Vikram Amar

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Vikram D. Amar
Born c. 1963 (age 53–54)
Nationality United States
Fields Constitutional Law,
Complex Litigation,
Federal Courts,
Civil Procedure
Institutions University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
University of California, Davis
Alma mater University of California, Berkeley
Yale University

Vikram David Amar (born c. 1963) is an American legal scholar focusing on constitutional law, federal courts, and civil and criminal procedure. In August 2015, he became dean of the University of Illinois College of Law and the Iwan Foundation Professor of Law.[1] He is at present the only person of South Asian descent serving as a dean of a major American law school.

Prior to his arrival at Illinois Law, Amar was professor and senior associate dean for academic affairs at the UC Davis School of Law (King Hall).[2] Before becoming a professor, he clerked for Judge William Albert Norris of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and for Justice Harry Blackmun at the U.S. Supreme Court (where he appears to be the first person of South Asian heritage to have clerked).[3] After serving as a clerk, Amar worked in the Sacramento office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, then began his career in legal academia in 1993 at King Hall. He joined the UC Hastings faculty in 1998, before returning to King Hall in 2007.

Amar received a BA in history from UC Berkeley. In 1988 he earned his J.D. from Yale Law School, serving as an articles editor for the Yale Law Journal.[2]

He writes a biweekly column for[4] Previously, he wrote a regular column for FindLaw's Writ.[5] He also frequently appears on national radio and television programs as a commentator on contemporary legal issues.

Born and raised in Northern California, Amar has two brothers: Akhil Amar is Sterling Professor of Law at Yale Law School, and Arun Amar is a professor of neurosurgery at USC in Los Angeles.


