Lawrence B. Solum

Carmack Waterhouse Professor of Law

B.A., University of California at Los Angeles; J.D., Harvard

Areas of Expertise:

Constitutional Law, Jurisprudence and Philosophy

Lawrence B. Solum is an internationally recognized legal theorist, who works in constitutional theory, procedure, and the...

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Lawrence B. Solum is an internationally recognized legal theorist, who works in constitutional theory, procedure, and the philosophy of law.  Professor Solum received his J.D. magna cum laude from Harvard Law School and received his B.A. with highest departmental honors in philosophy from the University of California at Los Angeles. While at Harvard, he served as an Editor of the Harvard Law Review. After graduation, he worked for the law firm of Cravath, Swaine, and Moore in New York, and then clerked for Judge William A. Norris of the United States Court of Appeal for the Ninth Circuit.

 

Professor Solum was the John E. Cribbet Professor of Law and Professor of Philosophy at the University of Illinois.   He was a member of the law faculty of the University of San Diego, where he received the Thornes Prize as Best Teacher. He also taught at Loyola Marymount University and has been a Visiting Professor of Law at Boston University, at the University of Southern California, and, before joining the faculty, at Georgetown Law.

 

Professor Solum served as a White Paper Author for the Committee on Alternative Court Structures of the Commission on the Future of the California Judiciary, and he has also served the Association of American Law Schools (AALS) twice as Chair of the Jurisprudence Section, as Chair of the Section on Constitutional Law, as Chair of the Section on Law and Interpretation, as Chair of the Committee on Scholarship, and as a Member of the Committee to Review Scholarly Papers.

 

Solum is co-author of the monograph "Destruction of Evidence," widely acknowledged by courts and commentators as the leading authority on its subject. His volume on prior adjudication and related doctrines in "Moore's Federal Practice" has been cited by the United States Supreme Court and every circuit court of appeal. He has authored scholarly articles in numerous journals including the American Journal of Jurisprudence, Cornell Law Review, Emory Law Journal, the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, the Harvard Law Review, the North Carolina Law Review, Nomos, the Notre Dame Law Review, Pacific Philosophical Quarterly, Southern California Law Review, Texas Law Review, the University of Chicago Law Review, Virginia Law Review, Washington University Law Review, and the Yale Law Journal.

 

Professor Solum is also the Editor of Legal Theory Blog, an influential weblog that focuses on developments in contemporary normative and positive legal theory. Professor Solum has testified and/or contributed comments to the Judiciary Committee of the United States Senate, the Advisory Committee on the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the California State Assembly, and the California State Senate. He has spoken to the law faculties at Arizona State University, Boston University, Columbia University, Fordham University, Notre Dame, Ohio State University, the University of California at Los Angeles, the University of Minnesota, and the University of Southern California and participated in conferences, symposia, and programs sponsored by Cardozo Law School, Chicago-Kent Law School, DePaul Law School, Harvard Law School, Loyola Marymount University, the University of San Diego, the University of Southern California, Stanford University, and Tulane Law School. He has also delivered addresses to the American Society for Political and Legal Philosophy, the Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association, AMINTAPHIL, the Annual Meeting of the Association of American Law Schools, the Course on Philosophy and Social Science at Inter-University Centre for Postgraduate Studies of Dubrovnik, Croatia, the Midwest Political Science Association, the Philosophy Programme at the University of London, and the World Congress of the International Association for Philosophy of Law and Social Philosophy.

 

Professor Solum contributes to debates in legal theory, including constitutional theory and the intersection of law and political philosophy. Professor Solum's original theory of the fundamental nature and purpose of law, "Virtue Jurisprudence," has been debated and discussed in Asia, Europe, and North America. He also works on problems of law and technology, including Internet governance, copyright policy, and patent law.  His most recent work focuses on constitutional interpretation and construction.

