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Mark V. Tushnet (born 1945) is currently the William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. A prominent scholar of constitutional law and legal history, he is the author of many books and articles.



Tushnet received his B.A. from Harvard University and his J.D., as well as an M.A. in history, from Yale University. While serving as a law clerk to Justice Thurgood Marshall, Tushnet is rumored to have authored a memo that dramatically influenced the opinion in Roe v. Wade.[citation needed]

Tushnnet has been a faculty member at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, and he taught for many years at the Georgetown University Law Center.

Work and ideas

One of the more controversial figures in constitutional theory, he is identified with the Critical Legal Studies movement and once stated in an article that, were he asked to decide actual cases as a judge, he would seek to reach results that would "advance the cause of socialism"[1].

Tushnet is a main proponent of the idea that judicial review should be strongly limited and that the Constitution should be returned "to the people."

Tushnet has occasionally described himself as a "quasi-originalist", but has not explained precisely what that means. He is an advocate of "popular constitutionalism," the idea that structural political constraints, not the Supreme Court, are sufficient to protect the rights enumerated in the Constitution.

Professor Tushnet has also established himself as a leading scholar in the emerging field of comparative constitutional law. He is, with Professor Vicki Jackson of Georgetown, the co-author of a casebook entitled "Comparative Constitutional Law" (Foundation Press, 2d ed. 2006).


Tushnet is married to Elizabeth Alexander, who directs the National Prison Project of the American Civil Liberties Union. Their daughter Rebecca Tushnet is a professor of law at Georgetown University Law Center, and their daughter Eve Tushnet is a freelance conservative opinion writer and journalist.


  1. The New Constitutional Order (Prininceton U. Press 2003).
  2. The Oxford Handbook of Legal Studies (Peter Cane & Mark V. Tushnet eds., Oxford U. Press 2003).
  3. Defining the Field of Comparative Constitutional Law (Vicki C. Jackson & Mark Tushnet eds., Praeger 2002).
  4. And L. Michael Seidman et al., Constitutional Law (Little, Brown and Co. 4th ed. 2001).
  5. Et al., Federal Courts in the 21st Century: Cases and Materials (LexisNexis 2001).
  6. Marshall, Thurgood; Tushnet, Mark V. (Editor); and Kennedy, Randall (Forward by). (2001). Thurgood Marshall: His Speeches, Writings, Arguments, Opinions and Reminiscences. Chicago: Chicago Review Press, Incorporated -- Lawrence Hill Books. ISBN 9781556523861.. 
  7. Making Constitutional Law: Thurgood Marshall and the Supreme Court, 1961-1991 (1997).
  8. Brown v. Board of Education: The Battle for Integration (1995).
  9. The Warren Court in Historical and Political Perspective (Mark V. Tushnet ed., 1993).
  10. Making Civil Rights Law: Thurgood Marshall and the Supreme Court, 1956-1961 (1994).
  11. The NAACP's Legal Strategy Against Segregated Education, 1925-1950 (1987).
  12. The American Law of Slavery, 1810-1860: Considerations of Humanity and Interest (1981).
  13. And L. Michael Seidman et al., Constitutional Law (Little, Brown and Co. Supp. 1986, 1988, 1990, 1991, 2d ed. 1991, Supp. 1992, 1995, 1996, 3d ed. 1996, Supp. 1998, 4th ed. 2001).
  14. And Vicki C. Jackson, Comparative Constitutional Law (Foundation Press 1999).
  15. Taking the Constitution Away From the Courts (Princeton University Press 1999), excerpted in Great Cases in Constitutional Law (Robert P. George ed., Princeton University Press, 2000) (reprinting chapter 1 in substance). Symposium of Commentaries on this book: 34 University of Richmond Law Review 359-566 (2000).
  16. And L. Michael Seidman et al., Teacher's Manual to The First Amendment (Aspen Law & Business 1999).
  17. And Francisco Forrest Martin, The Rights International Companion to Constitutional Law: An International Human Rights Law Supplement (Kluwer Law International 1999).
  18. And L. Michael Seidman, Remnants of Belief: Contemporary Constitutional Issues (Oxford University Press 1996).
  19. Constitutional Issues: The Death Penalty (Facts On File, Inc. 1994).
  20. Constitutional Law (International Library of Essays in Law & Legal Theory) (Mark V. Tushnet, ed., New York University Press 1992).
  21. Comparative Constitutional Federalism: Europe and America (Mark V. Tushnet ed., Greenwood Press 1990).
  22. Central America and the Law: The Constitution, Civil Liberties, and the Courts (South End Press 1988).
  23. Red, White, and Blue: A Critical Analysis of Constitutional Law (Harvard University Press 1988).
  24. I Dissent: Great Opposing Opinions in Landmark Supreme Court Cases, Malaysia: Beacon Press, pp. 256, (2008) ISBN 978-080700036-6.</ref>
  25. Out of Range: Why the Constitution Can't End the Battle over Guns (Inalienable Rights).
  26. Tushnet, Mark (2005). A Court Divided: The Rehnquist Court and the Future of Constitutional Law,. New York: W.W. Norton Co.. ISBN 9780393327571; ISBN 978-0-393-05868-0; ISBN 0393058689.. 


  • "This what you call a 'deep-doo-doo' problem -- if you think the Senate will flip a coin to impeach a judge, then you're already in deep doo-doo." (He has also referred to this as the "you're screwed" problem.)


  1. ^ "The Dilemmas of Liberal Constitutionalism," 42 Ohio State Law Journal 411, 424 (1981).

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