Renowned Legal Scholar Mary Anne Franks to Deliver Tresolini Lecture

Frank will deliver “The Faithless Constitution: Rights and Responsibilities in the 21st Century” virtually.

Mary Anne Franks headshot

Mary Anne Franks, Professor of Law and Michael R. Klein Distinguished Scholar Chair at the University of Miami, will deliver the Tresolini Lecture virtually, Thursday, September 16 at 7 p.m.

The talk, titled “The Faithless Constitution: Rights and Responsibilities in the 21st Century,” is free and open to the public. The event can be attended at

“I am delighted that Professor Mary Anne Franks is the 41st speaker in the Tresolini Lecture in Law series. Since September 17 is Constitution Day, her lecture promises to be insightful and engaging for all those who attend,” said Brian Fife, professor and chair of political science.

Franks is the latest in a long line of luminaries to deliver the Tresolini Lecture, including journalist Carl Bernstein, historian and journalist Jay Cost,  public intellectual Cornel West, veteran journalist Bill Moyers, former U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno, legendary investigative journalist Seymour Hersh, former Vietnam War-era strategic analyst Daniel Ellsberg, Presumed Innocent author Scott Turow, the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, former Watergate-era White House Counsel John Dean, Bush v. Gore attorney David Boies, and Innocence Project founder Barry Scheck.

The Rocco J. Tresolini Lectureship in Law was established in 1978, in memory of one of Lehigh’s most distinguished teachers and scholars, Rocco Tresolini (1920-1967), who served as professor and chair of the Department of Government.

A nationally and internationally recognized expert on the intersection of civil rights and technology, Franks teaches classes on criminal law, criminal procedure, First Amendment law, Second Amendment law, family law, and law and technology. She is also an affiliated faculty member of the University of Miami Department of Philosophy and an affiliate fellow of the Yale Law School Information Society Project (ISP). 

Franks is the author of the award-winning book, The Cult of the Constitution: Our Deadly Devotion to Guns and Free Speech. In 2020, she was awarded a grant from the Knight Foundation to support research for her second book, Fearless Speech (expected 2022). Her scholarship has appeared in the Harvard Law Review, the California Law Review, and UCLA Law Review, among others. Franks has also authored numerous articles for the popular press, including the New York Times, the Atlantic, the Washington Post, and Newsweek. She has delivered more than 100 lectures to a range of audiences around the world, including law schools, domestic violence organizations, law firms, and tech companies. She was named a member of the American Law Institute in October 2018. 

Franks is the President and Legislative & Tech Policy Director of the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative, a nonprofit organization dedicated to combating online abuse and discrimination. In 2013, she drafted the first model criminal statute on nonconsensual pornography (sometimes referred to as “revenge porn”), which has served as the template for multiple state laws and for pending federal legislation on the issue. She also served as the reporter for the Uniform Law Commission’s 2018 Uniform Civil Remedies for the Unauthorized Disclosure of Intimate Images Act. Franks is a principal investigator for a 2020 National Science Foundation grant project, COVID-19 and sexual cyberviolence: Impact on general users and vulnerable populations. She regularly advises legislators, tech industry leaders, and advocacy organizations on issues relating to online privacy, sexual exploitation, extortion, harassment, and threats.

Franks holds a J.D. from Harvard Law School as well as a doctorate and a master’s degree from Oxford University, where she studied as a Rhodes Scholar. She previously taught at the University of Chicago Law School as a Bigelow Fellow and Lecturer in Law and at Harvard University as a lecturer in social studies and philosophy.

Story by Rob Nichols

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