Recent Scholarship

Forthcoming Works and Works in Progress

  • Lawrence B. Solum, Originalism, Hermeneutics, and the Fixation Thesis, in The Nature of Legal Interpretation: What Jurists Can Learn About Legal Interpretation from Linguistics and Philosophy (Brian G. Slocum ed., University of Chicago Press forthcoming).   
  • Lawrence B. Solum, Originalism and the Landscape of Contemporary Constitutional Theory, Problema: anuario de filosofía y teoría del derecho (forthcoming).   
  • Lawrence B. Solum, Originalist Methodology, U. Chi. L. Rev. (forthcoming).   

Contributions to Law Reviews and Other Scholarly Journals

  • Lawrence B. Solum, Republican Constitutionalism, 32 Const. Comment. 175-205 (2017) (reviewing Randy E. Barnett, Our Republican Constitution: Securing the Liberty and Sovereignty of We the People (2016)).    [W]
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All Scholarship 1989 - Present

Forthcoming Works and Works in Progress

  • Lawrence B. Solum & Robert Bone, Civil Procedure: Cases and Context (New York: Aspen Publishers forthcoming).   
  • Lawrence B. Solum, Civil Procedure: Principles and Theory (Oxford: Oxford University Press forthcoming).   
  • Lawrence B. Solum, Originalism, Hermeneutics, and the Fixation Thesis, in The Nature of Legal Interpretation: What Jurists Can Learn About Legal Interpretation from Linguistics and Philosophy (Brian G. Slocum ed., University of Chicago Press forthcoming).   
  • Lawrence B. Solum, Originalism and the Landscape of Contemporary Constitutional Theory, Problema: anuario de filosofía y teoría del derecho (forthcoming).   
  • Lawrence B. Solum, Originalist Methodology, U. Chi. L. Rev. (forthcoming).   
  • Lawrence B. Solum, Republican Constitutionalism, U. Ill. L. Rev. (forthcoming).    [SSRN]

Books

  • Lawrence B. Solum, Michael J. Gerhardt, Stephen M. Griffin & Thomas D. Rowe, Jr., Constitutional Theory: Arguments and Perspectives (New Providence, N.J.: LexisNexis 2013).   
  • Lawrence B. Solum, Jamie S. Gorelick & Stephen Marzen, Destruction of Evidence (New York: Aspen Publishers 1989 & Cumulative Supp. 1989-2012).    [BOOK]
  • Lawrence B. Solum & Robert W. Bennett, Constitutional Originalism: A Debate (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press 2011).    [BOOK]
  • Lawrence B. Solum & Susan Bandes, 18 Moore's Federal Practice (New York: Matthew Bender 3d ed. 1997 & Semiannual Supp. 1998-2009 (with Tom Rowe)).    [BOOK]
  • Virtue Jurisprudence (Lawrence B. Solum & Colin Farrelly eds., New York: Palgrave Macmillan 2008).    [BOOK]

