Stanford Law School Launches Constitutional Law Center

STANFORD, Calif.–Stanford Law School has announced the launch of the Stanford Constitutional Law Center, headed by former Dean Kathleen M. Sullivan, Stanley Morrison Professor of Law and nationally prominent constitutional scholar, as its inaugural Director. Derek Shaffer, a 2000 graduate of the law school and attorney at Cooper & Kirk, will return to his alma mater, where he graduated at the top of his class, to serve as the Center’s first Executive Director.

The Constitutional Law Center has been established as a nonpartisan venue to explore and improve public understanding of the most pressing constitutional issues, with a particular focus on:

  • the separation and scope of legislative, executive and judicial powers;
  • the structure of constitutional democracy;
  • the freedoms of speech, press, and academic research; and
  • the right of privacy, including the privacy of personal data in a digital world.

Together, Sullivan and Shaffer will carry on the law school’s tradition of constitutional law scholarship and debate through a combination of academic conferences, public lectures, policy research projects, and pro bono litigation efforts. Stanford law students will participate in the work of the Center through a clinical workshop taught by Sullivan and Shaffer.

“Stanford’s excellence in constitutional law dates back half a century and is based on the groundbreaking work of such Stanford Law professors as Gerald Gunther, William Cohen, Thomas Grey, John Hart Ely, and Paul Brest, all of whom have helped to shape public academic debate on leading constitutional issues from executive power to federalism to individual rights,” said Larry Kramer, Richard E. Lang Professor of Law and Dean.

“With the nation facing new challenges in maintaining its age-old civil liberties and checks and balances in the face of terrorism and technological change, there could hardly be a better time to launch the Constitutional Law Center,” said Sullivan. “I am delighted that my former student Derek Shaffer, a rising legal superstar, is returning to the school to help lead this exciting new endeavor.”

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