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Gajda’s latest book tapped as federal court’s summer reading project

July 13, 2022 4:15 PM
Alina Hernandez ahernandez4@tulane.edu



The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit has selected Tulane Law Prof. Amy Gajda’s latest book as the inaugural common read for the court’s new “One Court, One Book” project, a summer-long, circuit-wide book club. 

The Library of the U.S. Courts of the Seventh Circuit chose “Seek and Hide: The Tangled History of the Right to Privacy," which focuses on the right to privacy, and reaches back to the Founders to show that American law has in fact always provided protection against the invasion of privacy – and has long struggled to balance privacy interests against the right of the press to gather and report the news. The court’s program is like the Chicago Library’s “One Book, One Chicago” program.

The court is based in Chicago but covers three states: Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin. The summer program encourages staff of all the courts in the circuit to read the book, and then take part in a series of panels, discussions, and other programming over the summer centered on the book. This includes not only the federal appellate court based in Chicago, but all the federal district and bankruptcy courts throughout the three states and their staff, which represents more than 100 judges and hundreds of staff, including law clerks, court clerks, librarians, and other personnel.

On July 13, Gajda gave an afternoon chat about the book with those participating in the program at the Dirksen Federal Courthouse in Chicago and via Zoom throughout the rest of the circuit.

Independently of the court’s program, Gajda also spoke at the Tulane Law alumni event in Chicago the same day at the offices of Freeborn & Peters.

Next week, she will also address Tulane Law alumni in New York City at a reception on Monday, July 18 from 6-8 p.m. at the offices of Haynes and Boone, 30 Rockefeller Plaza, 26th Floor New York. RSVP for that event here.

Seek and Hide was released in April and was quickly named by The New York Times as one of the most anticipated non-fiction books; the newspaper called it  "wry and fascinating,"  in its review and Gajda "an insightful guide to a rich and textured history that gets easily caricatured, especially when a culture war is raging."

Since then, it has drawn significant interest and praise nationally, with such publications as The Atlantic, Fortune and The New Yorker reviewing it or using it as the foundation of for stories on current privacy rights issues.

Gajda is one of the nation’s leading scholars on the clash between privacy and press rights. In the book, she covers the notable cases of history—one involving many of the Founders who took separate but aligning sides on the press-privacy divide—as well as those that are important but barely caught notice, including the time Grover Cleveland kept a journalist in jail for reporting #MeToo truth. She follows the rise of the internet, the impact of some modern media willing to publish even the most intimate details of a person’s life, and Section 230, the law that facilitated it all.

She also is one of Tulane Law’s most beloved professors, with students routinely naming her as having had an impact on their careers and lives. In 2020, she was the recipient of the President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, the university’s highest honor for professional and graduate teaching, nominated by students and alumni.