It’s always good to know who’s behind a blog. Here’s a quick bio; for more, you can access my whole, bloated CV:

Sheila Suess Kennedy is Emerita Professor of Law and Public Policy at the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis. Until her retirement in December of 2020, she was a Faculty Fellow with both the Center for Religion and American Culture and the Tobias Center for Leadership Excellence, an adjunct professor of political science and founder of the Center for Civic Literacy at IUPUI.

Professor Kennedy holds a B.S. from Indiana University, and received her J.D. with honors from I.U. in 1975, where she was managing editor of the Indiana Law Review. She practiced real estate, administrative and business law in Indianapolis, first at Baker & Daniels and later as a partner with Mears, Crawford, Kennedy & Eichholz, and served as Corporation Counsel for the City of Indianapolis from 1977-1980. In 1980, she was the Republican candidate for Indiana’s then 11th Congressional District seat. Professor Kennedy was president of Kennedy Development Services from 1987-1992, when she became Executive Director of the Indiana Affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union. She joined the faculty of the School of Public and Environmental affairs in 1998.

Ms. Kennedy is the author of nine books, What’s a Nice Republican Girl Like Me Doing at the ACLU?(Prometheus Books); Free Expression in America: A Documentary History (Greenwood Publishing); Pickin’ Fights With Thunderstorms: A Love Story (Kern) ; Charitable Choice at Work: Faith-Based Jobs Programs in the States (with Wolfgang Bielefield)(Georgetown University Press), God and Country: America in Red and Blue (Baylor University Press); Distrust, American Style: Diversity and the Crisis of Public Confidence (Prometheus Books), American Public Service: Constitutional and Ethical Foundations (with David Schultz), Talking Politics: What You Need to Know Before You Open Your Mouth (Georgetown University Press) and Living Together: Mending a Fractured America (Amazon). She was also the co-editor of To Market, To Market: Reinventing Indianapolis, an analysis of Indianapolis’ privatization experience under former Mayor Stephen Goldsmith (University Press of America).

In addition to her books, Professor Kennedy has published numerous book chapters and articles in scholarly journals and law reviews. She has been a columnist for the Indianapolis Star, Inequality.org and The Indiana Word, and she continues to write regular columns for the Indianapolis Business Journal. Professor Kennedy blogs daily at www.sheilakennedy.net, and is a frequent contributor to other blogs and periodicals.

Sheila and her husband Bob have five grown children and four perfect grandchildren.



  2. First off I would like to say the excerpt I have read from your book God and Country were amazing. I love your political insight. I also wanted to contact you because Karen Celestino told me you would be taking a group to Rally to Restore Sanity at the end of this month. I am very interested in attending; please contact me if you wouldn’t mind adding to your traveling group. Thank you and please keep creating enlightening literature.

  3. I got a great laugh from the letters to the editor in today’s Star (Sat., Oct 30) with regard to the comments about “old, angry white guys.” For some years I’ve noticed old men (my age and older) are more & more narrow-minded, opinionated and rude to anyone who doesn’t share their beliefs. My girlfriends & I have laughed about them many times….many of my girlfriends are married to some of them! However, you don’t dare say it in public or to them, there’s no way you can change their minds. I was in line recently for about 10 minutes and laughed internally the whole time due to 2 old men arguing politics, one D & one R, and never were they to agree — couldn’t wait to get to my car so I could laugh out loud in private. Those are the attitudes that have caused our country to get in such trouble! I admit I’ve seen a few old ladies so angry they spit when they talked, but mostly old men….what the heck are we to do with them?

  4. Ms. Kennedy: I have been a fan of yours for many years now and have followed your commentary in the Indpls. Star. Your opinions in many cases mirror those of my own. Please, Please, keep up the GOOD WORK. Thank you for tirelessly educating people that we do NOT have to tolerate intolerance, the Nanny State, The Religious and Far Right, ad nauseum. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  5. Sheila, very long time – decades – no see (from AJC days) and when you ran for Congress/ Happened to run across your blog. Let’s get back in touch. Still a yellow dog Democrat and still practicing law – at Thompson & Knight in Houston.

  6. I just read the last paragraph saying it was your last submission (in your gay rights submission), and I realized you meant what you had said in your subject line. This is sad for me. Yvonne Bowman (former colleague) has forwarded to me many of your submissions for a few years now. I see you have your blog and several ways of communicating with you. I just have come to fully appreciate your gifted command of the English language, combined with your brilliant weaving of what might appear as disparate facts, But in the intersection of factoids you reveal what is then an inescapable perspective/analysis/conclusion… on some life phenomena that truly matters to our human existence. I have agreed with so many, most of the positions you have taken. I just really feel well represented in your voice. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to travel with you into the open spaces of clear thinking. You thread the facts in such a way that the pearls of truth do in fact come together. Ok that’s my thank you.

  7. Thanks for the VERY kind words!

    I’ll still be sending Yvonne my longer posts for distribution, but I hope you’ll bookmark the blog and become part of what I hope will be a conversation rather than a monologue!

  8. I’ve not gotten into blogging, but I’d really appreciate being on your distribution list for your monthly article. If not, I’ll continue to get them via Yvonne. Thanks.

  9. Sheila,
    It was with great sadness that I read your last column in the Indpls Star this morning. Also, sorry to miss you @ the 50th reunion last Sept.

    Hope all is well with you and yours. Vicki & I are enjoying the good life in northern IN.


    ps. Although your views and mine were not always on the same page, I will miss the thought provoking views and your well spoken style

  10. Sheila:
    I am really sad that your column will no longer be published in the Star. It was among a very few that actually provided a factual and thoughtful voice for those of us in Indiana who have chosen not to drink the Kool-Aid.