Contributions to Law Reviews and Other Scholarly Journals

  • Lawrence B. Solum, Republican Constitutionalism, 32 Const. Comment. 175-205 (2017) (reviewing Randy E. Barnett, Our Republican Constitution: Securing the Liberty and Sovereignty of We the People (2016)).    [W]
  • Lawrence B. Solum, Intellectual History as Constitutional Theory, 101 Va. L. Rev. 1111-1164 (2015).    [W] [WWW]
  • Lawrence B. Solum, The Fixation Thesis: The Role of Historical Fact in Original Meaning, 91 Notre Dame L. Rev. 1-78 (2015).    [HEIN] [W] [WWW]
  • Lawrence B. Solum, Artificial Meaning, 89 Wash. L. Rev. 69-86 (2014).    [HEIN] [W] [SSRN] [Gtown Law] [WWW]
  • Lawrence B. Solum, The Positive Foundations of Formalism: False Necessity and American Legal Realism, 127 Harv. L. Rev. 2464-2497 (2014) (reviewing Lee Epstein, William M. Landes & Richard A. Posner, The Behavior of Federal Judges: A Theoretical and Empirical Study of Rational Choice (2013)).    [HEIN] [W] [WWW]
  • Lawrence B. Solum, Communicative Content and Legal Content, 89 Notre Dame L. Rev. 479-519 (2013).    [HEIN] [W] [SSRN] [Gtown Law] [WWW]
  • Lawrence B. Solum, Construction and Constraint: Discussion of Living Originalism, 7 Jerusalem Rev. Legal Stud. 17-34 (2013).    [HEIN] [Gtown Law]
  • Lawrence B. Solum, How NFIB v. Sebelius Affects the Constitutional Gestal, 91 Wash. U. L. Rev. 1-58 (2013).    [HEIN] [W] [SSRN] [Gtown Law]
  • Lawrence B. Solum, Originalism and Constitutional Construction, 82 Fordham L. Rev. 453-537 (2013).    [HEIN] [W] [Gtown Law] [WWW]
  • Lawrence B. Solum, Originalism and the Unwritten Constitution, 2013 U. Ill. L. Rev. 1935-1984.    [HEIN] [W] [Gtown Law]
  • Lawrence B. Solum, The Decision To Uphold the Mandate as Tax Represents a Gestalt Shift in Constitutional Law, 3 J.L. (3 The Post) 173-178 (2013).    [HEIN] [W] [WWW]
  • Lawrence B. Solum & Tun-Jen Chiang, The Interpretation-Construction Distinction in Patent Law, 123 Yale L.J. 530-614 (2013).    [W] [SSRN] [Gtown Law] [WWW]
  • Lawrence B. Solum, Faith and Fidelity: Originalism and the Possibility of Constitutional Redemption, 91 Tex. L. Rev. 147-173 (2012) (reviewing Jack M. Balkin, Constitutional Redemption: Political Faith in an Unjust World (2011) & Jack M. Balkin, Living Originalism (2011)).    [HEIN] [W] [Gtown Law] [WWW]
  • Lawrence B. Solum, Legal Theory Lexicon: Legal Theory, Jurisprudence, and the Philosophy of Law, 1 J.L. (1 The Post) 417-422 (2011).    [HEIN] [W] [Gtown Law] [WWW]
  • Lawrence B. Solum, Narrative, Normativity, and Causation, 2010 Mich. St. L. Rev. 597-622.    [HEIN] [W] [SSRN] [Gtown Law]
  • Lawrence B. Solum, Questioning Cultural Commons, 95 Cornell L. Rev. 817-837 (2010).    [HEIN] [W] [SSRN] [Gtown Law] [WWW]
  • Lawrence B. Solum, The Unity of Interpretation, 90 B.U. L. Rev. 551-578 (2010).    [HEIN] [W] [Gtown Law] [WWW]
  • Lawrence B. Solum, The Interpretation-Construction Distinction, 27 Const. Comment. 95-118 (2010).    [HEIN] [W] [SSRN] [Gtown Law]
  • Lawrence B. Solum, District of Columbia v. Heller and Originalism, 103 Nw. U. L. Rev. 923-981 (2009).    [HEIN] [W] [SSRN] [Gtown Law] [WWW]
  • Lawrence B. Solum, Incorporation and Originalist Theory, 18 J. Contemp. Legal Issues 409-446 (2009).    [HEIN] [W] [SSRN] [Gtown Law]
  • Lawrence B. Solum, Constitutional Possibilities, 83 Ind. L.J. 307-337 (2008).    [HEIN] [W] [SSRN] [Gtown Law]
  • Lawrence B. Solum, Originalism and the Natural Born Citizen Clause, 107 Mich. L. Rev. First Impressions 22-30 (2008).    [WWW]
  • Lawrence B. Solum, Originalism and the Natural Born Citizen Clause, 29 Immigr. & Nationality L. Rev. 593-601 (2008).    [HEIN] [SSRN] [Gtown Law]
  • Lawrence B. Solum, Constitutional Texting, 44 San Diego L. Rev. 123-151 (2007).    [HEIN] [W] [SSRN] [Gtown Law]
