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Kent Greenawalt

University Professor

Kent Greenawalt

University Professor

Kent Greenawalt, an authority on constitutional law and legal philosophy, is a graduate of Columbia's School of Law, where he was a Kent Scholar and Editor-in-Chief of the Law Review.  After graduation he clerked for Supreme Court Justice John M. Harlan and was an attorney for the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights in Jackson, Miss., before joining the Columbia faculty in 1965.  From 1966 to 1969, he served on the New York City Bar Association's civil rights committee.  He was Deputy Solicity General in the Department of Justice in 1971-72 and served as chief reporter for the Revision of the Commentary of the Model Penal Code in the 1970s.  In 1991 he was named University Professor, Columbia's highest academic honor and faculty rank, allowing him to cross departmental boundaries and teach in both the law school and department of philosophy.  He was President of the American Society for Political and Legal Philosophy from 1991-93.  He is the author of 13 books on jurisprudence as it relates to church and state, legal interpretation, discrimination, and freedom of speech.

He has been a visiting professor at Princeton University and has been a fellow several times at Clare Hall, Cambridge; All Souls College, University of Oxford; and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

  • LL.B., Columbia University, 1963
  • B. Phil., University of Oxford, 1960
  • B.A., Swarthmore College, 1958
Areas of Expertise
  • Constitutional law and jurisprudence
  • Church and state
  • Freedom of speech
  • Legal interpretation
  • Criminal responsibility
  • Realms of Legal Interpretation, 2018
  • When Free Exercise and Nonestablishment Conflict, 2017
  • Exemptions: Necessary, Justified, or Misguided?, 2016
  • Religion and the Constitution, Vol. 3: Interpreting the Constitution, 2015
  • Statutory and Common Law Interpretation, 2013
  • Does God Belong in Public Schools?, 2005
  • Statutory Interpretation: Twenty Questions, 1999
  • Private Consciences and Public Reasons, 1995
  • Fighting Words, 1995
  • Speech, Crime, and the Uses of Language, 1989
Law and Philosophy
S. Church and State
S. Law and Philosophy
S. Legal Interpretation
S. Legal Theory Workshop