Derek Webb joined the law school in 2012 as a fellow in the Constitutional Law Center. He works in the fields of constitutional law, statutory interpretation, American political theory, and legal history. His current research focuses on the ways in which the debate over the proposal and ratification of the Constitution in 1787-1788, now enjoying its 225th anniversary, can serve as a model for civil, informed, and balanced political and legal discourse today. He also is at work on several other projects related to constitutional interpretation, including articles on the First Amendment, the theme of democratic accountability in federalism and separation of powers cases, and (building off his Ph.D. dissertation) the role "reconstructive" American presidents like Jefferson, Lincoln, and FDR have played in interpreting the Constitution.
After receiving his B.A. in philosophy from Yale University, he earned a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Notre Dame and a J.D. from Georgetown University. He has held research and teaching fellowships at the University of Virginia and Princeton University and held summer clerkships in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee. In law school he was on the winning team of the Spong Moot Court competition, held annually at William and Mary Law School, receiving the Best Brief for respondent's side as well. In 2012 he received the American Inns of Court's Warren E. Burger Prize for his article, "The Original Meaning of Civility: Democratic Deliberation at the Philadelphia Constittional Convention."