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This Day in Speech & Debate History! Celebrating Erwin Chemerinsky! Debater & Constitutional Expert!

“I learned how to think critically, how to develop arguments, how to speak clearly, and how to research. Everything I do – teaching, writing, and advocacy – uses these skills. Perhaps less obviously, I learned word economy which has been enormously valuable. . . . in teaching, sign-posting and labeling is much appreciated by my students. In doing media interviews, the conciseness that comes from word economy is invaluable in doing soundbites. Also, very importantly, as you know so well, debate forces one to be efficient in using one’s time and prepares one for juggling the many things we all must do.” – Erwin Chemerinsky, Dean of the University of California, Irvine School of Law

Happy Birthday to Erwin Chemerinsky. Chemerinsky (born May 14, 1953) is an American lawyer, scholar, teacher, writer, television commentator, and one of the foremost experts on constitutional law and federal civil procedure. He served as both founding dean of the University of California, Irvin School of Law and is currently the dean of the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law. He is the second-most frequently cited American legal scholar.

He was an award winning debater at Northwestern University where he also earned a bachelor’s degree in communications. He then attended Harvard Law where he graduated in 1978. He taught for over 20 years at the University of Southern California School of Law.

He is the author of eleven books, including leading casebooks and treatises about constitutional law, criminal procedure, and federal jurisdiction.  His most recent books are, We the People:  A Progressive Reading of the Constitution for the Twenty-First Century (Picador Macmillan) published in November 2018, and two books published by Yale University Press in 2017, Closing the Courthouse Doors: How Your Constitutional Rights Became Unenforceable and Free Speech on Campus (with Howard Gillman).

He also is the author of more than 200 law review articles. He writes a regular column for the Sacramento Bee, monthly columns for 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. -



UC Berkeley Law School