Jedediah Purdy

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Jedediah Purdy

Jedediah Purdy teaches in environmental, property, and constitutional law. He writes about how law interacts with and embodies ideas about freedom, social order, and the human relationship with the natural world, and how these ideas arise and change.

Married to Laura Britton.


Jedediah Purdy graduated from Harvard College, summa cum laude, with an A.B. in Social Studies, and received his J.D. from Yale Law School[1].

Legal career

Purdy clerked for the Honorable Pierre N. Leval of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York City and has been a fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School, an ethics fellow at Harvard University, and a visiting professor at Yale Law School and Harvard Law School[2].


Purdy's scholarship has appeared or is forthcoming in the Yale Law Journal, University of Chicago Law Review, Michigan Law Review, Duke Law Journal, Cornell Law Review, California Law Review, George Washington Law Review, and Fordham Law Review, among others. He is the author of For Common Things: Irony, Trust, and Commitment in America Today (Knopf 1999), Being America: Liberty, Commerce, and Violence in an American World (Knopf 2003) and many essays in publications including The Atlantic Monthly, TheNew York TimesOp-Ed Page and Book Review, The American Prospect, Democracy, and Die Zeit. His latest book A Tolerable Anarchy: Rebels, Reactionaries, and the Making of American Freedom, appeared from Knopf in 2009. The Meaning of Property: Freedom, Community, and the Legal Imagination, will appear in 2010 from Yale University Press[3].

Center for American Progress

In 2005 Jedediah Purdy served as an Affiliated Scholar[4] of Center for American Progress.

The American Prospect

In 2009 Jedediah Purdy was listed as a Contributing Editor of The American Prospect.[5]

New America Foundation

Purdy is a fellow at the New America Foundation[6].

Law & Inequality Conference

Robert Hockett October 17, 2015:


Here's Gerald just before his panel discussion at this weekend's remarkable Law & Inequality Conference at YLS. How inspiring to present along with, and learn from, dear friends and comrades including David, Jedediah Purdy, Zephyr Teachout, Frank Pasquale, Daniel Markovits, Willy Forbath, Joey Fishkin, Goodwin Liu, and many others including beloved Cornell colleagues Gerald and Saule Omarova. Lina and her ACS colleagues were also superb - not only as organizers and administrators, but also as participants. Many warm thanks and congratulations, dear friends. — with Gerald Torres.