Kermit Roosevelt III

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Kermit Roosevelt III
Kermit RooseveltIII.jpeg
Roosevelt reading at the Nantucket Atheneum
Born (1971-07-14) July 14, 1971 (age 49)
CitizenshipUnited States
Alma materHarvard University
Yale Law School
Years active1998–present[1]
Political partyDemocratic
RelativesSee Roosevelt family

Kermit Roosevelt III (born July 14, 1971) is an American author, lawyer, and legal scholar. He is a law professor at the University of Pennsylvania. He is a great-great-grandson of United States President Theodore Roosevelt and a distant cousin of President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Early life[edit]

Roosevelt was born in Washington, D.C. on July 14, 1971. His father, also named Kermit, is a great-grandson of President Theodore Roosevelt.[2] He graduated from St. Albans School (where he was a Presidential Scholar),[3] Harvard University, and Yale Law School. He was a law clerk for Judge Stephen F. Williams of the D.C. Circuit, and clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Justice David Souter.[4]


Roosevelt worked as a lawyer with Mayer Brown in Chicago from 2000 to 2002 before joining the Penn Law faculty in 2002.[4]

Roosevelt's areas of academic interest include conflicts of law and constitutional law. He has published in the Virginia Law Review, the Michigan Law Review, and the Columbia Law Review, among others, and his articles have been cited twice by the United States Supreme Court and numerous times by state and lower federal courts.[citation needed]

Some of his recent scholarly publications include "Detention and Interrogation in the Post-9/11 World," delivered as the Donahue Lecture at Suffolk University Law School in 2008, "Guantanamo and the Conflict of Laws: Rasul and Beyond" (2005), published in the University of Pennsylvania Law Review, "Constitutional Calcification: How the Law Becomes What the Court Does," University of Virginia Law Review (2005), and "Resolving Renvoi: the Bewitchment of Our Intelligence by Means of Language," Notre Dame Law Review (2005).[5]

Roosevelt has also written two novels, both of which dramatize legal settings.

Roosevelt is an internationally recognized[by whom?] expert on constitutional law, the Supreme Court, national security and civil liberties, US Presidential history, and Japanese American internment. He is a frequent contributor to national and international media outlets, including Time, The New York Times, the Huffington Post, and Newsmax.[citation needed] His TEDx talk (June, 2016) is entitled "Myth America: The Declaration, the Constitution, and Us."[6]


In December, 2015, Kermit Roosevelt was a keynote speaker at The Commonwealth Club in San Francisco, California. Karen Korematsu, daughter of Fred Korematsu and director of The Korematsu Institute, attended the event. In May, 2016, Roosevelt and Karen Korematsu were featured speakers at the National Constitution Center for a program entitled, "Civil Liberties in Times of Crisis." Jess Bravin, the Supreme Court correspondent for The Wall Street Journal, served as moderator. It is the first time a member of the Roosevelt family and a member of the Korematsu family appeared in a public forum.[7]

In January, 2015, the Japan Society hosted an event featuring Kermit Roosevelt and actor/activist George Takei, who was five years old when he and his family were forced into an internment camp.[8] Takei called Roosevelt's book Allegiance, "A rip-roaring good read."

Roosevelt is a Distinguished Research Fellow of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania[9] and a member of the American Law Institute.[10] In November 2014, the American Law Institute announced that Roosevelt had been selected as the Reporter for the Third Restatement of Conflict of Laws.[11] Roosevelt is also a lecturer for Kaplan Bar Review. He prepares students in all 50 states for the Constitutional Law portion of the bar exam.[12]

Reception of novels[edit]

Roosevelt's first novel, In the Shadow of the Law, had generally positive reviews. Alan Dershowitz, writing in the New York Times, said that although the book

suffers from the showoffy-ness of an aspiring artiste strutting his stuff … yet I recommend this book with real enthusiasm. Why? Precisely because it doesn't glamorize its subject. Roosevelt's gritty portrayal of the transformation of bright-eyed and colorful young associates into dim-eyed and gray middle-aged partners (no one seems to make it to his or her golden years) rings true of all too many corporate law factories.[13]

