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


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.

In the News

McConnell And Chafetz On Trump's Resistance To Congressional Oversight

featuring Michael McConnellvia Reason
Friday, May 3, 2019

Two notable scholars debate whether there is anything particularly troubling with the way the Trump Administration is refusing to cooperate with Congressional investigations.


Trump Resists Congressional Subpoenas. That’s What Presidents Do.

by Michael McConnellvia The Washington Post
Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Never before have so many congressional committees issued so many subpoenas demanding documents and testimony from so many executive-branch officials, with so little attempt at negotiation or accommodation.

In the News

First Amendment Experts Split On What Julian Assange Indictment Means For Journalists

quoting Michael McConnellvia SF Gate
Thursday, April 11, 2019
Word of the forthcoming indictment of Julian Assange sent shudders through many journalists and their advocates. If the founder of WikiLeaks could be prosecuted for publishing government secrets, what about the New York Times, or The Chronicle?
In the News

Conservative Legal Experts Attack Trump's Push To Dismantle Obamacare In Court

quoting Michael McConnellvia NBC News
Wednesday, April 3, 2019

The Trump administration's decision to support a ruling by a Texas federal judge against Obamacare is drawing surprising criticism from conservatives, who are joining with liberal legal experts in attacking the government's new position.

In the News

The Jurisdictional Problem In The ACA case

quoting Michael McConnellvia The Volokh Conspiracy (Reason)
Monday, April 1, 2019

Today an amicus brief was filed in the Affordable Care Act case in the Fifth Circuit, on behalf of Kevin Walsh, Michael McConnell, and me.

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The Supreme Court And The Cross

by Michael McConnellvia Defining Ideas
Friday, March 1, 2019

Will the Justices jettison the Lemon Test?


Unfair Advantages: How Licenses And Waivers Threaten The Rule Of Law

by Michael McConnellvia PolicyEd
Friday, March 1, 2019

When laws are clearly written and widely understood, people can easily determine whether their actions are lawful or not. However, Congress has been threatening the rule of law through the use of waivers – that allow individual to act contrary to the rules – and through the use of licenses that require individuals to get permission before working. In order to revitalize the rule of law, Congress should return to passing clearly written laws that neither allow some to ignore the rules nor require permission to act in the first place.


How The Rule Of Law Promotes Prosperity

by Michael McConnellvia PolicyEd
Friday, March 1, 2019

The rule of law is another way of saying that laws, as they are written, are applied equally to everyone. If you break a law, it doesn’t matter how powerful, wealthy, or connected you are: you face the consequences. When followed, the rule of law leads to a more just and prosperous society.