From the New York Times:
Cass Sunstein, the Harvard law professor known for bringing behavioral science to bear on public policy (not to mention for writing a best-seller about “Star Wars”), has won Norway’s Holberg Prize, which is awarded annually to a scholar who has made outstanding contributions to research in the arts, humanities, the social sciences, law or theology.
In its citation, the committee praised Mr. Sunstein, who has published 48 books and hundreds of scholarly articles, for work that has “reshaped our understanding of the relationship between the modern regulatory state and constitutional law.” He is also, it noted, “by far the most cited legal scholar in the United States and probably the world.” The prize comes with a financial award of 6 million Norwegian kroner (about $765,000).
His response on what he plans to do with the award is classic Sunstein:
Congratulations to @CassSunstein on this incredible recognition of his contributions to improving our world. When I asked Cass what he would do with the award, he said, “Buy more hard-cover books!” https://t.co/xQGAIseWHr
— Samantha Power (@SamanthaJPower) March 14, 2018
3/14 11:45AM Update: I fully concur in Eric Posner’s take on Sustein’s influence on the law:
Even before his contributions to behavioral science, everyone considered Sunstein one of the very top legal scholars by virtue of his contributions to constitutional and administrative law, among much else. His last 20 years of work, much but not all of it devoted to behavioral science and law, and star wars, has extended his influence across the galaxy. It is amazing to think that in his 40s, Sunstein was already a great scholar yet had not even begun the work that would prove his most influential. At this age, most scholars have settled into whatever groove that will take them to their grave.
I tell aspiring legal academics to read Sunstein first. It is hard to replicate his brilliance and imagination, but it is possible, by reading him, to understand that even technical scholarship can be written in a fun, stylish, and engaging way. Everyone should imitate his efforts to reach out to people he disagrees with, and treat them with respect and decency.