Arthur E. Sutherland, Bussey Professor of Law Emeritus, and widely cited legal scholar, died Thursday evening of cancer. He was 71 years old.
A member of the Faculty of Law from 1950 to 1970, Sutherland was an authority on constitutional as well as commercial law.
In constitutional law, Sutherland paid special attention to the Constitution as applied to international affairs, and to the Bill of Rights. During the McCarthy era, he used his legal expertise to advise and to help defend Harvard Faculty members who were attacked by the Wisconsin Senator.
In commercial law, Sutherland helped draft the Uniform Commericial Code, a body of laws which established common trade practices among states. In 1962, he was chairman of a special committee to revise the so-called "blue laws," of Massachusetts.
The blue laws are laws limiting business activities on Sundays. The commission developed a simpler and more coherent set of laws, which was later adopted by the Massachusetts Legislature.
Sutherland's influence at Harvard was felt beyond the confines of the Law School, Albert M. Sacks, dean of the Law School, said yesterday. Sutherland established very close relationships with people throughout the university, especially with the Nieman Fellows, Sacks explained.
Sutherland was an associate of Adams House and from 1965 to 1966, he was acting Master of Lowell House.
Paul Freund, Loeb University Professor, said that Sutherland's "greatest quality was his liveliness of mind and spirit."
"He was an unusual combination of the scholarly and the homespun," Freund said.
"His teaching was enlivened by anecdotes from the real world of law practice. He was one of the most popular Law School Faculty members within the larger University," Freund added.
Before coming to Harvard, Sutherland practiced law for 14 years in Rochester, N.Y. During the Second World War, Sutherland served with distinction in the U.S. Army. He left the Army in 1945 as a Colonel, having received a number of high honors, including the Bronze Star and the Order of the British Empire.
Sutherland was a graduate of Wesleyan University and Harvard Law School. His teaching career began at Cornell Law School in 1945.
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