William E. Forbath

William E. Forbath

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

Faculty Profile: William E. Forbath

Main Profile Content


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 Anti-Oligarchy Constitution (Harvard, 2018)(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 recent essay in the political theory journal NOMOS which distills many aspects of The Anti-Oligarchy Constitution, Wealth, Commonwealth, and the Constitution of Opportunity. And here is a forthcoming essay, which offers a preview of his work on Jews, law and identity politics a century ago, Constitutionalism, Human Rights and the Genealogy of American Jewish Liberalism: A Comment.

Courses for Fall 2017

View Course History

Professional Activities


October 13-14, 2017

Paper Presentation

 "The Half Life of New Deal Constitutional Political Economy," at Conference on "Understanding Constitutional Change: The State of the Field," Tulane Law School, New Orleans, LA, October 13-14, 2017

Download (PDF)


September 22, 2016


"The Jewish Constitutional Moment: Diaspora and Group Rights in the Making of American Jewishness and Modern Liberalism," Gabry Memorial Lecture, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA, September 22, 2016