Akhil Amar

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Akhil Amar
Prof. Akhil Reed Amar (cropped).png
Amar in 2011
Akhil Reed Amar

(1958-09-06) September 6, 1958 (age 62)
NationalityUnited States
Academic background
Alma materYale University (BA, JD)
Academic work
DisciplineConstitutional law
Criminal procedure
Federal jurisdiction
Legal history
InstitutionsYale Law School
Columbia Law School
University of Pennsylvania Law School
Notable studentsJohn Yoo
Neal Katyal
Chris Coons
Michael Bennet
Jake Sullivan
Cory Booker
Sarah Cleveland
Cyrus Habib
Josh Hawley

Akhil Reed Amar (born September 6, 1958) is an American legal scholar known for his expertise in constitutional law and criminal procedure. He holds the position of Sterling Professor of Law and Political Science at Yale University.[1] A Legal Affairs poll placed Amar among the top 20 contemporary US legal thinkers.[2]

Life and career[edit]

Amar was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where his parents were medical students from India studying at the University of Michigan. His parents later became U.S. citizens.[3] He graduated from Las Lomas High School in Walnut Creek, California in 1976.[4] His brother, Vikram Amar, is dean of the University of Illinois College of Law.[5]

Amar is a summa cum laude graduate of Yale College (B.A., 1980) and a graduate of the Yale Law School (J.D. 1984), where he was an editor of the Yale Law Journal. Amar clerked for future U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer when Stephen Breyer was still a judge on the First Circuit Court of Appeals.

Amar is the author of numerous publications and books, most recently The Constitution Today: Timeless Lessons for the Issues of our Era. The Supreme Court has cited his work in over forty cases.

In the Winter 1999 edition of the Hofstra Law Review, Amar criticized the Clinton impeachment and stated that it demonstrated how impeachment can be used as a weapon which causes "grave disruption" during elections.[6][7]

Amar was a consultant to the television show The West Wing, on which the character Josh Lyman refers to him in an episode in Season 5.[8]

Amar has repeatedly served as a Visiting Professor of Law at Pepperdine School of Law and at Columbia Law School and was recently a visiting professor at University of Pennsylvania Law School. He has also lectured for One Day University. He was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2007.[9]

In 2008, U.S. presidential candidate Mike Gravel said that he would name Amar to the Supreme Court if elected President.[10]


  • The Constitution and Criminal Procedure: First Principles (1997) ISBN 0-300-06678-3
  • For the People (with A. Hirsch) (1997) ISBN 0-684-87102-5
  • The Bill of Rights: Creation and Reconstruction (1998) ISBN 0-300-07379-8
  • Processes of Constitutional Decisionmaking (ed. with P. Brest, S. Levinson, and J.M. Balkin), (2000) ISBN 0-7355-5062-X
  • America's Constitution: A Biography (2005) ISBN 1-4000-6262-4
  • America's Unwritten Constitution: The Precedents and Principles We Live By (2012) ISBN 978-0-465-02957-0
  • The Bill of Rights Primer: A Citizen's Guidebook to the American Bill of Rights (with L. Adams) (2013) ISBN 978-1-62087-572-8
  • The Law of the Land: A Grand Tour of Our Constitutional Republic (2015) ISBN 978-0-465-06590-5
  • The Constitution Today: Timeless Lessons for the Issues of Our Era (2016) ISBN 978-0-465-09633-6

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Tam, Derek (November 7, 2008). "Amar Earns Sterling Rank". Yale Daily News. Retrieved March 4, 2015.
  2. ^ "Who Are the Top 20 Legal Thinkers in America?". Legal Affairs. Retrieved July 4, 2008.
  3. ^ "Akhil Reed Amar: "America's Unwritten Constitution"". The Diane Rehm Show. Washington, DC. September 13, 2012. National Public Radio. WAMU. Transcript.
  4. ^ "Obama Names Yale Professor to Key Administration Post". India-West. May 20, 2015. Retrieved June 29, 2017.
  5. ^ "Vikram David Amar". University of Illinois College of Law. 2016. Retrieved March 23, 2016.
  6. ^ Akhil Reed Amar. "On Impeaching Presidents". Hofstra Law Review. Retrieved January 27, 2020.
  7. ^ Stahl, Jeremy (January 27, 2020). "Ken Starr Argues There Are Too Many Impeachments These Days". Slate. Retrieved January 27, 2020.
  8. ^ "5.10: The Stormy Present (with Bellamy Young)". The West Wing Weekly. Retrieved 2019-11-16.
  9. ^ "Book of Members, 1780-2010: Chapter A" (PDF). American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Archived (PDF) from the original on May 10, 2011. Retrieved April 17, 2011.
  10. ^ Kaplan, Thomas (February 7, 2008). "Gravel's justice of choice: Amar". Yale Daily News. Archived from the original on October 24, 2008. Retrieved June 29, 2017.

External links[edit]