Tobias Barrington Wolff

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Tobias Barrington Wolff (born 1970) is a professor of law at the University of Pennsylvania Law School where he teaches classes on sexuality and the law, same sex marriage and human rights. He is well known for his legal advocacy on same sex marriage and other LGBT-related issues, and has served as the chief advisor and spokesperson on LGBT issues for Barack Obama throughout his 2007-08 presidential campaign. He is openly gay.[1]


Wolff was educated at Yale University (BA 1992) and Yale Law School (JD 1997),[2] where he wrote for the Yale Law Journal.[3] After clerking for Ninth Circuit Federal Appeals Court judges William A. Norris and Betty Fletcher, Wolff spent two years as an associate at Paul, Weiss before beginning his academic legal career. He has taught at UC Davis, Stanford, and Northwestern Law Schools. He is currently professor of law at the University of Pennsylvania.[4]

In the academic legal profession, he is known for his scholarly work on civil procedure and class action litigation. During the 2008 presidential campaign, he served as advisor to the Obama campaign on LGBT issues.[4] Wolff has authored a number of briefs submitted to state supreme courts in same-sex marriage suits, including those in Hawaii, Alaska, Iowa, and California.

At the White House LGBT Pride event in June 2014, President Obama publicly recognized Professor Wolff as a key authority on civil rights and LGBT equality, saying that Wolff has “been advising me since my first presidential campaign and has had a great impact on my administration and how we’ve thought about a bunch of issues.”[5]

Wolff is the youngest son of the philosopher Robert Paul Wolff.


  • Wolff, Tobias B. (2008). "Federal Jurisdiction and Due Process in the Era of the Nationwide Class Action". University of Pennsylvania Law Review 156: 2035. 
  • Wolff, Tobias B. (2005). "Preclusion in Class Action Litigation". Columbia Law Review 105: 717. 
  • Wolff, Tobias B. (2004). "Political Representation and Accountability Under Don’t Ask Don’t Tell". Iowa Law Review 89: 1633. 
  • Silberman, Linda; Allen Stein & Tobias Wolff (2009). Civil Procedure: Theory and Practice (3rd ed.). Aspen. 


  1. ^ Kavanaugh, Colin (23 October 2008), "From health care to tech, profs advise Obama", The Daily Pennsylvanian, retrieved 18 March 2010 
  2. ^ "NYU Law - Faculty, Tobias Barrington Wolff: Overview", New York University School of Law, retrieved 18 March 2010 
  3. ^ Wolff, Tobias Barrington (October 1996), "Principled Silence", Yale Law Journal 106 (1), retrieved 18 March 2010 
  4. ^ a b Vernon Rosario, 'When Liberty is the Price of Homophobia', in The Gay & Lesbian Review Worldwide, Jan-Feb 2010, p. 39
  5. ^ Obama, Barack. "Remarks by the President at Pride Month Celebration". The White House. Office of the Press Secretary. Retrieved 20 August 2014. 

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