that “few of the previous winners have had as extensive connection with William & Mary as I have.

“I think a lot about my years here,” said Schauer. “This is a place where people think about ideas.”

Schauer joins a distinguished list of previous Marshall-Wythe Medallion honorees, including Lewis Powell, Edward Bennett Williams, Guido Calabresi, William Brennan, H.L.A. Hart, Thurgood Marshall, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Richard Posner, Stephen Breyer, John Paul Stevens, and Sandra Day O’Connor. The award is named for John Marshall and George Wythe. Marshall was among the first law students at William & Mary and had a seminal impact on American history as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. George Wythe, one of the leading statesmen of the Revolutionary Era, was William & Mary's - and the nation's - first professor of law.