The Constitution is a source of both stability and conflict in American society. Understanding the myriad ways it is interpreted, debated, and implemented is essential for lawyers, who are entrusted to safeguard democratic institutions, civil rights, and the application of justice.
How does the U.S. Constitution evolve to respond to the realities of modern society while respecting legal precedents and honoring the framers’ intent?
Columbia Law School is home to an ideologically diverse group of influential constitutional scholars. They lead national conversations about the role and legitimacy of the administrative state; the overlapping and conflicting authority among federal, state, and local governments; and public policy solutions for issues such as antitrust violations, privacy and cybersecurity, religious freedom, and LGBTQ rights. Under the guidance of these faculty members, students develop a thorough understanding of constitutional history and theory, the role of the judiciary as the guardian of rights under the Constitution and civil rights acts, and comparative constitutional law.
Study the legislative process, statutory interpretation, and the structure and constitutional position of administrative agencies.
Learn from some two dozen professors who have clerked on the U.S. Supreme Court.
Gain hands-on experience in clinics and externships with federal judges and prosecutors.
Collaborate with professors and research centers on legal scholarship, advocacy efforts, and amicus briefs that influence the opinions of appeals court judges, including Supreme Court justices.
Engage in discussions and debates convened by the Law School’s Center for Constitutional Governance.
Participate in programs at Columbia University’s Knight First Amendment Institute whose mission is to defend the freedoms of speech and the press in the digital age through strategic litigation, research, and public education.
Law Facts: Columbia Law alumni who have defended and interpreted the Constitution as public servants in the upper echelons of government include Ruth Bader Ginsburg ’59, U.S. Supreme Court justice; Eric H. Holder Jr. ’76, attorney general of the United States; Donald B. Verrilli Jr. ’83, solicitor general of the United States; and Jeh Johnson ’82, secretary of Homeland Security.