Michael McConnell

Senior Fellow
Awards and Honors:
American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Michael W. McConnell is the Richard and Frances Mallery Professor and Director of the Constitutional Law Center at Stanford Law School, and a Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution. From 2002 to the summer of 2009, he served as a Circuit Judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. McConnell has held chaired professorships at the University of Chicago and the University of Utah, and visiting professorships at Harvard and NYU. He has published widely in the fields of constitutional law and theory, especially church and state, equal protection, and the founding. In the past decade, his work has been cited in opinions of the Supreme Court second most often of any legal scholar. He is co-editor of three books: Religion and the Law, Christian Perspectives on Legal Thought, and The Constitution of the United States. McConnell has argued fifteen cases in the Supreme Court. He served as law clerk to Supreme Court Justice William J. Brennan, Jr. and is Of Counsel to the appellate practice of Kirkland & Ellis.

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Recent Commentary

In the News

No Safe Spaces: Free Speech Under Attack

mentioning Michael McConnellvia Independent Institute
Thursday, November 7, 2019

Once upon a time, universities were the ultimate forum of ideas. Today however, college campuses have become the most intolerant places for diverse and even conventional viewpoints. The First Amendment, intellectual freedom, and the very idea of free speech are under attack with threats, bans, and even violence. A growing number of Americans don’t even believe you have the right to speak your mind if what you have to say might offend someone, somewhere. They advocate for campuses to be “safe spaces” in which open debate and discussions are not allowed. This disturbing movement has now been extending beyond colleges and into the wider world. Will we all be silenced for expressing ideas that may not conform with the politically correct? And what can be done to restore constitutional and civil liberties?

Michael McConnell bio photo
In the News

Phoenix: Lunch Discussion With Professor Michael McConnell

mentioning Michael McConnellvia Stanford Law School
Tuesday, September 17, 2019

In celebration of Constitution Day, we hope you join us for lunch with Professor Michael McConnell. An expert in constitutional law and theory, equal protection, and the founding, Professor McConnell serves as Director of the Constitutional Law Center at Stanford Law School and a Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution.


Michael McConnell On Bound By Oath

interview with Michael McConnellvia Bound By Oath
Monday, August 26, 2019

(2:00) Hoover Institution fellow Michael McConnell discusses the Bill of Rights.

Analysis and Commentary

The Supreme Court And The Schools

by Michael McConnellvia Education Next
Monday, August 5, 2019

The Schoolhouse Gate, by University of Chicago law professor Justin Driver, is the first book to provide close descriptions of the Supreme Court’s major cases involving public education across the issues of race, religion, speech, funding, gender, and student discipline.

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Law and Border

by Sharon Driscoll interview with Michael McConnellvia Hoover Digest
Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Can the president declare a national emergency to build his border wall? Stanford law professor and Hoover fellow Michael W. McConnell guides us across uncharted legal terrain.


Michael McConnell On 'Separation Of Church And State': Framers Said Nothing Wrong With Religion In Culture

interview with Michael McConnellvia Fox News
Sunday, June 23, 2019

Hoover Institution fellow Michael McConnell discusses  the separation of church and state and notes that while Congress is prohibited from enacting a state religion, the Constitution says nothing about banishing religion from the public square.


What If 2020 Election Is Disputed?

by Edward Foley, Michael McConnellvia The Hill
Friday, May 24, 2019

Speaker Nancy Pelosi was correct when she recently said that the best way to avoid a disputed election is for the result to be a blowout. But that is a hope, and we need a plan. If the midterm elections are any indication, the number of states with razor thin majorities is increasing. With partisan distrust on the rise, the result could be a constitutional standoff, a loss of democratic legitimacy for the outcome, and even violence stemming from anger. 

Michel McConnell Spring 2019

Michael McConnell: Blank versus Trump—the Spate of Cases Challenging Presidential Policies

with Michael McConnellvia Fellow Talks
Friday, May 17, 2019

Examining the Trump administration’s laws and the cases challenging the president’s policies.


Michael McConnell On The John Batchelor Show

interview with Michael McConnellvia The John Batchelor Show
Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Hoover Institution fellow Michael McConnell discusses his National Review article "William Barr vs. Eric Holder: A Tale of Two Attorneys General."


William Barr Vs. Eric Holder: A Tale Of Two Attorneys General

by Michael McConnellvia The National Review
Friday, May 10, 2019

The differences between the cases are informative.