David Post is an American legal scholar. He is an expert in law in cyberspace and intellectual property law. He retired in 2014 from his position as Professor of Law at Beasley School of Law of Temple University in Philadelphia. He currently serves as an Adjunct Scholar at the Cato Institute, as well as being a Fellow of the Institute for Information Law and Policy at New York Law School and a Fellow at the Center for Democracy and Technology.
Education and Career
Post graduated from Yale University cum laude in 1972. He earned his PhD in anthropology from Yale in 1078 and his JD summa cum laude from Georgetown University Law Center in 1986.
From 1976 to 1981, he served as the director of programs for the American Anthropological Association, and he was an assistant professor of anthropology at Columbia University from 1981 to 1983. After he finished law school in 1986, he became a law clerk under Ruth Bader Ginsburg when she was a judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. He clerked for her again after she became a Supreme Court Justice from 1993 to 1994. In between clerkships, he practiced law in Washington DC.
From 1994 to 1997, Post was an associate professor of law at Georgetown University Law Center, and in 1997, he became a professor of law for the Beasley School of Temple University in Philadelphia, eventually becoming the I. Herman Stern Professor of Law until his retirement in the fall of 2014.
Post contributes to the Volokh Conspiracy Blog. The blog was co-founded in 2002 by Eugene Volokh, a law professor, and it covers legal issues from an ideological perspective that is libertarian. It is made up of mostly legal scholars. The name is a joking reference to Hillary Clinton’s 1998 claim of a vast right wing conspiracy that was persecuting her husband, Bill Clinton.
Post’s main area of expertise is intellectual property law and the relationship of complexity theory to the law. In 2009, Post published In Search of Jefferson’s Moose: Notes on the State of Cyberspace. Post explored the parallels between the Internet and the natural and intellectual landscape that Thomas Jefferson was able to explore, document, and shape. It is also referred to as a Jeffersonian view of Internet law and policy, and he was awarded the 2009 Green Bag Award for Exemplary Legal Writing for this work.
Post co-authored Cyberlaw: Problems of Policy and Jurisprudence in the Information Age, along with Paul Schiff Berman and Patricia Bellia in 2007. This book is currently in its fourth edition. In addition, he has written numerous scholarly articles on complexity theory, the law of cyberspace, and intellectual property. He has also been a columnist for Information Week and American Lawyer.
Post has been the author of numerous amicus briefs for the Supreme Court and other courts. He also signed an open letter in 2014 that advocated for the legal recognition of same-sex marriages, but cautioned against advocates having ulterior reasons for their advocacy, such as to punish those who engage in it.
In addition to his legal work, Post has been published in the area of animal behavior and evolutionary biology. He observed the yellow baboons in Kenya, at the Amboseli National Park. He studied and taught anthropology before returning to school to study law.
Post has had a number of television appearances in his career. He has been a commentator on the Lehrer News Hour, Court TV’s Supreme Court Preview, NPR’s All Things Considered, and BBC’s World. He was recently featured in the PBS documentary, The Supreme Court.
Post is said to be a well spoken historian, and in a review of the Supreme Court show on PBS, he is said to have brought energy and meaning to the narrative.
He has five videos in the C-Span library. His first appearance was in 1995 in a Forum when he was a professor at Georgetown University Law Center. He has two videos from 2014, and there is one video from 2019. The 2019 video discusses section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996 that protects providers and websites from lawsuits based on user content.