Douglas W. Kmiec

Prof. Douglas W. Kmiec

Professor of Constitutional Law, Pepperdine University School of Law

Topics: Religious Liberties • Civil Rights • Federalism & Separation of Powers

One of America's best known scholars and popular commentators on the law, Professor Douglas W. Kmiec holds the endowed chair in constitutional law at Pepperdine Law School. He came to this position after serving several years as dean and St. Thomas More Professor of Law at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., and for nearly two decades, on the law faculty at the University of Notre Dame. As dean at Catholic University, Professor Kmiec did what many said would be impossible; he greatly increased academic quality and student selectivity at the same time he deepened the school's religious commitment. During his tenure, the law school moved into the upper tier of the U.S. News ranking from tier three. At Notre Dame, he was director of Notre Dame's Center on Law & Government, and the founder of its Journal of Law, Ethics & Public Policy. Beyond the university setting, Kmiec served Presidents Ronald Reagan and George Bush during 1985-89 as constitutional legal counsel (Assistant Attorney General, Office of Legal Counsel, U.S. Department of Justice).

A wide-ranging writer and engaging speaker, Professor Kmiec writes a syndicated column for the Catholic News Service, and for several years wrote a regular column in the Chicago Tribune. He is also a frequent contributor to the pages of the Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal, and other periodicals. He is the co-author (with legal historian Stephen Presser of Northwestern) of three books on the Constitution -- The American Constitutional Order; Individual Rights and the American Constitution and The History, Structure and Philosophy of the American Constitution. Another recent book, Cease-Fire on the Family (Crisis Books/Notre Dame) attracted scholarly and popular acclaim for proposing realistic ways for families to "end the culture war" by renewing personal virtue and civic responsibility within itself. He has also written The Attorney General's Lawyer (Praeger 1992), and several respected legal treatises.

Professor Kmiec's scholarly research spans legal and non-legal subjects, from the Constitution and the federal system, to land use and the organization of America society. He is a frequent guest on national news programs, such as Nightline, the Newshour, and NPR's Talk of the Nation, analyzing constitutional questions.

A White House Fellow (1982-83), Professor Kmiec is one of a few individuals who has received the Distinguished Service Award from two cabinet departments —the Department of Justice in 1987 and Housing and Urban Development in 1983. In 1988, he was awarded the Edmund J. Randolph Award by the attorney general. He has lectured on the U.S. Constitution in Asia as a Fulbright Distinguished Scholar.

An honors graduate of Northwestern, Professor Kmiec received his law degree from the University of Southern California, where he served on the Law Review and received the Legion Lex Commencement Prize for Legal Writing. He is a member of the bar of the U.S. Supreme Court and the state bars of Illinois and California.

B.A., with honors, Northwestern University, 1973
J.D., University of Southern California, 1976


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