Donald A. Downs is the Alexander Meiklejohn Emeritus Professor of Political Science, Law and Journalism, the Glenn B. and Cleone Orr Hawkins Emeritus Professor of Political Science, and Co-Founder of the Center for the Study of Liberal Democracy at the University of Wisconsin, Madison; Research Fellow at the Independent Institute; and President of the Committee for Academic Freedom and Rights. He received his Ph.D. in political science from the University of California at Berkeley, and he has taught at the University of Michigan and University of Notre Dame.
He is the author of the books, Restoring Free Speech and Liberty on Campus, Nazis in Skokie: Freedom, Community, and the First Amendment (which won the Anisfield-Wolf Book award from Saturday Review), The New Politics of Pornography (which won the Gladys M. Kammerer Award from the America Political Science Association), More than Victims: Battered Women, the Syndrome Society, and the Law (which showed how treating battered women as passive, helpless victims denigrated their ability to survive and defend themselves and denied them their rights as citizens), and Arms and the University: Military Presence and the Civic Education on Non-Military Students.
He is also a contributor to numerous scholarly volumes and encyclopedias, and his articles have appeared in such journals as the American Political Science Review, American Bar Foundation Research Review, Law and Politics Review, Notre Dame Law Review, Review of Politics, and Wisconsin Journal of International Law.
He is the recipient of the Peter Shaw Memorial Award, Jeane J. Kirkpatrick Academic Freedom Award, the University Teaching Award, and the Hilldale Award in the Social Studies.