The novel was a Christian Science Monitor Best Book of the Year.[14] In 2006, Paramount filmed a pilot episode (written by Carol Mendelsohn) for a TV series based on the novel, starring Joshua Jackson, Frank Langella, Kevin Pollak, Monet Mazur, and Alan Tudyk.[15][better source needed]

His second novel, Allegiance, published in 2015, was a Harper Lee Prize finalist. It received favorable reviews in The Wall Street Journal ("well worth reading") and The Richmond Times-Dispatch ("splendid, troubling, and authoritative") and a starred review from Publishers Weekly.[16][17][18] Based on actual events, the story examines U.S. national security policies during World War II, focusing on President Franklin D. Roosevelt's executive order 9066, which authorized the internment of Japanese Americans. Roosevelt studied court documents and personal diaries of key political figures, including Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black, J. Edgar Hoover, Felix Frankfurter, and Francis Biddle, to accurately portray the circumstances and motivations behind the decisions that led to the internment.[19] Allegiance recaptures the legal debates within the US government, including the Supreme Court cases Hirabayashi v. United States and Korematsu v. United States, and explores the moral issues surrounding U.S. national security policies.



  • Kermit Roosevelt III (2006). The Myth of Judicial Activism: Making Sense of Supreme Court Decisions. Yale University Press. ISBN 0-300-11468-0.[20]
  • Kermit Roosevelt III (2010). Conflict of Laws. Foundation Press/Thomson Reuters. ISBN 978-1-59941-788-2.



  1. ^ "5 Questions for Kermit Roosevelt III (Law Professor and Britannica Contributor) on Judicial Activism and the Supreme Court | Britannica Blog".
  2. ^ "Teddy Roosevelt's great-great-grandson talks documentary, family". Philadelphia Business Journal. Retrieved March 28, 2017.
  3. ^ Presidential Scholars. Charles Elder. The Washington Post. DISTRICT WEEKLY; PAGE J3; PEOPLE. June 1, 1989.
  4. ^ a b "Politics skews perception on judicial rulings: author". STEPHANIE POTTER. Chicago Daily Law Bulletin Pg. 10001. January 23, 2007.
  5. ^ "Volume 80, Issue 5". Notre Dame Law Review. Archived from the original on December 7, 2011. Retrieved June 15, 2012.
  6. ^ TEDx Talks (August 30, 2016), Myth America: The Declaration, The Constitution, and Us | Kermit Roosevelt | TEDxBerkshires, retrieved March 28, 2017
  7. ^ "Civil Liberties in Times of Crisis: Japanese-American Internment and America Today - National Constitution Center". National Constitution Center – Archived from the original on February 23, 2017. Retrieved March 28, 2017.
  8. ^ "Event Detail". Retrieved March 28, 2017.
  9. ^ "The Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania – Distinguished Research Fellows". The Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania. Retrieved March 28, 2017.
  10. ^ Institute, The American Law. "Members | American Law Institute". American Law Institute. Retrieved March 28, 2017.
  11. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on January 5, 2015. Retrieved January 5, 2015.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  12. ^ KaplanBarReview (January 2, 2013), Constitutional Law - Excerpt of lecture by Professor Kermit Roosevelt, retrieved March 28, 2017
  13. ^ Dershowitz, Alan M. (June 12, 2005). "'In the Shadow of the Law': Their Finest Billable Hour". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved March 28, 2017.
  14. ^ Kehe, Marjorie (November 29, 2005). "Best Fiction 2005". Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved August 19, 2020.
  15. ^ "Capitol Law", Internet Movie Database, January 1, 2000, retrieved March 28, 2017
  16. ^ Lat, David (August 21, 2015). "War Powers". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved March 28, 2017.
  17. ^ Strafford, Jay. "Book review (Fiction): 'Allegiance'". Richmond Times-Dispatch. Retrieved March 28, 2017.
  18. ^ "Fiction Book Review: Allegiance by Kermit Roosevelt". Retrieved March 28, 2017.
  19. ^ "Book review: Allegiance - to rules or justice? - SCOTUSblog". SCOTUSblog. September 29, 2015. Retrieved March 28, 2017.
  20. ^ Reviews of The Myth of Judicial Activism :
  21. ^ Reviews of In the Shadow of the Law:
  22. ^ Reviews of Allegiance:

External links[edit]