Erwin Chemerinsky standing outside Berkeley Law

Research Expertise and Interest

constitutional law, criminal procedure, federal jurisdiction

Research Description

Erwin Chemerinsky became the 13th Dean of Berkeley Law on July 1, 2017, when he joined the faculty as the Jesse H. Choper Distinguished Professor of Law.

Prior to assuming this position, from 2008-2017, he was the founding Dean and Distinguished Professor of Law, and Raymond Pryke Professor of First Amendment Law, at University of California, Irvine School of Law, with a joint appointment in Political Science.  Before that he was the Alston and Bird Professor of Law and Political Science at Duke University from 2004-2008, and from 1983-2004 was a professor at the University of Southern California Law School, including as the Sydney M. Irmas Professor of Public Interest Law, Legal Ethics, and Political Science. He also has taught at DePaul College of Law and UCLA Law School.  

He is the author of twelve books, including leading casebooks and treatises about constitutional law, criminal procedure, and federal jurisdiction.  His most recent books are, The Religion Clauses: the Case for Separating Church and State (with Howard Gillman) (Oxford University Press 2020) and We the People:  A Progressive Reading of the Constitution for the Twenty-First Century (Picador Macmillan 2018).

He also is the author of more than 250 law review articles. He is a contributing writer for the Opinion section fo the Los Angeles Times, and writes a regular column for the Sacramento Bee, the ABA Journal and the Daily Journal, and frequent op-eds in newspapers across the country. He frequently argues appellate cases, including in the United States Supreme Court.  

In 2016, he was named a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.  In 2017, National Jurist magazine again named Dean Chemerinsky as the most influential person in legal education in the United States.

In the News

Trump’s Presidency Set the Stage for Recent Supreme Court Rulings

For UC Berkeley Law Dean Erwin Chemerinsky, the ability for the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn abortion rights, expand gun rights and limit the power of the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate greenhouse emissions, all within the span of a week, is proof that conservative justices’ originalist view of the Constitution has politicized the court for decades to come.

As Online Harms Surge, Our Better Web Initiative Advances at UC Berkeley

With the U.S. midterm elections approaching and political disinformation posing a continued threat to democracy, UC Berkeley’s ambitious new Our Better Web initiative, launched on a small scale in April, is advancing efforts to study and combat online harms including deception, discrimination and child exploitation.

Impeachment defenses risk our constitutional order, says Berkeley Law dean

As the impeachment of President Donald Trump moved through the U.S. House of Representatives, and now moves through the Senate, his defenders frequently cast it as a political process seeking to cause political damage. Some outspoken partisans have sought to discredit the entire process as “political theater” and a “political circus.”

Berkeley Talks: Berkeley Law Dean Erwin Chemerinsky on defending DACA

An important case of the current U.S. Supreme Court term is about Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA — a program that some 700,000 undocumented people depend on for the right to work and protection from deportation — and whether or not it was properly ended by the Trump administration in 2017. The program has been kept in place since then by federal court injunctions. Berkeley Law Dean Erwin Chemerinsky and attorney Ethan Dettmer of Gibson, Dunn and Crutcher’s in San Francisco are key members of the litigation team that won one of the court injunctions, and are currently defending DACA in the Supreme Court. In this Nov. 18 talk, they discuss what it’s like litigating a case like this and the Supreme Court arguments that happened last week.

Constitution’s biggest flaw? Protecting slavery

For many, Berkeley Law Dean Erwin Chemerinsky wrote the book on Constitutional Law. Named the most influential person in legal education in 2017 by National Jurist magazine, Chemerinsky agreed to share some insights about the Constitution’s tenets, history, and challenges.

Featured in the Media

Please note: The views and opinions expressed in these articles are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or positions of UC Berkeley.
September 9, 2019
Robert Barnes and Seung Min Kim
He's everything conservatives hoped for and liberals feared, Berkeley Law Dean Erwin Chemerinsky says about Justice Neil M. Gorsuch's performance on the Supreme Court. Dean Chemerinsky recently wrote a detailed evaluation of Justice Gorsuch's jurisprudence for ABA Journal.
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