Picture of Professor Balkin



Jack M. Balkin

Knight Professor of Constitutional Law and the First Amendment

Director, The Information Society Project at Yale Law School



Opeds and Other Short Writings



Yale Law School
P.O. Box 208215
127 Wall Street
New Haven, CT 06520

Areas of Expertise:

  • constitutional law

  • cultural evolution
  • first amendment law
  • jurisprudence and legal theory
  • law and music
  • philosophy of culture
  • social and cultural theory
  • ideology and belief systems
  • telecommunications and cyberspace law
  • tort law


Jack M. Balkin is Knight Professor of Constitutional Law and the First Amendment at Yale Law School. Professor Balkin received his Ph.D in philosophy from Cambridge University, and his A.B. and J.D. degrees from Harvard University. He served as a clerk for Judge Carolyn D. King of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and practiced as an attorney at Cravath, Swaine, and Moore in New York City before entering the legal academy. He has been a member of the law faculties at the University of Texas and the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and a visiting professor at Harvard University, the Buchman Faculty of Law at Tel Aviv University and the University of London.

Professor Balkin is founder and director of the Information Society Project at Yale Law School, an interdisciplinary center devoted to the study of law and the new information technologies. A prominent legal theorist and constitutional scholar, Professor Balkin's work ranges over many different fields, from philosophy to politics, from theories of cultural evolution to legal and musical interpretation. His books include Cultural Software: A Theory of Ideology, The Laws of Change: I Ching and the Philosophy of Life, Processes of Constitutional Decisionmaking (4th ed., with Brest, Levinson and Amar), and What Brown v. Board of Education Should Have Said, and What Roe v. Wade Should Have Said.





What Roe v. Wade Should Have Said




The Laws of Change



What Brown v. Board of Education Should Have Said


Legal Canons

Processes of Constitutional Decisionmaking

Cultural Software




    Lochner and Constitutional Historicism, __ B.U. L. Rev. __ (forthcoming 2005) online version

    Plessy, Brown, and Grutter: A Play in Three Acts, __ Cardozo L. Rev. __ (forthcoming 2005) online version

    Virtual Liberty: Freedom to Design and Freedom to Play in Virtual Worlds, 90 Va. L. Rev. 2043 (2004). online version

    What Brown Teaches Us About Constitutional Theory, 90 Va. L. Rev. 1537 (2004). online version

    Brown, Social Movements, and Social Change, in Delaware Brown Symposium, (forthcoming 2005) online version

    Digital Speech and Democratic Culture, Digital Speech and Democratic Culture: A Theory of Freedom of Expression for the Information Society, 79 N.Y.U. L. Rev. 1 (2004). online version

    Respect Worthy: Frank Michelman and the Legitimate Constitution, 39 Tulsa L. Rev. 485 (2004). online version

    How Rights Change: Freedom of Speech in the Digital Era, 26 Sydney Law Rev. 5 (2004). online version

    What are the Facts of Marbury v. Madison?, 20 Const. Comm. 255 (2003)(with Sanford Levinson). online version

    Idolatry and Faith: The Jurisprudence of Sanford Levinson, 38 Tulsa L. Rev. 553 (2003). online version

    The Proliferation of Legal Truth, 26 Harv. J. Law & Pub. Pol'y 5 (2003). online version

    The American Civil Rights Tradition: Anticlassification or Antisubordination?, 58 U. Miami L. Rev. 9 (2003)(with Reva Siegel). online version Earlier version published in Issues in Legal Scholarship, The Origins and Fate of Antisubordination Theory (2003): Article 11, http://www.bepress.com/ils/iss2/art11. online version

    Legitimacy and the 2000 Election, in Bush v. Gore: The Question of Legitimacy 210-228 (Bruce Ackerman, ed., Yale University Press)(2002). online version

    Would African Americans Have Been Better Off Without Brown v. Board of Education?, The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education, 35:102-06 (Spring 2002). online version

    The Use that the Future Makes of the Past: John Marshall's Greatness and its Lessons for Today's Supreme Court Justices, 43 William and Mary L. Rev. 1321 (2002) online version

    Understanding the Constitutional Revolution, 87 Va. L. Rev. 1045 (2001)(with Sanford Levinson) online version

    Legal Historicism and Legal Academics: The Roles of Law Professors in the Wake of Bush v. Gore, 90 Geo. L. J. 173 (2001)(with Sanford Levinson) online version

    Bush v. Gore and the Boundary Between Law and Politics, 110 Yale L. J. 1407 (2001). online version

    Filtering the Internet: A Best Practices Model, in Protecting Our Children on the Internet: Towards a New Culture of Responsibility, (Jens Waltermann and Marcel Machill, eds., Bertelsmann Foundation Publishers)(2000)(with Beth Simone Noveck and Kermit Roosevelt). online version

