A legal scholar, Freund influenced the Supreme Court through his treatise on police powers and his theoretical defense of free speech.
Freund was born in New York while his German parents were visiting the United States but grew up and was educated in their homeland. He moved to the United States shortly after completing legal studies at Heidelberg. After briefly practicing law in New York City, he began teaching, first at Columbia College and later at the University of Chicago. He received a Ph.D. from Columbia in 1897.
Freund brought special awareness of administrative law to writing and teaching. A precise analyst, he was for almost twenty-five years a member of the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws. His practical experience made him a pioneering and enduring figure in U.S. law.
As a scholar, Freund concentrated on the issue of governmental regulation. One of his early works, The Police Power: Public Policy and Constitutional Rights (1904), dealing with the boundaries between community needs and individual rights, was noted and cited by the Supreme Court. Freund was both analytic and systematic in his treatment, with a unique style and point of view. He welcomed extensive judicial control over legislative action in a fashion unusual for legal writers of his time.
His most important work, Standards of American Legislation (1915), which emerged from a series of lectures, touches on a number of issues more lightly than some of his other works. Drawing on a lifetime of research, teaching, and bill drafting, Freund attempted to formulate both positive and negative tenets for legislation at its inception. In the work, he pointed out that freedom of assembly and free speech could without great assumption of authority be held to imply a right to association and political participation.
British background to U.S. judiciary
Speech and press, freedom of