|Born||Laurence Henry Tribe
October 10, 1941
|Institutions||Harvard Law School|
|Alma mater||Harvard University|
|Notable students||President Barack Obama
Chief Justice John Roberts
|Spouse||Carolyn Ricarda Kreye (1964-present; 2 children)|
Laurence Henry Tribe (born October 10, 1941) is a professor of constitutional law at Harvard Law School and the Carl M. Loeb University Professor at Harvard University. He also works with the firm Massey & Gail LLP on a variety of matters.
Tribe is widely recognized as a leading liberal scholar of constitutional law. He is the author of American Constitutional Law (1978), a treatise in that field, and has argued before the United States Supreme Court 36 times.
Early life and education
Tribe was born in Shanghai, China, the son of Paulina (née Diatlovitsky) and George Israel Tribe. His parents were Ashkenazi Jews. His father was from Poland and his mother was born in Harbin, to a family of immigrants from Eastern Europe. He was raised in the French Quarter of Shanghai. He attended Abraham Lincoln High School in San Francisco, California. He holds an A.B. in mathematics, summa cum laude from Harvard College (1962), and a J.D., magna cum laude from Harvard Law School (1966), where he was a member of the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau. Tribe won the intercollegiate National Debate Tournament in 1961 and coached the Harvard debating team to another national championship in 1969.
Tribe served as a law clerk to Mathew Tobriner on the California Supreme Court from 1966–67 and as a law clerk to Potter Stewart of the U.S. Supreme Court from 1967–68. He joined the Harvard Law School faculty as an assistant professor in 1968, receiving tenure in 1972. Among his distinguished law students and research assistants while on the faculty at Harvard have been Barack Obama (a research assistant for two years), Chief Justice John Roberts (as a law student in his classes), and Elena Kagan (as a research assistant).
The Supreme Court ruled against Tribe's client in Bowers v. Hardwick in 1986 and held that a Georgia state law criminalizing sodomy, as applied to consensual acts between persons of the same sex, did not violate fundamental liberties under the principle of substantive due process. However, in 2003 the Supreme Court overruled Bowers in Lawrence v. Texas, a case for which Tribe wrote the ACLU's amicus curiae brief supporting Lawrence, who was represented by Lambda Legal.
In 2004, Tribe admitted he had failed to attribute several specific phrases and a sentence in his 1985 book, God Save this Honorable Court, to a 1974 book by Henry Abraham. After an investigation, Tribe was reprimanded by Harvard for "a significant lapse in proper academic practice" but concluded that Tribe's error was unintentional.
Tribe represented General Electric in its defense against its liability under Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act ("Superfund"), in which GE and Tribe unsuccessfully argued that the act unconstitutionally violated General Electric's due process rights.
On May 22, 2013, he was presented with an honorary doctorate, Doctor of Letters, from Columbia University during the Class of 2013 commencment.
Tribe is noted for his extensive support of liberal legal causes. He is one of the co-founders of the liberal American Constitution Society, the law and policy organization formed to counter the conservative Federalist Society, and is one of a number of scholars at Harvard Law School who have expressed their support for animal rights. Tribe argued one case for Al Gore during the disputed 2000 U.S. presidential election.
Alongside Harvard's Cass Sunstein, Tribe served as a judicial adviser to the Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign. In February 2010, he was named "Senior Counselor for Access to Justice" in the Department of Justice. He resigned eight months later, citing health reasons.
The following a list of the cases Tribe has argued in the U.S. Supreme Court, complete as of the end of 2005:
Tribe has argued 26 cases in the U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeals:
|Worldwide Church of God v. California||623 F.2d 613||9th Cir.||1980||loss|
|Grendel's Den v. Goodwin||662 F.2d 102||1st Cir.||1981||win|
|Pacific Legal Foundation v. State Energy Resources||659 F.2d 903||9th Cir.||1981||win|
|United States v. Sun Myung Moon||718 F.2d 1210||2d Cir.||1983||loss|
|Romany v. Colegio de Abogados||742 F.2d 32||1st Cir.||1984||win|
|Westmoreland v. CBS||752 F.2d 16||2d Cir.||1984||loss|
|Colombrito v. Kelly||764 F.2d 122||2d Cir.||1985||win|
|Texaco v. Pennzoil||784 F.2d 1133||2d Cir.||1986||loss|
|U.S. v. Bank of New England||821 F.2d 844||1st Cir.||1987||loss|