    Interpreting Law and Music: Performance Notes on "The Banjo Serenader" and "The Lying Crowd of Jews," 20 Cardozo L. Rev. 1513 (1999)(with Sanford Levinson). online version

    Free Speech and Hostile Environments, 99 Colum. L. Rev. 2295 (1999). (Another version published in Directions in Sexual Harassment Law, (Catharine A. MacKinnon and Reva B. Siegel eds., Yale University Press 2003). online version

    Getting Serious About "Taking Legal Reasoning Seriously," 74 Chicago-Kent L. Rev. 543 (1999)(with Sanford Levinson). online version

    The Declaration and the Promise of a Democratic Culture, 4 Widener Law Symposium Journal 167 (1999). online version

    How Mass Media Simulate Political Transparency, Cultural Values Vol. 3 No. 4: 393-413 (1999). online version

    Law as Performance, in Law and Literature 729-751 (Michael Freeman and Andrew D. E. Lewis, eds, Oxford University Press 1999)(with Sanford Levinson). online version

    The Canons of Constitutional Law, 111 Harv. L. Rev. 963 (1998)(with Sanford Levinson). online version

     The "Bad Man," the Good, and the Self-Reliant, 78 B.U. L. Rev. 885 (1998)(with Sanford Levinson). online version

    The Meaning of Constitutional Tragedy, in Constitutional Stupidities/Constitutional Tragedies 121-128 (William N. Eskridge and Sanford Levinson, eds., NYU Press 1998). online version

    The Constitution of Status,106 Yale L. J. 2313 (1997). online version

    Agreements with Hell and Other Objects of Our Faith, 65 Fordham L. Rev. 1703 (1997). online version

    Media Filters, The V-Chip and the Foundations of Broadcast Regulation, 45 Duke L. J. 1133 (1996). online version

    Entitlements as Auctions: Property Rules, Liability Rules, and Beyond, 106 Yale L. J. 703, (1996)(with Ian Ayres).

    A Night in the Topics: The Reason of Legal Rhetoric and the Rhetoric of Legal Reason, in Law's Stories: Narrative and Rhetoric in the Law 211-224 (P. Brooks and P. Gewirth, eds., Yale Univ. Press, 1996). online version

    Deconstruction, in A Companion to the Philosophy of Law and Legal Theory, (D. Patterson, ed., Basil Blackwell, 1996). online version

    Interdisciplinarity as Colonization, 53 Washington and Lee L. Rev. 949 (1996). online version

    How to Win Cites and Influence People, 71 Chicago-Kent L. Rev. 843 (1996)(with Sanford Levinson). online version

    Taking Text and Structure Really Seriously: Constitutional Interpretation and the Crisis of Presidential Elligibilty, 74 Tex. L. Rev.237 (1995)(with Jordan Steiker and Sanford Levinson). online version

    Populism and Progressivism as Constitutional Categories, 104 Yale L. Rev. 1935 (1995). online version

    Ideology as Cultural Software, 16 Cardozo L. Rev. 1221 (1995).

    Constitutional Grammar, 72 Tex. L. Rev. 1771 (1994)(with Sanford Levinson). online version

    Being Just With Deconstruction, 3 Social and Legal Studies 393 (1994). online version

    Transcendental Deconstruction, Transcendent Justice, 92 Mich. L. Rev. 1131 (1994). online version

    Understanding Legal Understanding: The Legal Subject and the Problem of Legal Coherence, 103 Yale L. J. 105 (1993). online version

    Ideological Drift and the Struggle over Meaning, 25 Conn. L. Rev. 869 (1993). online version

    The American System of Censorship and Free Expression, in Patterns of Censorship Around the World 155-72 (I. Peleg, ed., Westview Press, 1993).

    What is a Postmodern Constitutionalism?, 90 Mich. L. Rev. 1966 (1992). online version

    (A) Just Rhetoric?, 55 Mod. L. Rev. 746 (1992).

    Ideology as Constraint, 43 Stan. L. Rev. 1133 (1991). online version

    The Promise of Legal Semiotics, 69 Tex. L. Rev. 1831 (1991). online version

    Law, Music, and Other Performing Arts, 139 U. Pa. L. Rev. 1597 (1991)(with Sanford Levinson). online version

    Ideological Drift, in Action and Agency (1991)(R. Kevelson, ed.).

    Some Realism about Pluralism: Legal Realist Approaches to the First Amendment, 1990 Duke L. J. 375. online version

    Nested Oppositions, 99 Yale L. J. 1669 (1990). online version

    The Rhetoric of Responsibility, 76 Va. L. Rev. 197 (1990).

    Tradition, Betrayal, and the Politics of Deconstruction, 11 Cardozo L. Rev. 1623 (1990). online version

    The Hohfeldian Approach to Law and Semiotics, 44 U. of Miami L. Rev. 1117 (1990); earlier version published as The Hohfeldian Approach to Legal Semiotics, 3 Law and Semiotics 31 (1989). online version

    Turandot's Victory, 2 Yale J. of Law and the Humanities 299 (1990).

