Peter Edelman is the Carmack Waterhouse Professor of Law and Public Policy at Georgetown University Law Center, where he teaches constitutional law and poverty law and is faculty director of the Georgetown Center on Poverty and Inequality. On the faculty since 1982, he has also served in all three branches of government. During President Clinton’s first term he was Counselor to HHS Secretary Donna Shalala and then Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation.
Professor Edelman has been Associate Dean of the Law Center, Director of the New York State Division for Youth, and Vice President of the University of Massachusetts. He was a Legislative Assistant to Senator Robert F. Kennedy and was Issues Director for Senator Edward Kennedy’s Presidential campaign in 1980. Earlier, he was a Law Clerk to Supreme Court Justice Arthur J. Goldberg and before that to Judge Henry J. Friendly on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. He also worked in the U.S. Department of Justice as Special Assistant to Assistant Attorney General John Douglas.
Professor Edelman’s most recent book, So Rich So Poor: Why It’s So Hard to End Poverty in America, was published by The New Press in May 2012. He previously wrote Searching for America’s Heart: RFK and the Renewal of Hope, which was published by Houghton-Mifflin in January 2001. He also co-authored Reconnecting Disadvantaged Young Men, which was published by the Urban Institute in 2006, and is the author of many articles on poverty, constitutional law, and issues about children and youth. His article in the Atlantic Monthly, entitled “The Worst Thing Bill Clinton Has Done,” received the Harry Chapin Media Award.
Peter Edelman has chaired and been a board member of many organizations and foundations. He is currently chair of the District of Columbia Access to Justice Commission and the National Center for Youth Law, and formerly board chair of the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy and the Public Welfare Foundation, board president emeritus of the New Israel Fund, and a board member of the Center for Law and Social Policy, the Center for American Progress Action Fund, and a half dozen other nonprofit organizations.
He has been a United States-Japan Leadership Program Fellow, was the J. Skelly Wright Memorial Fellow at Yale Law School, and has received numerous honors and awards for his work. He grew up in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Book Chapters and Collected Works
Selected Contributions to Other Publications
"Connecticut Criminal Justice Advocates Focus On Life After Jail," coverage by WNPR (Conn.), November 19, 2018, quoting Professor Peter Edelman.
"Leaving An Administration," coverage on NPR, September 8, 2018, featuring Professor Peter Edelman.
"Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney to Kick Off University of Richmond Leadership Speaker Series," coverage by the University of Richmond, August 30, 2018, mentioning that Professor Peter Edelman will be featured in a forum event, "How Democracy is Failing America’s Poor," on October 25, 2018.
"Robert Kennedy’s Catholicism was part of his personal life and politics," Catholic Philly, June 11, 2018, quoting Carmack Waterhouse Professor Peter B. Edelman.