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Nathaniel Persily
James B. McClatchy Professor of Law

Biography 

An award-winning teacher and nationally recognized constitutional law expert, Professor Persily, JD '98, focuses on the law of democracy, addressing issues such as voting rights, political parties, campaign finance, and redistricting. A sought-after nonpartisan voice in voting rights, he has served as a court-appointed expert drawing up legislative districting plans for Georgia, Maryland, and New York and as special master for the redistricting of Connecticut’s congressional districts. Professor Persily is also at the forefront of data-driven research in the field, most notably with DrawCongress.org, a website he developed that serves as a repository for nonpartisan congressional redistricting plans for all 50 states. The website is the first ever to present a nonpartisan redistricting plan for the entire U.S. House of Representatives.

His other principal area of scholarly interest concerns American public opinion toward various constitutional controversies. He designed the Constitutional Attitudes Survey, a national public opinion poll executed in both 2009 and 2010. The survey (available here) includes an array of questions concerning attitudes toward the Supreme Court, constitutional interpretation, and specific constitutional controversies. (The data broken down by Tea Party supporters as reported by NPR are available here.)

Professor Persily has co-edited two books with Oxford Press. The first, Public Opinion and Constitutional Controversy (2008), examines the effects of Supreme Court decisions on American public opinion and in areas such as desegregation, criminal rights, abortion, gay rights, federalism, school prayer, and the death penalty. The second, The Health Care Case: The Supreme Court’s Decision and Its Implications (forthcoming May 2013), presents expert analysis of NFIB v. Sebelius from the nation’s leading professors of constitutional and health law. Persily has also published dozens of articles in both scholarly publications and popular media on the legal regulation of political parties, on issues surrounding the census and redistricting process, on voting rights, and on campaign finance reform. Prior to joining the faculty at Stanford Law School in July 2013, Professor Persily was  the Charles Keller Beekman Professor of Law and Professor of Political Science at Columbia Law School, where he is also the founding director of the Center for Law and Politics.

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