    The Domestication of Law and Literature, 14 Law and Social Inquiry 787 (1989).

    The Footnote, 83 Nw. U. L. Rev. 275 (1989). online version

    The Rule of Law as a Source of Constitutional Change, 6 Const. Comm. 21 (1989).

    Constitutional Interpretation and the Problem of History, 63 N.Y.U. L. Rev. 911 (1988). online version

    Too Good To Be True: The Positive Economic Theory of Law, 87 Colum. L. Rev. 1447 (1987).

    Deconstructive Practice and Legal Theory, 96 Yale L. J. 743 (1987). online version

    Federalism and the Conservative Ideology, 19 The Urban Lawyer 459 (1987).

    Taking Ideology Seriously: Ronald Dworkin and the CLS Critique, 55 U.M.K.C. L. Rev. 392 (1987).

    The Crystalline Structure of Legal Thought, 39 Rutgers L. Rev. 1 (1986). online version

    Learning Nothing and Forgetting Nothing: Richard Epstein and the Takings Clause, 18 The Urban Lawyer 707 (1986).

    Ideology and Counter-Ideology from Lochner to Garcia, 54 UMKC L. Rev. 175 (1985).

Online Publications


Other Writings

    Bush and the Fear Factor. First published in the Hartford Courant, Sunday, November 7th, 2004. online version.

    No Blank Check for Bush. First published in the Hartford Courant, Sunday, May 16th, 2004. online version

    The Passionate Intensity of the Confirmation Process, First Published in Jurist, Thursday, April 15th, 2004. online version

    Don't Use Those Words: Fox News Owns Them. First published in the Los Angeles Times, Thursday, August 14, 2003 online version

    A Great Gamble, By a Man Many Don't Trust, Hartford Courant, March 18, 2003. online version

    A Dreadful Act II, Los Angeles Times, February 13, 2003. online version

    A Ruling the G.O.P. Loves to Hate, New York Times, January 25, 2003. online version

    Actions Speak Louder Than Apologies, Hartford Courant, December 17, 2002. online version.

    The Truth About Our Institutions, The Responsive Community, October 2002. online version.

    Is there a Slippery Slope from Single-Sex to Single-Race Education? The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education, Fall 2002. online version.

    The Most Dangerous Person on Earth, Hartford Courant, September 22, 2002. online version.

    In Giving Up Our Rights, We'd Lose the War, New Orleans Times-Picayune, September 11, 2002 online version.

    Who's Next?, Hartford Courant, June 20, 2002 online version.

    Diversity Offers Everyone a Stake, L.A. Times, May 17, 2002. online version.

    History Lesson, Legal Affairs 44-49 (July/August) 2002. online version.

    The Cloning Connundrum, New York Times, January 30, 2002. online version.

    Using Our Fears to Justify a Power Grab, L.A. Times, November 29, 2001. online version.

    Bush's Negative Mandate Narrows His Nominees, L.A. Times, January 12, 2001. online version.

    The Will of the People is a Legal and Political Fiction, L.A. Times, Monday, December 11, 2000. online version.

    The Supreme Court Compromises Its Legitimacy, Boston Globe, December 12, 2000. online version.

    Eyes, Robots (review of Ken Goldberg, ed, The Robot in the Garden: Telerobotics and Telepistemology in the Age of the Internet, New Republic Online, August 28, 2000. online version.

    The Court Defers to a Racist Era, New York Times, May 17, 2000. online version.

    An Implosion of Democracy, Boston Globe, January 17, 1999, at C07. online version.

    Senate: Return Impeachment Articles to Sender, Los Angeles Times, January 6, 1999. online version.

    Book Review of Richard Taruskin, Text and Act: Essays on Music in Performance, Notes 53 (December 1996): 419-23 (with Sanford Levinson).

    Book Review of J.H. Schlegel, American Legal Realism and Empirical Social Science, Law and History Review, 1996. online version

    Give Us Liberty to Give Them Death?, The Washington Monthly 24-25 (October 1995).

    The Constitution as a Box of Chocolates, 12 Const. Comm. 147 (1995). online version

    Book Review of Walker, Hate Speech: The History of an American Controversy, Journal of American History, Oct. 1994. online version

    Book Review of Walker, In Defense of American Liberties: A History of the ACLU, Public Law, Spring 1992, at 176-77.

    Book Note of Arkes, Beyond the Constitution, 102 Ethics 428 (1992).

    Book Review of Shiffrin, The First Amendment, Democracy, and Romance (1991), Journal of American History, Sept. 1991, at 628.

    The Top Ten Reasons to be a Legal Pragmatist, 8 Const. Comm. 351 (1991). online version

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Courses Taught:

updated February 1, 2004

Copyright 1996-2004 by Jack M. Balkin. All rights reserved.