CSU Cleveland-Marshall College of Law Professor David F. Forte was selected as the 2020 recipient of Cleveland State University’s Distinguished Faculty Award for Research.
CSU’s annual Distinguished Faculty Awards are presented each Fall semester to honor the contributions of dedicated employees and illustrate the commitment to students, enthusiasm for education and tremendous skill exhibited by all members of CSU’s campus community.
“When he first ran for office, Abraham Lincoln declared that his great ambition was to be ‘truly esteemed of my fellow-men by rendering myself worthy of their esteem’,” said Professor Forte. “I find myself deeply gratified by the regard of my faculty colleagues for my research and scholarship.”
Forte was selected for this annual award based on the breadth, quality, and impact of his research. In his time as CSU, Professor Forte has written or edited six books, produced 29 major scholarly articles, 16 book reviews and review articles, upwards of 75 published lectures, essays, and encyclopedia entries, and seven briefs. He has the extraordinary number of 143 works on CSU’s EngagedScholarship database. Since 2017, over 8,800 copies of his publications have been downloaded by 915 institutions in 146 countries from CSU’s EngagedScholarship database.
Professor Forte has been quoted dozens of times in newspapers ranging from The New York Times to The Australian Financial Review. His works have been cited in court opinions, briefs to the courts, and in legal annotations. He was quoted and cited in an opinion by United States Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts in 2015.
“My research interests are solving mysteries – mysteries in areas such as Constitutional law, Islamic law, and a special place called natural law,” explained Forte in his CSU Featured Researcher video. “I’ve worked in dozens of research libraries all over the country, pouring through uncounted hundreds of original manuscripts. I guess you could call me an academic sleuth.”
Professor Forte has been a Fulbright Distinguished Chair at the University of Warsaw and the University of Trento. In 2016 and 2017, he was the Garwood Visiting Professor at Princeton University in the Department of Politics. He has given over 300 invited addresses and papers at more than 100 academic institutions.
Forte’s edited volume, The Heritage Guide to the Constitution, now in its second edition, endeavored to combine the burgeoning research of a large number of scholars who had been plumbing and revealing the meaning of many provisions in the United States Constitution as those provisions had been understood by the founding generation. The book elucidates every single phrase in the United States Constitution in one volume with the analysis from over 100 scholars and over 30 entries by Forte. The book’s two versions have sold more than 50,000 copies and have over 5 million online hits.
In recent publications, Forte explored how President Warren G. Harding freed all federal prisoners of conscience that the administration of Woodrow Wilson had convicted. He also investigated the relationship between Justice Scalia's Roman Catholicism and his theory of textual interpretation.
Professor Forte is also current working on research in all three of his areas of specialty. Focused on Constitutional law and history, he is writing a book on the main characters of the Plessy v. Ferguson case, and how their experiences in the Civil War shaped their involvement in the battle against Jim Crow segregation. He has also discovered some heretofore secret essays of Chief Justice John Marshall, which he intends publish with an analysis.
In the area of natural law, he is exploring the relationship of Natural Law to the United States Constitution. Later this month, he will deliver a national address remotely, titled 'The Constitution's Trifecta: Natural Law, Positive Law, and the Law of Prudence."
In the area of Islamic Law, Forte is researching the interplay between the law of the Islamic State and classical Islamic Law (Shari'a) and the manner in which Islamic civilization has experienced reform.