Prof. William Wagner

Professor, Thomas M. Cooley Law School

Professor Wagner holds a tenured professorship teaching constitutional law, ethics, and advanced appellate techniques. He is a frequent speaker at world conferences and has published a number of articles, books, and other publications. Professor Wagner has a special interest in the protection of free expression and the free exercise of religious conscience. He served as lead amicus counsel in various matters before the United States Supreme Court, authored a brief filed in the Supreme Court of Sweden, authored written testimony before the United States Congress, and submitted written evidence before the Parliament of the United Kingdom. He has also testified before various state legislative bodies and presented an address at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva.

Prior to joining academia, Professor Wagner served on the Federal Bench as the United States Magistrate Judge for the Northern District of Florida. Before his appointment in the United States Courts, he served as the chief American diplomat for the Department of Justice at the American Embassy in Liberia. There he led a diplomatic mission charged with strengthening democracy and the rule of law.

During his career in public service, he has provided international assistance to the justice sector institutions of numerous countries on five continents. Professor Wagner also served as a senior United States prosecutor, litigating hundreds of federal cases and serving as chief of appellate litigation for the Office of the United States Attorney.

Prior to serving in the Justice Department, Professor Wagner served as legal counsel in the United States Senate and as chief counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee of the Michigan legislature. As chief counsel, he supervised all legislative issues involving the separation of powers, due process, and other protections of individual rights and liberties, including the right to free expression and the free exercise of religious conscience.

Professor Wagner has served on the adjunct faculty at a number of universities including: The University of Florida, Michigan State University, Saint Leo University, and the University of Liberia. He has also held the following pro bono appointments: American Bar Association, V-Chair, Crime Victims Committee; Federal Bar Association, Board of Directors (NDFL); National District Attorneys Association Federal Working Group on Child Exploitation, member; National Victim Center's Federal Leadership Council, member; Ingham Regional Hospital Ethics Committee, member; Alachua Habitat for Humanity Inc. - Chief Executive Officer & Executive Board of Directors; Hospice of Lansing Inc. - Board of Directors and Chair of the Ethics Committee; CTV - Executive Board of Directors; Student Statesmanship Institute - Board of Advisors.

  • B.A. Western Michigan University 1982
  • J.D. Saint Louis University 1986
  • Danforth Fellow (Law, post-doctoral)

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Publications and Multimedia
Seven-Minute Presentations of Works in Progress - Event Audio
13th Annual Faculty Conference
January 07, 2011