  • Lawrence B. Solum, Blogging and the Transformation of Legal Scholarship, 84 Wash. U. L. Rev. 1071-1088 (2006).    [HEIN] [W] [SSRN] [Gtown Law] [WWW]
  • Lawrence B. Solum, Download It While It's Hot: Open Access and Legal Scholarship, 10 Lewis & Clark L. Rev. 841-867 (2006).    [HEIN] [W] [SSRN] [Gtown Law]
  • Lawrence B. Solum, Pluralism and Public Legal Reason, 15 Wm. & Mary Bill Rts. J. 7-23 (2006).    [HEIN] [W] [SSRN] [Gtown Law]
  • Lawrence B. Solum, Public Legal Reason, 92 Va. L. Rev. 1449-1501 (2006).    [HEIN] [W] [SSRN] [Gtown Law] [WWW]
  • Lawrence B. Solum, The Supreme Court in Bondage: Constitutional Stare Decisis, Legal Formalism, and the Future of Unenumerated Rights, 9 U. Pa. J. Const. L. 155-208 (2006).    [HEIN] [W] [SSRN] [Gtown Law] [WWW]
  • Lawrence B. Solum & Robert W. Bennett, A Dialogue on Originalism Occasioned by Bennett's Electoral College Reform Ain't Easy, 101 Nw. U. L. Rev. Colloquy 31-44 (2006).    [W] [WWW]
  • Lawrence B. Solum & David S. Law, Judicial Selection, Appointments Gridlock, and the Nuclear Option, 15 J. Contemp. Legal Issues 51-104 (2006).    [HEIN] [W] [SSRN]
  • Lawrence B. Solum, Natural Justice, 51 Am. J. Juris. 65-105 (2006).    [HEIN] [W] [SSRN]
  • Lawrence B. Solum, A Tournament of Virtue, 32 Fla. St. U. L. Rev. 1365-1400 (2005).    [HEIN] [W] [SSRN] [Gtown Law] [WWW]
  • Lawrence B. Solum, Judicial Selection: Ideology Versus Character, 26 Cardozo L. Rev. 659-689 (2005).    [HEIN] [W] [SSRN] [Gtown Law] [WWW]
  • Lawrence B. Solum, The Aretaic Turn in Constitutional Theory, 70 Brook. L. Rev. 475-532 (2004).    [HEIN] [W] [SSRN] [Gtown Law] [WWW]
  • Lawrence B. Solum, The Future of Copyright, 83 Tex. L. Rev. 1137-1172 (2005) (reviewing Lawrence Lessig, Free Culture: How Big Media Uses Technology and the Law to Lock Down Culture and Control Creativity (2004)).    [HEIN] [W] [SSRN] [Gtown Law] [WWW]
  • Lawrence B. Solum & Larry Alexander, Popular? Constitutionalism?, 118 Harv. L. Rev. 1594-1640 (2005) (reviewing Larry D. Kramer, The People Themselves: Popular Constitutionalism and Judicial Review (2004)).    [HEIN] [W] [SSRN]
  • Lawrence B. Solum, Procedural Justice, 78 S. Cal. L. Rev. 181-321 (2004).    [HEIN] [W] [SSRN] [Gtown Law]
  • Lawrence B. Solum & Minn Chung, The Layers Principle: Internet Architecture and the Law, 79 Notre Dame L. Rev. 815-948 (2004).    [HEIN] [W] [SSRN]
  • Lawrence B. Solum, Virtue Jurisprudence: A Virtue-Centred Theory of Judging, 34 Metaphilosophy 178-213 (2003).    [SSRN] [Gtown Law]
  • Lawrence B. Solum & Karl M. Manheim, An Economic Analysis of Domain Name Policy, 25 Hastings Comm. & Ent. L.J. 359-497 (2003).    [HEIN] [W] [SSRN]
  • Lawrence B. Solum (Moderator), Gary L. Bostwick, Clay Calvert, Rex S. Heinke & Neville L. Johnson, The Anthrax Investigation: A Newsgathering and Privacy Panel Discussion, 22 Loy. L.A. Ent. L. Rev. 267-292 (2002).    [HEIN] [W]
  • Lawrence B. Solum, Congress's Power to Promote the Progress of Science: Eldred v. Ashcroft, 36 Loy. L.A. L. Rev. 1-82 (2002).    [HEIN] [W] [SSRN] [Gtown Law] [WWW]
  • Lawrence B. Solum, To Our Children's Children's Children: The Problems of Intergenerational Ethics, 35 Loy. L.A. L. Rev. 163-233 (2001).    [HEIN] [W] [Gtown Law] [WWW]
  • Lawrence B. Solum, Divine Commands and Public Reasons: (A Commentary on Audi), 78 Modern Schoolman 219-228 (2001).   
  • Lawrence B. Solum, The Value of Dissent, 85 Cornell L. Rev. 859-881 (2000) (reviewing Steven H. Shiffrin, Dissent, Injustice, and the Meanings of America (1999)).    [HEIN] [W] [Gtown Law]
  • Lawrence B. Solum, Originalism as Transformative Politics, 63 Tul. L. Rev. 1599-1629 (1989).    [HEIN] [W] [SSRN] [Gtown Law]

