Outline and Boxes on a Blue Blackground

Constitutional Law, Regulation, and Public Policy

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 development and implementation of legislation and regulation, the role of the judiciary as the guardian of rights under the Constitution and civil rights acts, and comparative perspectives on international constitutional frameworks.

Why Columbia?

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.

Related Faculty

President Lee Bollinger smiles while folding his hands on a desk in front of him.

Lee C. Bollinger

  • President, Columbia University; Seth Low Professor of the University
Professor Harold Edgar

Harold S. Edgar

  • Julius Silver Professor Emeritus of Law, Science and Technology
David Pozen

David Pozen

  • Vice Dean for Intellectual Life and Charles Keller Beekman Professor of Law
Professor Tim Wu

Timothy Wu

  • Julius Silver Professor of Law, Science and Technology

Related Centers and Programs

Center for Constitutional Governance

The Center for Constitutional Governance (CCG) is a nonpartisan legal and policy organization devoted to the study of constitutional structure and authority. CCG invites academics, students, government officials, practitioners, and community members to engage with major constitutional and governance issues of the day, from health care to civil rights, immigration, financial regulation, and national security. 

 

Center for the Advancement of Public Integrity

The Center for the Advancement of Public Integrity (CAPI) improves the capacity of public offices and practitioners to deter, identify, and combat corruption at the municipal level of government. CAPI supports a vibrant community of leaders in the public integrity field, develops tools and resources to help governments and practitioners fight corruption, and promotes research and scholarship on important public integrity issues.

 

Center for Public Research and Leadership

The Center for Public Research and Leadership (CPRL) aims to revitalize public education while filling substantial gaps in professional education. CPRL’s rigorous coursework, skills training, and research and consulting projects prepare graduate students in law, business, and public policy for careers in the education sector. With an eye toward improving outcomes for all children, CPRL utilizes the latest techniques in education, such as organizational design, democratic accountability, team-based problem-solving skills, and socio-emotional learning. Students can also participate in a semster-long intensive around transformational change in public education by enrolling in the Public Education Policy Lab-Seminar and Skills courses. 

 

Related Experiential Learning Opportunities

Close up of the columns of the Supreme Court building with an American flag and the US Capitol in the background

Public Interest/Public Service

No matter what your area of interest, find ways to incorporate public interest and public service into your academic program and career.

Academics Careers

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