Prof. Thomas W. Merrill

Charles Evans Hughes Professor of Law, Columbia Law School

Professor Merrill writes widely in the fields of property and administrative law. In property, he has authored, with Henry Smith of Harvard, a series of articles relating the structure of property rights to information costs (“Optimal Standardization in the Law of Property: The Numerus Clausus Principle," Yale Law Journal 2000), as well as a leading casebook (“Property: Principles and Policies,” 2012); a series of studies, with Joseph Kearney of Marquette, on the role of public property rights in the development of the Chicago lakefront (“The Origins of the American Public Trust Doctrine: What Really Happened in Illinois Central,”U. Chicago L. Rev. 2004); and a variety of writings on constitutional property (“Property: Takings (with David Dana 2002);" “The Landscape of Constitutional Property,” Virginia L. Rev.2000); “The Economics of Public Use,” Cornell L. Rev. 1986). In administrative law, he has written a number of pieces about the history of administrative law (“Article III, Agency Adjudication, and the Origins of the Appellate Review Model of Administrative law,” Columbia L. R. 2011), and about judicial review of agency interpretations of law (“Chevron’s Domain,"Geo. L. J. (with Kristin Hickman 2001)).

Professor Merrill is a graduate of Grinnell College (1971) and Oxford University (1973), where he was a Rhodes Scholar, and the University of Chicago Law School (1977). He clerked for the Hon. David L. Bazelon, U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, and for the Hon. Harry A. Blackmun, U.S. Supreme Court. From 1987-1990 he was Deputy Solicitor General, U.S. Department of Justice. Professor Merrill has previously taught at Northwestern Law School (1981-2003) and at Yale Law School (2008-2010). He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

  • University of Chicago, J.D., 1977, cum laude
  • Oxford University, B.A., 1973, first-class honors
  • Grinnell College, B.A., 1971, with honors

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Publications and Multimedia
Time to Revisit Chevron Deference? - Event Video
2014 National Lawyers Convention
November 17, 2014
Young Legal Scholars Paper Presentations - Event Audio/Video
16th Annual Faculty Conference
January 09, 2014
New Directions in Takings Law - Event Audio/Video
2013 National Lawyers Convention
November 25, 2013
Municipal Bankruptcy and Pension Reform: A Way Out? - Event Audio/Video
Sponsored by the Practice Groups of the Federalist Society
October 15, 2013
Unresolved Takings Questions Following the October 2012 Supreme Court Term - Podcast
Environmental Law & Property Rights Practice Group Podcast
September 18, 2013
City of Arlington - How much Deference? - Podcast
Administrative Law & Regulation Practice Group Podcast
June 13, 2013
PPL Montana, LLC v. Montana - Post-Decision SCOTUScast
SCOTUScast 03-12-12 featuring Thomas Merrill
March 12, 2012
Elgin v. Dep’t of the Treasury - Post-Argument SCOTUScast
SCOTUScast 03-08-12 featuring Thomas Merrill
March 08, 2012
A Federal Sunset Law - Event Audio/Video
2011 National Lawyers Convention
November 12, 2011
The Administrative State and the Constitution - Event Audio
2009 Annual Student Symposium
February 28, 2009
The 25th Anniversary of Chevron - Event Audio/Video
2008 National Lawyers Convention
November 22, 2008
Tradition and the People's Constitution - Event Audio/Video
2008 Annual Student Symposium
March 08, 2008
Agency Preemption: Speak Softly, But Carry A Big Stick? - Event Audio
2006 National Lawyers Convention
November 18, 2006
Chevron, The Nondelegation Doctrine, and Tobacco
Administrative Law Practice Group Newsletter - Volume 3, Issue 1, Spring 1999
May 01, 1999