William E. Forbath

  • Associate Dean for Research
  • Lloyd M. Bentsen Chair in Law


  • JD Yale
  • PhD Yale
  • BA University of Cambridge
  • AB Harvard

Areas of Specialty

Professor Forbath came to Texas in 1997 after more than a decade on the faculties of law and history at UCLA. Among the nation's leading legal and constitutional historians, he is the author of Law and the Shaping of the American Labor Movement (Harvard, 1991), the forthcoming The Constitution of Opportunity (Harvard,2015)(with Joseph Fishkin) and dozens of articles, book chapters, and essays on legal and constitutional history and theory. His scholarly work appears in Yale Law Journal, Harvard Law Review, Stanford Law Review, Law and Social Inquiry, and the Journal of American History; his journalism at Politico.com and in the New York Times, American Prospect and the Nation. His current research concerns social and economic rights in the courts and social movements of the Southern Hemisphere, and Jews, law and identity politics in the Progressive Era. Professor Forbath visited at Columbia Law School in 2001-02 and at Harvard Law School in 2008-09. He is on the Editorial Boards of Law & History, Law & Social Inquiry: Journal of the American Bar Foundation, and other journals, and on the Board of Directors of the American Society for Legal History, Texas Low-Income Housing Information Services, and other public interest organizations.

Here is a sampling of Forbath's recent work on Social and Economic Rights in the American Grain in THE CONSTITUTION IN 2020(Jack M. Balkin & Reva B. Siegel eds.; Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009). Here is an opinion piece he wrote for the Spring 2012 issue of the journal Dissent on Workers' Rights and the Distributive Constitution. And here is a draft of his new work-in-progress on “Jews, Law and Identity Politics”.

Recent Publications

  • Reclaiming Constitutional Political Economy: An Introduction to the Symposium on the Constitution and Economic Inequality [Symposium: The Constitution and Economic Inequality], 94 Texas Law Review 1287 (2016) (with Joseph Fishkin).
  • The Democracy of Opportunity and Constitutional Politics: A Response [Symposium: The Constitution and Economic Inequality], 94 Texas Law Review 1469 (2016) (with Joseph Fishkin).
  • The Great Society and the Constitution of Opportunity, 62 Drake Law Review 1017 (2014) (with Joseph Fishkin).

Full list of publications…