Michael Klarman

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Klarman speaking at Harvard Law Class Day 2010

Michael J. Klarman (born 1959) is an American legal historian and scholar of constitutional law.[1] Currently, Klarman is the Kirkland & Ellis Professor at Harvard Law School.[2] Formerly, he was James Monroe Distinguished Professor of Law, Professor of History, and Elizabeth D. and Richard A. Merrill Research Professor at the University of Virginia School of Law.[3]

Early life and education[edit]

Klarman grew up in Baltimore. His father, Herbert E. Klarman, was a public health economist.[4] He is the brother of investor Seth Klarman.[5]

Klarman holds a J.D. from Stanford Law School, a D.Phil. from Oxford University (where he was a Marshall Scholar) and an M.A. and B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania.[6] After his graduation from law school, he clerked for then-Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg when she was on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.[7][8]


Klarman discusses the U.S. Constitution on its 222nd anniversary

Klarman specializes in the constitutional history of race.[9] He contends that the Supreme Court of the United States has historically been hostile to the rights of minorities and has not consistently enforced constitutional protections for them. Klarman argues that civil rights protections arise out of social mores from which the court takes its cue.[1][4]

Klarman has also defended political process theory as a method of constitutional interpretation.[10]



  • McConnell, Michael W. (May 1995). "Originalism and the desegregation decisions". Virginia Law Review. 81 (4): 947–1140. doi:10.2307/1073539. JSTOR 1073539.


  1. ^ a b "Professor Michael Klarman delivers address on the Supreme Court and race at the American Academy of Arts & Sciences". Retrieved 1 July 2012.
  2. ^ http://www.oah.org/activities/lectureship/2009/lecturer.php?id=19
  3. ^ "Michael Klarman | Corcoran Department of History". www.virginia.edu. Archived from the original on 2008-07-24.
  4. ^ a b Klarman, Michael. "A Skeptical View of Constitution Worship". Retrieved 13 May 2011.
  5. ^ "Herbert Klarman, 82, professor, health economist", Baltimore Sun, June 19, 1999.
  6. ^ "WSC | Alumni | News | Message from the Director". www.wsc.edu. Archived from the original on 2010-02-09.
  7. ^ Kevin Zhou (January 24, 2008). "Constitutional Law Professor Klarman Joins HLS". The Harvard Crimson.
  8. ^ "Michael Klarman to join HLS faculty," Harvard Law School press release, January 24, 2008.
  9. ^ Scott, Janny (March 23, 2008). "What Politicians say When They Talk About Race". The New York Times. Retrieved 13 May 2011.
  10. ^ Klarman, Michael J. (May 1991). "The Puzzling Resistance to Political Process Theory". Virginia Law Review. 77 (4): 747–832. doi:10.2307/1073297. JSTOR 1073297.

External links[edit]