Sad News: David Adamany Has Passed Away (Tribute by Dan Lowenstein)

I am sorry to report that election law scholar and former university president David Adamany has passed away at 80.  Dan Lowenstein offers this tribute:


When I began academic work in election law around 1980, there was a body of excellent commentary on particular subjects, such as voting rights and constitutional aspects of redistricting.  Otherwise, scholarly work in the field was scarce and high-quality work even scarcer.  A major exception was David Adamany’s 1975 book written with George Agree, Political Money: A Strategy for Campaign Financing in America.  That book was a model for the very best election-law work that would be produced in the coming decades, as the field burgeoned.  Adamany and Agree explained and defended their policy views, but more importantly they set forth a balanced and comprehensive account of the subject, including thorough consideration of then-existing research but grounded in Adamany’s extensive political experience.  The relevant landscape has of course changed enormously since that pre-Buckley, pre-media-diversification book was published, but one chapter stands to this day as possibly the best statement of the merits and limitations of campaign finance disclosure.

One personal benefit for me of Adamany’s book was that, as I entered the field, it led to my meeting him and to an enduring friendship.  Although Adamany retained an interest in election law to the day of his death, it perforce became a sideline for him as he took on major administrative responsibilities, especially as president of Wayne State and Temple Universities.  Not surprisingly to anyone who knew him, he fulfilled those responsibilities with courage, determination, and achievement.

Despite the importance of Adamany’s political, scholarly, and administrative accomplishments, I expect most of us who knew him will remember him foremost for his personal qualities.  Adamany was the perfect gentleman, in the best sense of that old-fashioned word.  He was courtly and gentle in his manner, firm in his views, respectful of all, and pervasively thoughtful and generous.  O brave new world, that has such people in’t.


                                                            — Daniel Lowenstein

                                                              Director, UCLA Center for the Liberal Arts and Free Institutions



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