Constitutional Law

10th Circuit Judge Michael McConnell to Step Down, Will Teach at Stanford


A constitutional law scholar has suddenly announced that he plans to step down from his lifetime appointment to the Denver-based 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and return to academia.

Michael McConnell, 53, a constitutional scholar who formerly taught at the University of Chicago and the University of Utah, now plans to join the faculty of Stanford Law School, according to the Tulsa World.

“As you may remember from our prior association, my first love is teaching and scholarship,” writes McConnell in his resignation letter to President Barack Obama.

The two previously worked together on a Harvard Law Review article that McConnell wrote in the 1990s, when he was teaching at Chicago, the newspaper recounts. Obama, then a student at Harvard Law School, edited the article.

McConnell will direct the Constitutional Law Center at Stanford. He previously was a visiting professor there, before he was appointed to the federal bench by President George W. Bush in 2002.

“Michael McConnell is one of the nation’s most accomplished scholars,” says law school Dean Larry Kramer in a Stanford press release. “During the past two decades, he has been the pre-eminent legal scholar writing about the religion clauses of the United States Constitution, not to mention a leading authority on separation of powers, federalism, originalism, and any number of other subjects in constitutional law. We are thrilled and honored to have him join our faculty.”

Additional coverage:

Blog of Legal Times: “Judge Michael McConnell Leaving the Bench”

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