Dean Erwin Chemerinsky

Dean and Distinguished Professor of Law, University of California, Irvine

Dean Chemerinsky is the founding dean of the University of California Irvine School of Law. He frequently argues appellate cases, including in the United States Supreme Court and the United States Courts of Appeals. Dean Chemerinsky also regularly serves as a commentator on legal issues for national and local media. His areas of expertise include constitutional law, federal practice, civil rights and civil liberties, appellate litigation.

Author of four books: Federal Jurisdiction (Aspen Law & Business 5TH ED. 2007) (a one volume treatise on federal courts); Constitutional Law: Principles and Policies (Aspen Law & Business 3d ed. 2006) (a one volume treatise on constitutional law); Constitutional Law (Aspen Law & Business 2d ed. 2005) (a casebook); Interpreting the Constitution (Praeger 1987); Also, author of over 100 law review articles that have appeared in journals such as the Harvard Law Review, Michigan Law Review, Northwestern Law Review, University of Pennsylvania Law Review, Stanford Law Review and Yale Law Journal. Writes a regular column on the Supreme Court for California Lawyer, Los Angeles Daily Journal, and Trial Magazine, and is a frequent contributor to newspapers and other magazines. Regularly serves as a commentator on legal issues for national and local media.

In April 2005, was named by Legal Affairs as one of “the top 20 legal thinkers in America.” Named by the Daily Journal every year from 1998-2003 as one of the 100 most influential lawyers in California. Awards include the 2003 President’s Award from the Criminal Courts Bar Association; 2003 Freedom of Information Award form the Society for Professional Journalists; 2002 Community Service Award from the Western Center on Law and Poverty; 2001 Community Service Award from the Anti-Defamation League; 2001 Clarence Darrow Award from the People's College of Law; 2000 Alumni Achievement Award from Northwestern University; the 1999 Eason Monroe Courageous Advocate Award from the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California; and the 1998 Judge John Brown Award for Contributions to Federal Judicial Education. Also received awards for work on the Los Angeles City Charter from the American Society of Public Administration, the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, and the Los Angeles Urban League.

He frequently argues appellate cases, including in the United States Supreme Court and the United States Courts of Appeals. Most recently, argued Van Orden v. Perry (a challenge to a Texas Ten Commandments monument) and Tory v. Cochran (a First Amendment case concerning the permissibility of injunctive relief as a remedy in defamation cases) in the Supreme Court in March 2005, and Scheidler v. National Organization for Women (suit for injunction to stop violent protests of reproductive health care facilities) in November 2005. Testified many times before congressional and state legislative committees, including as a witness before the Senate Judiciary Committee on the hearings of Samuel Alito for confirmation to the Supreme Court in January 2006.

Elected by the voters in April 1997 to serve a two year term as a member of the Elected Los Angeles Charter Reform Commission. Served as Chair of the Commission which proposed a new Charter for the City which was adopted by the voters in June 1999. Also served as a member of the Governor's Task Force on Diversity in 1999-2000. In September 2000, released a report on the Los Angeles Police Department and the Rampart Scandal, which was prepared at the request of the Los Angeles Police Protective League. Served as Chair of the Mayor’s Blue Ribbon Commission on City Contracting, which issued its report in February 2005.

  • B.S., Northwestern University
  • J.D., Harvard Law School

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Publications and Multimedia
The Morality of Consent - Podcast
Professional Responsibilities Practice Group Podcast
November 22, 2016
The Least Dangerous Branch? Reflections on Bickel’s Classic - Podcast
Professional Responsibilities & Legal Education Practice Group Podcast
July 14, 2016
Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association - Podcast
Labor & Employment Law Practice Group Podcast
August 27, 2015
Debate on Fisher and Shelby County - Podcast
Civil Rights Practice Group, American Constitution Society, and National Constitution Center Podcast
June 28, 2013
Judicial Activism - Podcast
Federalism & Separation of Powers Practice Group
June 04, 2010
Individual Health Care Insurance Mandate Debate
Online Debate
November 03, 2009
Online Debate
December 11, 2007
Al-Marri: Al-Qaeda Prisoner Dentention Case
Online Debate
July 03, 2007
Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act
Online Debate
April 26, 2007
SCOTUScast 4-20-07 featuring John Eastman and Erwin Chemerinsky
Gonzales v. Carhart et al. and Gonzales v. Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Inc., et al.
April 20, 2007