Richard Primus

Richard Primus

Fellow: Awarded 2008
Field of Study: Constitutional Studies

Competition: US & Canada

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

Richard Primus teaches constitutional law at the University of Michigan. His research focuses on the relationship between history and constitutional law. His book The American Language of Rights (Cambridge, 1999) analyzes the ways in which conceptions of rights in the United States have changed in response to different crises at different times in history, and he is now at work on a book analyzing American constitutional decision making in the years after the Civil War. He has also written about democratic theory, equal protection, federalism, and constitutional interpretation. The students at the University of Michigan Law School have twice awarded Professor Primus the L. Hart Wright Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Primus graduated from Harvard College with an A.B., summa cum laude, in social studies. He then earned a D.Phil. in politics at Oxford, where he was a Rhodes Scholar and the Jowett Senior Scholar at Balliol College. After studying law at Yale, Primus clerked for Judge Guido Calabresi on the United States Court of Appeals and for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg at the Supreme Court. He practiced law at the Washington, D.C., office of Jenner & Block before joining the Michigan faculty in 2001.

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