Michael J. Perry

Robert W. Woodruff
Professor of Law

Curriculum Vitae

Areas of Expertise

Constitutional Law, Law and Religion, Law and Morality, Human Rights


Michael John Perry specializes in three areas: Constitutional Law; Human Rights; and Law and Religion. He is the author of twelve books and over seventy-five articles and essays. The titles of Perry’s books reflect his particular interests: The Constitution, the Courts, and Human Rights (Yale, 1982); Morality, Politics, and Law (Oxford, 1988); Love and Power: The Role of Religion and Morality in American Politics (Oxford, 1991); The Constitution in the Courts: Law or Politics? (Oxford, 1994); Religion in Politics: Constitutional and Moral Perspectives (Oxford, 1997); The Idea of Human Rights: Four Inquiries (Oxford, 1998); We the People: The Fourteenth Amendment and the Supreme Court (Oxford, 1999), Under God? Religious Faith and Liberal Democracy (Cambridge, 2003), Toward a Theory of Human Rights: Religion, Law, Courts (Cambridge, 2007); Constitutional Rights, Moral Controversy, and the Supreme Court (Cambridge, 2009); The Political Morality of Liberal Democracy (Cambridge, 2010); and Human Rights in the Constitutional Law of the United States (Cambridge, 2013).

Since 2003, Perry has held a Robert W. Woodruff University Chair at Emory University, where he teaches in the law school. A Woodruff Chair is the highest honor Emory University bestows on a member of its faculty. Perry is also a Senior Fellow at Emory University’s Center for the Study of Law and Religion.

Before coming to Emory, Perry was the inaugural occupant of the Howard J.Trienens Chair in Law at Northwestern University (1990-97), where he taught for fifteen years (1982-97). He then held the University Distinguished Chair in Law at Wake Forest University (1997-2003). Perry began his teaching career at the Ohio State University College of Law (1975-82) and has taught as a visiting professor at several law schools: Yale (1978-79), Tulane (spring semester, 1987), New York Law School (spring semester, 1990), the University of Tokyo (fall semester, 1991), the University of Alabama (fall semester, 2005), the University of Western Ontario, Canada (January Term, 2009), and the University of Dayton (intrasession course, March 2011). For three consecutive fall semesters (2009, 2010, 2011), Perry was the University Distinguished Visiting Professor in Law and Peace Studies at the University of San Diego, where he taught an introductory course on international human rights both to law students and to graduate students at the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies.

Perry, who was born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky, received his A.B. from Georgetown University (1968) and his J.D. from Columbia University (1973). He served as law clerk, in 1973-74, to U.S. District Judge Jack B. Weinstein and, in 1974-75, to U.S. Circuit Judge Shirley M. Hufstedler (1974-75). In 1999, Perry was awarded an LL.D. (honoris causa) by St. John’s University, Collegeville, Minnesota.

Perry is married to Sarah Anne O’Leary, a public health specialist with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta. They have two sons: Daniel (b. 1989) and Gabriel (b. 1991).

Human Rights in the Constitutional Law of the United States
Cambridge University Press 2013

Protecting Constitutionally Entrenched Human Rights: What Role Should the Supreme Court Play? (with Special Reference to Capital Punishment, Abortion and Same-Sex Unions)
Emory Public Law Research Paper No. 06-9 2006

Why the Federal Marriage Amendment is Not Only Not Necessary, But a Bad Idea: A Response to Christopher Wolfe
42 San Diego L. Rev. 925 2005

Morality of Human Rights: A Nonreligious Ground, The
54 Emory L.J. 97 2005

The Morality of Human Rights: A Nonreligious Ground?
Emory Law Journal, Vol. 54, pp. 97-150 2005

Capital Punishment and the Morality of Human Rights
Journal of Catholic Legal Studies 2005

Why Religion in Politics Does Not Violate La Conception Americaine De La Laicite
Emory Public Law Research Paper No. 05-1 2005

