Sanford V. Levinson

  • W. St. John Garwood and W. St. John Garwood, Jr. Centennial Chair; Professor of Government


  • JD Stanford
  • PhD Harvard
  • AB Duke University

Areas of Specialty

Sanford Levinson, who holds the W. St. John Garwood and W. St. John Garwood, Jr. Centennial Chair in Law, joined the University of Texas Law School in 1980. Previously a member of the Department of Politics at Princeton University, he is also a Professor in the Department of Government at the University of Texas. Levinson is the author of approximately 400 articles, book reviews, or commentaries in professional and popular journals--and a regular contributor to the popular blog Balkinization. He has also written six books: Constitutional Faith (1988, winner of the Scribes Award, 2d edition 2011); Written in Stone: Public Monuments in Changing Societies (1998); Wrestling With Diversity (2003); Our Undemocratic Constitution: Where the Constitution Goes Wrong (and How We the People Can Correct It)(2006); Framed: America's 51 Constitutions and the Crisis of Governance (2012); and An Argument Open to All: Reading the Federalist in the 21st Century (forthcoming, November 2015). Edited or co-edited books include a leading constitutional law casebook, Processes of Constitutional Decisionmaking (6th ed. 2015, with Paul Brest, Jack Balkin, Akhil Amar, and Reva Siegel); Reading Law and Literature: A Hermeneutic Reader (1988, with Steven Mallioux); Responding to Imperfection: The Theory and Practice of Constitutional Amendment (1995); Constitutional Stupidities, Constitutional Tragedies (1998, with William Eskridge); Legal Canons (2000, with Jack Balkin); The Louisiana Purchase and American Expansion (2005, with Batholomew Sparrow); Torture: A Collection (2004, revised paperback edition, 2006); and The Oxford Handbook on the United States Constitution (with Mark Tushnet and Mark Graber, 2015). He received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Law and Courts Section of the American Political Science Association in 2010.

He has been a visiting faculty member of the Boston University, Georgetown, Harvard, New York University, and Yale law schools in the United States and has taught abroad in programs of law in London; Paris; Jerusalem; Auckland, New Zealand; and Melbourne, Australia. He was a Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton in 1985-86 and a Member of the Ethics in the Professions Program at Harvard in 1991-92. He is also affiliated with the Shalom Hartman Institute of Jewish Philosophy in Jerusalem. A member of the American Law Institute, Levinson was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2001. He is married to Cynthia Y. Levinson, a writer of children's literature, and has two children, Meira, a member of the faculty at the Harvard Graduate School of Education (after teaching in the Atlanta and Boston public school systems), and Rachel, a lawyer with the Brennan Center in Washington, D.C.

Recent Publications

  • The Ten Year War: What if Lincoln Had Not Exited After Four Years?, 51 Tulsa Law Review 313 (2016).
  • Defining Conservatism, The New Rambler (February 3, 2016), (reviewing Shattered Consensus: The Rise and Decline of America’s Postwar Political Order, by James Pierson).
  • Trash Talk at the Supreme Court: Reflections on David Pozen’s Constitutional Good Faith, 129 Harvard Law Review Forum 166 (2016).

Full list of publications…

Recent Activities

  • Co-Organizer


    Conference on Federalism and Its Future

    Co-Organizer, Conference on Federalism and Its Future (with Sanford Levinson and Daniel Rodriguez), February 2011.

Full activities list…