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Christopher Schmidt

Professor of Law; Co-Director of the Institute on the Supreme Court of the United States

Chicago-Kent College of Law


A member of the Chicago-Kent faculty since 2008, Professor Schmidt teaches in the areas of constitutional law, legal history, comparative constitutional law, and sports law. He has written on a variety of topics, including the historical development of the Fourteenth Amendment, the history of Brown v. Board of Education, the Tea Party as a constitutional movement, how Supreme Court Justices communicate with the American people, and the rise of free agency in Major League Baseball. He has published in leading law reviews and peer-review journals, among them Constitutional Commentary, Cornell Law Review, Law and History Review, Northwestern University Law Review, and UCLA Law Review. His article Divided by Law: The Sit-Ins and the Role of the Courts in the Civil Rights Movement won the 2014 Association of American Law Schools' Scholarly Papers Competition and the 2016 American Society for Legal History Surrency Prize.

Professor Schmidt is the author of two books: The Sit-Ins: Protest and Legal Change in the Civil Rights Era (University of Chicago Press, 2018); and Civil Rights in America: A History (Cambridge University Press, 2021). He is currently working on a new book project, a history of the U.S. Supreme Court and its relationship with the American people over the last century.

Professor Schmidt earned a J.D. from Harvard Law School, a Ph.D. in American studies and an M.A. in history from Harvard University, and a B.A. from Dartmouth College. Professor Schmidt is also a research professor at the American Bar Foundation, where he serves as the editor of Law & Social Inquiry, one of the leading peer-reviewed journals in sociolegal studies.