Edward Whelan

Distinguished Senior Fellow and Antonin Scalia Chair in Constitutional Studies, Ethics and Public Policy Center

Edward Whelan is a Distinguished Senior Fellow of the Ethics and Public Policy Center and holds EPPC’s Antonin Scalia Chair in Constitutional Studies. He is the longest-serving President in EPPC’s history, having held that position from March 2004 through January 2021.

Mr. Whelan directs EPPC’s program on The Constitution, the Courts, and the Culture. His areas of expertise include constitutional law and the judicial confirmation process. As a contributor to National Review Online’s Bench Memos blog, he has been a leading commentator on nominations to the Supreme Court and the lower courts and on issues of constitutional law. He has written essays and op-eds for leading newspapers—including the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and the Washington Post—opinion journals, and academic symposia and law reviews. The National Law Journal has named Mr. Whelan among its “Champions and Visionaries” in the practice of law in D.C.

Mr. Whelan is co-editor of three volumes of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s work: Scalia Speaks: Reflections on Law, Faith, and Life Well Lived  (Crown Forum, 2017), a New York Times bestselling collection of speeches by Justice Scalia; On Faith: Lessons from an American Believer  (Crown Forum, 2019), a collection of Justice Scalia’s writings on faith and religion; and The Essential Scalia: On the Constitution, the Courts, and the Rule of Law  (Crown Forum, 2020), a collection of Justice Scalia’s views on legal issues.

Mr. Whelan, a lawyer and a former law clerk to Justice Scalia, has served in positions of responsibility in all three branches of the federal government. From just before the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, until joining EPPC in 2004, Mr. Whelan was the Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel in the U.S. Department of Justice. In that capacity, he advised the White House Counsel’s Office, the Attorney General and other senior DOJ officials, and departments and agencies throughout the executive branch on difficult and sensitive legal questions. Mr. Whelan previously served on Capitol Hill as General Counsel to the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary. In addition to clerking for Justice Scalia, he was a law clerk to Judge J. Clifford Wallace of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

In 1981 Mr. Whelan graduated with honors from Harvard College and was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa. He received his J.D. magna cum laude in 1985 from Harvard Law School, where he was a member of the Board of Editors of the Harvard Law Review.

For more on Mr. Whelan’s background, see this interview.


A person listed as a contributor has spoken or otherwise participated in Federalist Society events, publications, or multimedia presentations. A person's appearance on this list does not imply any other endorsement or relationship between the person and the Federalist Society. In most cases, the biographical information on a person's "contributor" page is provided directly by the person, and the Federalist Society does not edit or otherwise endorse that information. The Federalist Society takes no position on particular legal or public policy issues. All expressions of opinion by a contributor are those of the contributor.

Click to play: Departmentalism: What is the Executive Role in Interpreting laws?

Departmentalism: What is the Executive Role in Interpreting laws?

2021 Ohio Lawyers Chapters Conference

On May 7, 2021, the Federalist Society's Ohio lawyers chapters hosted the 2021 Ohio Chapters...