Why the Federal Marriage Amendment is not Only not Necessary, but a Bad Idea
Emory Public Law Research Paper No. 05-30, San Diego Law Review, Vol. 42, pp. 925-34 2005

A Right to Religious Freedom? The Universality of Human Rights, the Relativity of Culture
Emory Public Law Research Paper No. 05-11, Roger Williams University Law Review, Vol. 10, p. 349 2005

What do the Free Exercise and Nonestablishment Norms Forbid? Reflections on the Constitutional Law of Religious Freedom
University of St. Thomas Law Journal, Forthcoming 2004

Protecting Human Rights in a Democracy: What Role for the Courts
38 Wake Forest L. Rev. 635 2003

Protecting Human Rights in a Democracy: What Role for the Courts?
Wake Forest Law Review, Vol. 38 2003

Under God? Religious Faith and Liberal Democracy
Michael J. Perry, UNDER GOD? RELIGIOUS FAITH AND LIBERAL DEMOCRACY, Cambridge University Press 2003

Religion, Politics, and Abortion
79 U. Det. Mercy L. Rev. 1 2002

What Does the Establishment Clause Forbid? Reflections on the Constitutionality of School Vouchers
SCHOOL CHOICE: THE MORAL DEBATE, Alan Wolfe, ed., Princeton University Press, Forthcoming 2002

Christians, the Bible, and Same-Sex Unions: An Argument for Political Self-Restraint
36 Wake Forest L. Rev. 449 2001

Catholics, the Magisterium, and Moral Controversy: An Argument for Independent Judgement (with Particular Reference to Catholic Law Schools)
26 U. Dayton L. Rev. 293 2001

Why Political Reliance on Religiously Grounded Morality Does Not Violate the Establishment Clause
42 Wm. & Mary L. Rev. 663 2001

Religion, Politics, and Abortion
University of Detroit Mercy Law Review, Vol. 79 2001

Why Political Reliance on Religiously Grounded Morality is Not Illegitimate in a Liberal Democracy
36 Wake Forest L. Rev. 217 2001

Why Political Reliance on Religiously Grounded Morality Does Not Violate the Establishment Clause
William & Mary Law Review, Vol. 42, pp. 663-683 2001

Freedom of Religion in the United States: Fin de Siecle Sketches
75 Ind. L.J. 295 2000

What Is Morality Anyway
45 Vill. L. Rev. 69 2000

A Few Words of Gratitude
14 J. L. & Religion 161 2000

"What is 'Morality' Anyway?"
Published as the Fall 1999 Villanova University School of Law Giannella Lecture by the Villanova Law Review. 2000

Liberal Democracy and Religious Morality
48 DePaul L. Review 1 1999

Response: The Law Professor as Moral Philosopher
11 Yale J.L. & Human. 415 1999

We the People: The Fourteenth Amendment and the Supreme Court
Oxford University Press, August 1999

Are Human Rights Universal - The Relativist Challenge and Related Matters
19 Hum. Rts. Q. 461 1997

Normative Indeterminacy and the Problem of Judicial Role
19 Harv. J. L. & Pub. Pol'y 375 1996

Religion in Politics
29 U.C. Davis L. Rev. 729 1996

Religious Arguments in Public Political Debate
29 Loy. L. A. L. Rev. 1421 1996

Brown, Bolling, & (and) Orginalism: Why Ackerman and Posner (Among Others) Are Wrong
20 S. Ill. U. L. J. 53 1996

Religion, Politics, and the Constitution
7 J. Contem. Legal Issues 407 1996

The Idea of a Catholic University
78 Marq. L. Rev. 325 1995

The Morality of Homosexual Conduct: A Response to John Finnis
9 Notre Dame J.L. Ethics & Pub. Pol'y 41 1995

The Gospel According to Dworkin
11 Const. Comment. 163 1995

Constitution, the Courts, and the Question of Minimalism
88 Nw. U. L. Rev. 84 1994

