Richard H. Pildes

Richard H. Pildes

Fellow: Awarded 2008
Field of Study: Law

Competition: US & Canada

New York University School of Law

Richard H. Pildes is the Sudler Family Professor of Constitutional Law at New York University School of Law and Co-Director of NYU’s Center on Law and Security. He is one of the nation’s leading scholars, lawyers, and public commentators on voting rights and legal issues concerning the design of democratic processes and institutions. He is a co-author of the casebook The Law of Democracy, which created this field of study in the law schools. He is a co-editor of The Future of the Voting Rights Act, the definitive academic study of how the Voting Rights Act (VRA) should be designed to respond to the issues of today. His academic scholarship is regularly cited in Supreme Court decisions.

That scholarship includes studies of the role of political parties in the functioning of America’s separated-powers system of government; the experience with alternative voting systems (such as cumulative voting); the history of disfranchisement in the United States; the adaptation of the VRA to modern demographic contexts; the role of Congress and the President under the Constitution in areas of national security, war, and foreign affairs; and the role of political competition in the legal regulation of democracy. His work has been translated into Chinese, French, and Spanish, and he has lectured around the world on issues of democracy and the law.

He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; a member of the Social Science Research Council’s National Commission on Election and Voting, an expert, non-partisan body created to provide information on election-related issues; a member of the editorial board of The Election Law Journal; a Carnegie Scholar 2004; an invitee to the Stanford Center for Advanced Research in the Behavioral Sciences; and a fellow in Harvard’s Program on Ethics and the Professions. As a lawyer, he has argued cases in federal courts of appeals in the First, Seventh, and D.C. Circuits, including election-law cases, and been counsel of record in a successful Supreme Court case. As a public commentator, he was nominated for an Emmy Award, as part of an NBC team, for Outstanding Coverage of a Breaking News Story, for coverage of the 2000 Presidential election litigation. He also represented the Chicago Cubs, against Alan Dershowitz representing the Boston Red Sox, in ESPN’s trial of the century, "Whose Curse is Worse: The Chicago Cubs or the Boston Red Sox."

Professor Pildes has been a Visiting Professor Law at Harvard and the University of Chicago Law Schools. He served as a law clerk to Justice Thurgood Marshall, at the United States Supreme Court, and Judge Abner J. Mikva, at the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

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