Evolution News & Views is pleased to welcome new contributor Ed Sisson to our team. Ed has long been involved in the battle for academic freedom. You may remember him from the Kansas state board of education’s hearings on science standards in 2005 or as Dr. Caroline Crocker’s pro-bono attorney when she was ousted from George Mason University for teaching some of the scientific evidence that challenges Darwinian evolution. We highlighted a series of Youtube videos featuring Ed earlier this year.
Ed’s biography, in his own words:
EDWARD HAWKINS SISSON, born in Washington, D.C. to a Navy officer father and a sixth-generation Washingtonian mother, attended eight elementary and middle schools in Virginia, Connecticut, California, Maryland, and Hawaii before becoming a boarding student at St. Albans, the private high school in Washington D.C. affiliated with the National Cathedral. His sole award on graduation (1973) was Most Promising Filmmaker; his sole high school elective office was to the school chapel vestry. At Pomona College he studied English, Philosophy, and Filmmaking before transferring to MIT to earn a bachelor of science in Architectural Design (1977). Finding the practice of architecture less stimulating than expected, he turned down his acceptance to MIT’s Master of Architecture program and became a producer of experimental multi-media & avant-garde theater, based in San Francisco and on tour across the US and Europe (1978-1987). His productions played in venues from small avant-garde theaters to 1,000+ seat houses such as UC Berkeley Zellerbach Hall, the historic Herbst Theater in San Francisco Civic Center, UCLA Royce Hall, and the Kennedy Center Opera House. His productions toured overseas to major international festivals in France, Germany, Belgium, Holland, Spain, Yugoslavia, and Poland; his last production was selected by the US government to represent the US at major European festivals. After these successes he decided to earn a law degree, graduating magna cum laude from Georgetown University Law Center (1991). His first brief, while a law student, was in the U.S. Supreme Court; his side won 5-4 in Thurgood Marshall’s last decision (Burns v. US, 1991). Also in 1991 he married the daughter of a former Iowa Governor, in an Episcopal ceremony at the Washington National Cathedral: the minister who officiated was a woman; one groomsman was not only openly gay, but visibly ill with the AIDS that killed him exactly one year later; and another groomsman was African-American. Sisson has never been a traditionalist. Since divorced, he has two children, a son and a daughter.
After clerking for a federal judge, in late 1992 he joined the large law firm Arnold & Porter, and was elected partner seven years later. He specialized in suing the government; his largest commercial victory was $401 million (American Savings v. US; reduced on appeal to $55 million).
He also maintained an extensive pro bono practice, including for the Clinton Administration transition (1993) drafting ethics rules; for D.C. government reform efforts; and for indigent minority clients, seeking to protect the rights of a postal worker, a shooting victim, a man convicted of drug dealing, and a woman convicted of bank robbery. He worked to obtain the first-ever posthumous Presidential pardon, issued by President Clinton (1999) to overturn the racially-motivated court-martial of the first African-American graduate of West Point, Lt. Henry Ossian Flipper (class of 1877). He also assisted human-rights activists in Iran, the former Yugoslavia, and North Korea, and was long-time counsel to the National Endowment for Democracy.
Also as part of his pro bono practice, in 2004 and 2005 he assisted university science professors — most notably, Dr. Caroline Crocker (featured in the Ben Stein film Expelled) and other science PhD’s who find scientific merit in the pro-intelligent design critique of mainstream evolution, and who suffer government-directed discrimination as a result. At the 2005 Kansas “evolution hearings” Sisson was slated to cross-examine the science witnesses for the majority view, but they boycotted the proceedings. He left Arnold & Porter in January, 2006, and suspended his commercial legal practice to pursue a number of fiction and nonfiction writing projects, including plays and historical novels.