|U.S. v. Gallo||859 F.2d 1078||2d Cir.||1988||loss|
|U.S. v. GAF Corporation||884 F.2d 670||2d Cir.||1989||loss|
|U.S. v. Western Electric Company||900 F.2d 283||D.C. Cir.||1999||win|
|Fineman v. Armstrong World Industries||980 F.2d 171||D.C. Cir.||1992||draw|
|U.S. v. Western Electric Company||993 F.2d 1572||D.C. Cir.||1993||win|
|Lightning Lube v. Witco Corporation||4 F.3d 1153||3d Cir.||1993||draw|
|Hopkins v. Dow Corning Corporation||33 F.3d 1116||9th Cir.||1994||win|
|Chesapeake and Potomac Telephone v. U.S.||42 F.3d 181||4th Cir.||1994||win|
|Georgine v. Amchem Products, Inc.||83 F.3d 610||3d Cir.||1996||win|
|BellSouth Corp. v. F.C.C.||144 F.3d 58||D.C. Cir.||1998||loss|
|SBC Communications v. F.C.C.||154 F.3d 226||5th Cir.||1998||loss|
|City of Dallas v. F.C.C.||F.3d 341||5th Cir.||1999||draw|
|U.S. West v. Tristani||PDF (90.5 KB)||10th Cir.||1999||loss|
|U.S. West v. F.C.C.||PDF (220 KB)||10th Cir.||1999||win|
|Southwest Voter Registration v. Shelley||PDF (23.0 KB)||9th Cir.||2003||loss|
|Pacific Gas and Elec. v. California||PDF (144 KB)||9th Cir.||2003||loss|
|General Electric v. E.P.A.||PDF (49.8 KB)||D.C. Cir.||2004||win|
- Uncertain Justice: The Roberts Court and the Constitution (2014)(co-author with Joshua Matz)
- The Invisible Constitution (2008)
- American Constitutional Law (treatise) (1978, 1979, 1988, and 2000)
- On Reading the Constitution (1991) (co-author with Michael Dorf)
- Abortion: The Clash of Absolutes (1990)
- Constitutional Choices (1985)
- God Save This Honorable Court: How the Choice of Supreme Court Justices Shapes Our History (1985)
- The Supreme Court: Trends and Developments (1979, 1980, 1982, 1983)
- When Values Conflict: Essays on Environmental Analysis, Discourse, and Decision (1976) (ed.)
- The American Presidency: Its Constitutional Structure (1974)
- Channeling Technology Through Law (1973)
- Environmental Protection (1971) (co-author with Louis Jaffe)
- Technology: Processes of Assessment and Choice (1969)
- "The Curvature of Constitutional Space: What Lawyers Can Learn From Modern Physics" (1989) 103 Harvard Law Review 1.
- Schoenberg, Shira (November 14, 2007). "Law expert: Obama will preserve Constitution". Concord Monitor.
- Bronner, Ethan (June 28, 2012). "A Re-Examination of Roberts’s Legacy?". New York Times.
- "Laurence H. Tribe". Massey & Gail LLP. Retrieved 2012-04-06.
- Gregory, Vanessa (2010-12-06) Indefensible, The American Prospect
- Johnson, Carrie (February 26, 2010). "Prominent Harvard law professor joins Justice Department". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2012-04-06. "Tribe has served as lead counsel in 35 cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, testified before Congress dozens of times and wrote a major treatise on constitutional law."
- Bhayani, Paras D. (October 18, 2006). "A Humble Start on the Path to Stardom". The Harvard Crimson. Retrieved April 15, 2012.
- Video on YouTube
- Bottum, Joseph (October 4, 2004). "The Big Mahatma". The Weekly Standard. Retrieved May 11, 2010.
- Rimer, Sara (November 24, 2004). "When Plagiarism's Shadow Falls on Admired Scholars". The New York Times. Retrieved May 11, 2010.
- Pope, Justin (April 14, 2005). "Harvard Reprimands Law Professor Over Book". Associated Press. Archived April 20, 2005 at the Wayback Machine[dead link]
- Mayberry J. GE Loses Last Issue in Lengthy Court Case on Superfund Liability. Andrews Publications.
- "'Personhood' Redefined: Animal Rights Strategy Gets at the Essence of Being Human", Association of American Medical Colleges, retrieved April 10, 2011.
- N ancy Waring (Summer 1999). "Congratulations Dean Sullivan". Harvard Law Bulletin. "Sullivan got her first taste of litigation as a 3L, working with Tribe on a U.S. Supreme Court brief in which the two asserted the right of Hare Krishnas to proselytize at the Minnesota State Fair. Recalling the fledgling attorney, Tribe says, 'Her sense of the most persuasive way to cast the issues and her rhetorical command were remarkable for any lawyer, much less a student. It was clear to me that I was dealing with the most extraordinary student I had ever had.'"
- Egelko, Bob (2008-10-20). "Next president will shape Supreme Court". San Francisco Chronicle.
- "Tribe named Senior Counselor for Access to Justice". Harvard Law School. February 26, 2010. Retrieved 26 February 2010.
- "Laurence Tribe to return to Harvard Law School in January". Harvard Law School. November 18, 2010. Retrieved April 15, 2012.
- Leila Schneps and Coralie Colmez, Math on trial. How numbers get used and abused in the courtroom, Basic Books, 2013. ISBN 978-0-465-03292-1. (Second chapter: "Math error number 2: unjustified estimates. The case of Janet Collins: hairstyle probability").