Book Chapters and Collected Works

  • Lawrence B. Solum, Law and Virtue, in The Routledge Companion to Virtue Ethics 491-514 (Lorraine Besser-Jones & Michael Slote eds., New York: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group 2015).   
  • Lawrence B. Solum & Linghao Wang, Confucian Virtue Jurisprudence, in Law, Virtue and Justice 105-135 (Amalia Amaya & Ho Hock Lai eds., Oxford: Hart 2013).    [SSRN] [Gtown Law] [BOOK]
  • Lawrence B. Solum, Virtue Jurisprudence: Towards an Aretaic Theory of Law, in Aristotle and the Philosophy of Law: Theory, Practice and Justice 1-31 (Liesbeth Huppes-Cluysenaer & Nuno M.M.S. Coelho eds., Dordrecht, Neth.: Springer 2013).    [BOOK]
  • Lawrence B. Solum, What Is Originalism? The Evolution of Contemporary Originalist Theory, in The Challenge of Originalism: Theories of Constitutional Interpretation 12-41 (Grant Huscroft & Bradley W. Miller eds., New York: Cambridge University Press 2011).    [BOOK]
  • Lawrence B. Solum, Indeterminacy, in A Companion to Philosophy of Law and Legal Theory 479-492 (Dennis Patterson ed., Malden, Mass.: Wiley-Blackwell 2d ed. 2010).    [BOOK]
  • Lawrence B. Solum, The Aretaic Turn in American Philosophy of Law, in On Philosophy in American Law 122-129 (Francis J. Mootz III ed., New York: Cambridge University Press 2009).    [BOOK]
  • Lawrence B. Solum, Models of Internet Governance, in Internet Governance: Infrastructure and Institutions 48-91 (Lee A. Bygrave & Jon Bing eds., New York: Oxford University Press 2009).    [BOOK]
  • Lawrence B. Solum, Natural Justice: An Aretaic Account of the Virtue of Lawfulness, in Virtue Jurisprudence 167-192 (Lawrence B. Solum & Colin Farrelly eds., New York: Palgrave Macmillan 2008).    [BOOK]
  • Lawrence B. Solum, A Virtue-Centered Account of Equity and the Rule of Law, in Virtue Jurisprudence 142-166 (Lawrence B. Solum & Colin Farrelly eds., New York: Palgrave Macmillan 2008).    [BOOK]
  • Lawrence B. Solum, Originalism as Transformative Politics, in Gadamer and Law 109-139 (Francis J. Mootz III ed., Aldershot, U.K: Ashgate 2007).   
  • Lawrence B. Solum, Virtue Jurisprudence: A Virtue-Centered Theory of Judging, in Moral and Epistemic Virtues 163-198 (Michael Brady & Duncan Pritchard eds., Malden, Mass.: Blackwell Publishing 2003).   