  11. I am sorry to see you are not writing for the Star anymore. I usually disagree with you 100% of the time, but I do like your thoughts and arguments. On gay marriage, why not a civil union law for any two humans, a position Pres. Obama supports? Why the push to use the word “marriage”? Will Indiana ever look at that? Probably not unless forced to by the courts or a big swing in public opinion or make up of the Dems in the legislature Good luck in the future.

  12. I was very disappointed to read the last paragraph of your editorial today – your last column for the Star. I have always made a point of reading your editorials. Just to mention one of special elucidation for me was titled Constitution 101 (May 2010); it made a clear delineation between religious expression in the “public square” and the “public sector”. Yes, I must have skipped that lesson. Please keep these great essays coming, by some medium. Best, Marvin.

  13. The Star will be less interesting without your clear and insightful voice. You speak for many other people and deserve to be heard by a broader audience. Thanks for adding sanity and reasonableness to the public discourse on so many vital issues.

  14. Just read your article, “The Language of Crazy” in which you discuss the power that language has. You mention the terrible consequences that have resulted from young people being taunted for being homosexual, and you refer to the shooting in Arizona as possibly resulting from hate speech. I am in agreement with you. I am not a supporter of Jan Brewer, but you lost me when you referred to her as “intellectually challenged”. I do not understand your use of name-calling in a piece that denounces it. Can’t you simply state her position and let that stand on its own? Isn’t “intellectually challenged” a euphemism, or pc term, for “mentally retarded”? As a former special education teacher, sister of a mentally retarded man, and grandma to a boy whose best friend is constantly taunted with the term “retard” because he is hearing impaired and has speech problems as a result, I am sensitive to this term and its use as an insult. Please don’t let your message be lost or overlooked because of your hypocrisy in using name-calling in an article that condemns it.

  15. I saw something in the Star yesterday 5-15-2011, that scares me to death. Maybe you saw it too? On the front page there was a story about how our Indiana Supremes voted 3-2 in favor of warrantless house searches and said if we don’t like it to take the police to court???? The Supremes said they didn’t want the cops getting hurt. Ummmm. Excuse me? What happened to the 4th Amendment? I realize that the Patriot Act grants no knock warrants for subjects of terrorist investigations and/

  16. I had precisely the same reaction when I read the Star; however, my son (a lawyer who most definitely does not like the Patriot Act and whose wife is an ACLU lawyer who was equally alarmed) said that the court’s reasoning was that people had other remedies when police entered their homes illegally. In other words, given the potential for harm during a violent confrontation, the better approach would be for the homeowner to sue for civil damages. The dissent felt the decision was too broad–that it should still have allowed for defense in “egregious” situations. While I still have qualms, I am less upset given the fact that the court endorsed alternative remedies and recognized that police must act in accordance with the law, just like everyone else.

  17. I read a couple of your posts and then read your bio. Your posts make sense considering you are clearly such a complete lefty. Good luck with that.

  18. Sheila,

    Huge fan of your work and love today’s post. You are so right on so many, MANY levels!

    Keep writing and we will keep reading and reacting!

    James M.

  19. Your article “Music for World-Class Cities” was excellent. The fact that you could actually produce a factual dollars-and-cents assessment of the financial importance of a first class Orchestra will, hopefully, open some eyes in the business community. I realize that you have reasons for where you put your articles, but I just couldn’t hold myself back from suggesting that you publish the article in the Star and IBJ. Thank you.
    Personally I have written comments to IBJ, the Indpls
    Star and the Musicians’ petition.
    Joseph R. Dell’Aquila, PhD
    3055 Meeting House Lane
    Indianapolis, IN 46222-1841
    317 925-9806

  20. Sheila,
    I’ve been following your blog for over two years. I love it. LOVE it. You are refreshing and honest.

    Though, it’s kind of sad that I go to you for news before the newspapers.

    Here’s some fun news that you might like. Not sure if it’s spread up north yet from my fair city: LGBTQ Flashmob Wedding tomorrow night (Thursday) at the Buskirk, officiated by Mayor Kruzan.
    Here is the best soundbite about hosting this mass wedding from the following article.

    “This is a message that we will not endorse the staining of our Constitution with discrimination,” said county council President Geoff McKim, who will be joined by council colleague Rick Dietz. “A Constitution is supposed to be for setting up how we will govern. This would be polluting our Constitution.”


  21. Keri–Thanks for the kind words. I had heard about the mass weddings, and–obviously–heartily approve. I’m beginning to be cautiously optimistic about our chances of defeating this hateful amendment….

  22. Prof. Kennedy – I took your grad-level con law class many moons ago, and was in a discussion with someone who had a…lack of understanding regarding some pretty basic tenets of the Constitution. I thought about getting them the book you used in class – but couldn’t remember the name of it. Any ideas what it might have been? It was an easy read – less than 200 pages. Thanks – keep up the great work!

  23. Sheila – So wonderful to find your blog! I don’t know if you remember me or not, but we worked together many years ago when you were with the ACLU and I was the Executive Director of the Indiana Interreligious Commission on Human Equality (IICHE). As always, love reading your thoughts and will now be following your blog! -Cathy

  24. There is a simple and quick solution to the shortage of officers that Mayor Ballard and PSD Riggs will not look at…hire the Reserves that would like to be full time…They are already trained, equipped and know the area and could be on the streets within a couple weeks…would not take the estimated 18 months either…

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