Areas of Study

Constitutional

Curriculum

The Law School faculty have a vast array of specialties, including traditional First Amendment rights issues (Professor Amy Adler); the role of the judiciary (Professor Barry Friedman); federalism and local government (Professor Roderick Hills Jr.); comparative constitutional law (Professor Sujit Choudhry); and civil rights (Professor Kenji Yoshino).

And then there are two groundbreaking constitutional areas being tackled by NYU Law professors: security in a post-9/11 world and the Law of Democracy.

Security in a post-9/11 world

NYU Law’s Center on Law and Security has led the way on questions about security in a post-9/11 world. The center’s Domestic Security Program examines and recommends national security policy related to constitutional issues, government reform, emergency powers, and the relationship between the public and private sectors in the wake of 9/11. The faculty co-directors of the center include Professors Pildes, Golove, Stephen Holmes, and Samuel Rascoff. 

Law of Democracy

Pildes is also front and center in another cutting-edge area of constitutional law: the Law of Democracy (read the 2008 cover story about the Law of Democracy in the Law School magazine). He and Professor Samuel Issacharoff, the leading authorities on election law, literally created the field, which views politics as a competitive market, a product of choices of institutional design. They have both done significant scholarship in the area and have started the first Law of Democracy course at any top law school. Their course deals with the law that structures democratic politics and the processes of democracy, with a primary focus on constitutional law. Subjects covered include the individual right to vote and participate; structural issues such as campaign finance, redistricting, and the role of associations such as political parties; the tension between majorities and minorities in the design of representative institutions; and the role of courts in overseeing democratic processes.

Arthur Garfield Hays Civil Liberties Programs

Founded in 1958, the Arthur Garfield Hays Civil Liberties Program is the first and principal program of its kind in the United States. The directors and fellows of the program have engaged in extensive research on civil liberties issues, participated in litigation and legislative work in cooperation with the ACLU and other organizations dedicated to individual rights, and undertaken special projects and conferences on topical constitutional issues. Above all, the program has trained almost 250 lawyers for professional service on behalf of the public interest. The program awards fellowships to a small group of third-year students committed to civil liberties and offers them special internships, usually two during the academic year, for civil liberties and other human rights organizations on litigation, legislation, and other legal assignments.