The Idea of Human Rights and the Matter of Rights-Talk
28 Suffolk U. L. Rev. 587 1994

Religious Morality and Political Choice: Further Thoughts--And Second Thoughts--on Love and Power
30 San Diego L. Rev. 703 1993

Is the Idea of Human Rights Ineliminably Religious
27 U. Rich. L. Rev. 1023 1993

The Argument for Judicial Review - And for the Originalist Approach to Judicial Review (the Ben J. Altheimer Lecture)
14 UALR L. J. 613 1992

Constitutional Indeterminacy: Judicial Specification and Moral Justification
55 Alb. L. Rev. 561 1992

Toward an Ecumenical Politics
20 Cap. U. L. Rev. 1 1991

The Legitimacy of Particular Conceptions of Constitutional Interpretation
77 Va. L. Rev. 669 1991

Constitutional Judgment as Moral Judgment: A Brief Comment
61 U. Colo. L. Rev. 803 1990

Why Constitutional Theory Matters to Constitutional Practice and Vice Versa
6 Const. Comment. 231 1989

Brief Comment
63 Tul. L. Rev. 1673 1989

Conscientious Disobedience
11 Hamline L. Rev. 1 1988

81 Nw. U. L. Rev. 589 1987

Interpreting the Constitution
1987 BYU L. Rev. 1157 1987

A Critique of the Liberal Political-Philosophical Project
28 Wm. & Mary L. Rev. 205 1987

Moral Knowledge, Moral Reasoning, Moral Relativism: A Naturalist Perspective
20 Ga. L. Rev. 995 1986

Comment on the Limits of Rationality and the Place of Religious Conviction: Protecting Animals and the Environment
27 Wm. & Mary L. Rev. 1067 1986

Some Notes on Absolutism Consequentialism and Incommensurability
79 Nw. U. L. Rev. 967 1985

Comment on the Nylon Curtain: America's National Border and the Free Flow of Ideas
26 Wm. & Mary L. Rev. 793 1985

The Authority of Text, Tradition, and Reason: A Theory of Constitutional Interpretation
58 S. Cal. L. Rev. 551 1985

Taking Neither Rights-Talk nor the Critique of Rights Too Seriously
62 Tex. L. Rev. 1405 1984

Judicial Activism
7 Harv. J. L. & Pub. Pol'y 69 1984

Freedom of Expression: An Essay on Theory and Doctrine
78 Nw. U. L. Rev. 1137 1984

Equal Protection, Judicial Activism, and the Intellectual Agenda of Constitutional Theory: Reflections on, and beyond, Plyler v. Doe
44 U. Pitt. L. Rev. 329 1983

The Principle of Equal Protection
32 Hastings L.J. 1133 1981

Interpretivism, Freedom of Expression, and Equal Protection
42 Ohio St. L.J. 261 1981

Noninterpretive Review in Human Rights Cases: A Functional Justification
56 N.Y.U. L. Rev. 278 1981

Why the Supreme Court was Plainly Wrong in the Hyde Amendment Case: A Brief Comment on Harris v. McRae
32 Stan. L. Rev. 1113 1980

Modern Equal Protection: A Conceptualization and Appraisal
79 Colum L. Rev. 1023 1979

The Abortion Funding Cases: A Comment on the Supreme Court's Role in American Government
66 Geo. L. J. 1191 1978

A Brief Comment on Motivation and Impact
15 San Diego L. Rev. 1173 1978

Substantive Due Process Revisited: Reflections on (and beyond) Recent Cases
71 Nw. U. L. Rev. 417 1977

Disproportionate Impact Theory of Racial Discrimination
125 U. Pa. L. Rev. 540 1977

Constitutional Fairness: Notes on Equal Protection and Due Process
63 Va. L. Rev. 383 1977

Abortion, The Public Morals, and the Police Power: The Ethical Function of Substantive Due Process
23 UCLA L. Rev. 689 1976


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Michael J. Perry

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