Prof. Kurt T. Lash

Alumni Distinguished Professor of Law; Director, Program on Constitutional Theory, History and Law

One of the nation’s leading scholars of constitutional law, Professor Kurt T. Lash is honored as the newest recipient of the Alumni Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of Illinois College of Law, where he directs the Program in Constitutional Theory, History, and Law.

A graduate of Yale Law School, Professor Lash served as law clerk to the Honorable Robert R. Beezer of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. He joins the University of Illinois from Loyola Law School Los Angeles, where he served as the James P. Bradley Chair of Constitutional Law.

Professor Lash focuses his scholarship on constitutional law, theory, and history, and his work has appeared in some of the top law reviews in the United States, including the Stanford Law Review, Virginia Law Review, Georgetown Law Journal, Northwestern Law Review, and Texas Law Review. His recent book, The Lost History of the Ninth Amendment, was published in 2009 by Oxford University Press. Cambridge University Press will publish his second book, American Privileges and Immunities: Federalism, The Fourteenth Amendment and the Rights of American Citizenship.

Notably, his research was cited by the United States Supreme Court in the recent case of McDonald v. Chicago (2010), which addressed the conflict between gun restrictions in Chicago and the Second Amendment. In 2011, his work on the Privileges or Immunities Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment received the University of Illinois College of Law’s Caroll P. Hurd Award for Excellence in Faculty Scholarship.

His recent publications include “The Origins of the Privileges or Immunities Clause, Part II: John Bingham and the Second Draft of the Fourteenth Amendment, 99 Georgetown Law Journal 329 (2011); "The Origins of the Privileges or Immunities Clause, Part I: 'Privileges and Immunities' as an Antebellum Term of Art," 98 Georgetown Law Journal 1241 (2010); "Leaving the Chisholm Trail: The Eleventh Amendment and the Background Principle of Strict Construction," 50 William and Mary Law Review 1577 (2009); "The Original Meaning of an Omission: The Tenth Amendment, Popular Sovereignty, and 'Expressly' Delegated Powers," 83 Notre Dame Law Review 101 (2008); "Of Inkblots and Originalism: Historical Ambiguity and the Case of the Ninth Amendment," 31 Harv. J.L. & Pub. Pol'y 467 (2008); “A Textual-Historical Theory of the Ninth Amendment," 60 Stanford Law Review 895 (2008); "On Federalism, Freedom, and the Founders' View of Retained Rights: A Reply to Randy Barnett," 60 Stanford Law Review 969 (2008); "The Inescapable Federalism of the Ninth Amendment," 93 Iowa Law Review 801(2008); “Originalism, Popular Sovereignty, and Reverse Stare Decisis,” 93 Virginia Law Review 101 (2007); "Minority Report: John Marshall and the Defense of the Alien and Sedition Acts," 68 Ohio State Law Journal 435 (2007); "Tucker's Rule: St. George Tucker and the Limited Construction of Federal Power," 47 William & Mary L. Rev. 1343 (2006); and, "James Madison's Celebrated Report of 1800: The Transformation of the Tenth Amendment," 74 Geo. Wash. L. Rev. 1701 (2006).


J.D., Yale University; B.A., Whitman College

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Upcoming Events
Does the Fourteenth Amendment Protect Unenumerated Rights?
Chicago Student Chapter
January 25, 2017
Publications and Multimedia
Does the Fourteenth Amendment Protect Unenumerated Rights?
Engage Volume 12, Issue 2, September 2011
September 12, 2011
The Establishment Clause
Engage Volume 12, Issue 2, September 2011
September 12, 2011
McDonald v. City of Chicago – Cert Granted SCOTUScast Debate
SCOTUScast 11-09-2009 featuring Kurt Lash, Nelson Lund, and Clark Neily
November 09, 2009
Judicial Philosophy/Originalism-The Tempting of America: The Political Seduction of the Law - Event Video
A Conference Discussing the Contributions of Judge Robert H. Bork
June 26, 2007