Congressional Testimony

  • Nomination of the Honorable Neil M. Gorsuch to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States: Hearing Before the S. Comm. on the Judiciary, 115th Cong., Mar. 20, 2017 (Statement of Lawrence B. Solum) (CIS No.: Pending).   
Recent scholarship

In the News

"Advice to Conscientious Originalists: Rebrand," coverage by Dorf on Law, April 13, 2017, featuring Professors Lawrence Solum and Randy Barnett.

"Larry Solum on “Originalism in Constitutional Time”," a piece by Professor Randy Barnett in The Washington Post, April 8, 2017, commenting on Professor Lawrence Solum's blog.

"Originalism in Constitutional Time," a piece by Professor Lawrence Solum on Legal Theory Blog, April 8, 2017. A commentary by Professor Randy Barnett appeared on The Washington Post, April 8, 2017.

"How Gorsuch's originalist view of the Constitution is good for both parties," coverage in The Tiger, April 3, 2017, featuring Professor Lawrence Solum.

"Key Democrats will filibuster Gorsuch," coverage by CNN Politics, March 23, 2017, listing Professor Lawrence Solum as an expert witness in Judge Gorsuch's confirmation hearing.

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All News

"Advice to Conscientious Originalists: Rebrand," coverage by Dorf on Law, April 13, 2017, featuring Professors Lawrence Solum and Randy Barnett.

"Larry Solum on “Originalism in Constitutional Time”," a piece by Professor Randy Barnett in The Washington Post, April 8, 2017, commenting on Professor Lawrence Solum's blog.

"Originalism in Constitutional Time," a piece by Professor Lawrence Solum on Legal Theory Blog, April 8, 2017. A commentary by Professor Randy Barnett appeared on The Washington Post, April 8, 2017.

"How Gorsuch's originalist view of the Constitution is good for both parties," coverage in The Tiger, April 3, 2017, featuring Professor Lawrence Solum.

"Key Democrats will filibuster Gorsuch," coverage by CNN Politics, March 23, 2017, listing Professor Lawrence Solum as an expert witness in Judge Gorsuch's confirmation hearing.

"Georgetown Law Professor: ‘I Support Judge Gorsuch’s Nomination Because He Is an Originalist’," coverage by Grabian News, March 23, 2017, featuring testimony during Judge Gorsuch's confirmation hearing by Professor Lawrence Solum.

"Dems likely to probe Gorsuch environmental views this week," coverage by E&E Daily, March 20, 2017, mentioning that Professor Neal Katyal will be among professors introducing Judge Neil Gorsuch and that Professor Lawrence B. Solum will be on the fourth panel during the hearing.

"Gorsuch Hearing To Start Monday; Turley To Testify On Thursday," coverage by Jonathan Turley, March 18, 2017, listing Professor Lawrence Solum as a witness for Judge Neil M. Gorsuch's confirmation hearings.

"Neil Gorsuch, Antonin Scalia and originalism, explained," coverage in South Coast Today, February 12, 2017, quoting from a 2011 paper by Professor Lawrence Solum.

"Neil Gorsuch, Antonin Scalia and originalism, explained," coverage in The Washington Post, February 1, 2017, featuring Professor Lawrence B. Solum.

"Study originalism intensively at Georgetown Law this summer," an opinion piece by Professor Randy Barnett, in The Washington Post, January 28, 2016, featuring Professors Laura Donohue and Lawrence Solum.

"Marco Rubio seeks to dismiss court challenge to his eligibility to be president," coverage by Tampa Bay Times, January 14, 2016, quoting Professor Lawrence Solum.

Talk set on the Constitution and originalism,” coverage by the Orange County Register (CA), Oct. 5, 2015, featuring Professor Lawrence B. Solum.

Of birthers and Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio,” coverage in Tampa Bay Times blog, March 24, 2015, quoting Professor Lawrence B. Solum.

"Is Marco Rubio Eligible to Become Vice President?," a Q&A in the Tampa Bay Times, August 13, 2012, featuring Professor Lawrence Solum.

Recent News