  • Standing Up for Direct Democracy: Who Can Be Empowered to Defend Initiatives in Federal Court?, forthcoming in the 48 U.C. DAVIS L. REV. 473 (2014).
  • Revisiting Grutter and Its Diversity Rationale: A Few Reactions to Professor Blumstein’s Critique, 65 VAND. L. REV. EN BANC 195 (2012).
  • Is Honest the Best (Judicial) Policy in Affirmative Action Cases? Fisher v. University of Texas Gives the Court (Yet) Another Chance to Say Yes, 65 VAND. L. REV. EN BANC 77 (2012).
  • The Voracious First Amendment: Alvarez and Knox in the Context of 2012 and Beyond, 46 LOYOLA LAW REV. 491 (with Alan Brownstein) (Supreme Court Theme Issue).
  • The Case for Reforming Presidential Elections by Sub-Constitutional Means: The Electoral College, the National Popular Vote Compact and Congressional Power, 100 GEORGETOWN L. J. 237 (2011).
  • Reflections on the Doctrinal and Big-Picture Issues Raised by the Constitutional Challenges to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) FLA. INT’L L. REV. (2011) (symposium on Obamacare challenges).
  • A First Amendment Feast, or Perhaps a Smorgasbord, During the 2010 Term, 38 PREVIEW U.S. SUPREME COURT CASES 325-29 (Issue 8) (2011).
  • Reviewing Association Freedom Claims in a Limited Public Forum: An Extension of the Distinction Between Debate-Dampening and Debate-Distorting State Action, 35 HASTINGS CONST. L. Q. 505 (2011) (with Alan Brownstein) (symposium on Christian Legal Society v. Martinez case).
  • Afterthoughts on Snyder v. Phelps, 2011 CARDOZO L. REV. de novo 43 (2011) (with Alan Brownstein) (collection of reactions to Snyder v. Phelps case).
  • The NCAA as Regulator, Litigant and State Actor, 52 B. C. L. REV 415 (2011) (symposium on NCAA at 100).
  • How Senate Confirmation Hearings Should Better Educate Senators and the American Public: The Instructional Necessity of Case-Specific Questioning, 61 HASTINGS L.J. 1407 (2010).
  • Death, Grief and Freedom of Speech: Does the First Amendment Permit Protection Against the Harassment and Commandeering of Funeral Mourners? 2010 CARDOZO 8.
  • L. REV. de novo 368 (2010) (with Alan Brownstein) (theme Issue on Snyder v. Phelps case).
  • The First Amendment in the 2009 Term: It’s All About How You Frame It, 37 PREVIEW U.S. SUPREME COURT CASES 347-351 (Issue 8) (2010).
  • Lessons from California’s Unusual Non-Unitary Executive Branch, 59 EMORY L. J. 469 (2009).
  • When Avoiding Federal Questions Shouldn’t Evade Federal Review, 12 GREEN BAG 2D 381 (2009) (with Alan Brownstein).
  • California Constitutional Conundrums – State Constitutional Quirks Exposed by the Same-Sex Marriage Experience: The 21st Annual Rutgers Lecture in State Constitutional Law, 40 RUTGERS L. J. 741 (2009).
  • Morse, School Speech and Originalism, 42 U.C. DAVIS L. REV. 637 (2009) (symposium on school speech issues).
  • Business and Constitutional Originalism in the Roberts Court, 49 SANTA CLARA L. REV. 979 (2009) (symposium on the Roberts Court).
  • When Does a Plaintiff Have Standing to Challenge Religious Displays on Public Land? 37 PREVIEW U.S. SUPREME COURT CASES 4-10 (Issue 1) (2009) (with Whitney Clark).
  • Direct Democracy and Article II: Additional Thoughts on Initiatives and Presidential Elections, 35 HASTINGS CONST. L. Q. 631 (2008) (symposium on election law).
  • An Enigmatic Court? Examining the Roberts Court as it Begins Year Three: Criminal Justice, 35 PEPPERDINE L. REV. 523 (2008) (symposium on the Roberts Court at three years).
  • Are Statutes Constraining Gubernatorial Power to Make Temporary Appointments to the United States Senate Constitutional Under the Seventeenth Amendment? 35 HASTINGS CONST. L. Q. 737 (2008).
  • Does the Military Commissions Act of 2006 Violate the Suspension Clause? 2007 PREVIEW U.S. SUP. CT. CAS. ISSUE 3 (2007) (with Whitney Clark).
  • The Constitution and the Courts, 2006 PREVIEW U.S. SUP. CT. CAS. ISSUE 8 (2007).
  • Academic Freedom, 9 GREEN BAG 2d 1 (2005) (with Alan Brownstein).
  • Reclaiming the Centrality of the Jury in Sentencing Guidelines Regimes, 52 S. TEX. L. REV. 291 (2005) (symposium on juries).
  • Must Parental Notification Laws Contain a Health Exception? 2005 PREVIEW U.S. SUP. CT. CAS. ISSUE 2 (Nov. 2005) (with Kelly O’Donnell).
  • May the Attorney General Sanction Physicians Who Comply with Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act? 2005 PREVIEW U.S. SUP. CT. CAS. ISSUE 1 (2005) (with Kelly O’Donnell).
  • Why the Case in Favor of a Federal Constitutional Amendment to Prohibit or Regulate Gay Marriage is ‘Not Proved,’ 31 HASTINGS CONST. L. Q. 350 (2005) (with Alan Brownstein) (symposium on gay marriage).
  • Bias and the Problem of Peremptory Challenges, 5 INSIGHTS ON LAW AND SOCIETY 16 (2005).
  • The ‘Converse Section 1983 Law’: An Idea Whose Time is Now, 69 BROOK. L. REV. 1369 (2004) (symposium on federalism).
  • How Much Protection Do Injunctions Against Enforcement of Allegedly Unconstitutional Statutes Provide?, 31 FORDHAM URB. L. J. 657 (2004) (invited essay).
  • Case At a Glance: Wine Importation and the Constitution, 2004 PREVIEW U.S. SUP. CT. CAS. ISSUE 3 (2004) (with William Trachman).
  • Case At a Glance: The Meaning of Blakely in Booker and Fanfan, 2004 PREVIEW U.S. SUP. CT. CAS. ISSUE 2 (2004).
  • Case At a Glance: Rasul and Al Odah, 2003 PREVIEW U.S. SUP. CT. CAS. ISSUE 7 (2004).
  • Making Sense of the Michigan Affirmative Action Cases, 4 INSIGHTS ON LAW AND SOCIETY 11 (2003).
  • Adventures in Direct Democracy: Constitutional Lessons from the California Recall Experience, 92 CAL. L. REV. 927 (2004).
  • The Cheney Decision: A Missed Chance to Straighten Out Some Muddled Issues, 2004 CATO SUP. CT. REV. 185 (2004).
  • The ‘Converse Section 1983 Law’: An Idea Whose Time is Now, 69 BROOK. L. REV. 1369 (2004).
  • How Much Protection Do Injunctions Against Enforcement of Allegedly Unconstitutional Statutes Provide?, 31 FORDHAM URB. L. J. 657 (2004).
  • Lower Court Obedience & the Ninth Circuit, 7 GREEN BAG 2ND 31 (2004).
  • The New ‘New Federalism’: The Supreme Court in Hibbs (and Guillen), 6 GREEN BAG 2D 349 (2003).
  • Constitutional Sunsetting?: Justice O’Connor’s Closing Comments in Grutter, 30 HASTINGS CONST. L.Q. 541, (2003) (with E. Caminker).
  • The New Regulations Allowing Federal Agents to Monitor Attorney-Client Conversations: Why It Threatens Fourth Amendment Values, FINDLAW’S WRIT: LEGAL COMMENTARY (Nov 16, 2001) at [1] (with Akhil Amar), reprinted in 34 CONN. L. REV.1163 (2002).
  • Reasonable Accommodations Under the ADA, 5 GREEN BAG 2ND 361 (2002) (with Alan Brownstein).
  • Bush v. Gore and Article II: Pressured Judgment Makes Dubious Law, 48 FED. LAW. 27 (2001) (with Alan Brownstein).
  • Conduct Unbecoming a Coordinate Branch: the Supreme Court in Garrett, 4 GREEN BAG 2ND 351 (Summer 2001) (with Samuel Estreicher).
  • Of Hobgoblins and Equality: The Equal Protection Vision of Justice O’Connor, 32 MCGEORGE L. REV. 1 (2001).
  • The People Made Me Do It: Can the People of the States Instruct and Coerce Their State Legislatures in the Article V Constitutional Amendment Process?, 41 WM. & MARY L. REV. 1037 (2000).
  • The 20th century—The Amendment and Populist Century, 47 FED. LAW. 32 (2000). From Watergate to Ken Starr: Potter Stewart's "Or of the Press" a Quarter Century Later, 50 HASTINGS L.J. 711 (1999).
  • The Role of the People in Presidential Impeachment, ACADEMY OF ARTS AND SCIENCES BULLETIN (Fall 1999).
  • Some Questions about Justice Blackmun’s Federalism and Separation of Powers Cases, 26 HASTINGS CONST. L.Q. 153 (1999).
  • State Religious Freedom Restoration Acts and the Employment Setting, 32 U.C. DAVIS L. REV. 513 (1999).
  • The Hybrid Nature of Political Rights, 50 STAN. L. REV. 915 (1998) (with A. Brownstein).
  • Reflections on the 209 Litigation, 5 ASIAN L.J. 323 (1998).
  • The Hunter Doctrine and Proposition 209: A Reply to Thomas Wood, 24 HASTINGS CONST. L.Q. 1010 (1997) (with E. Caminker).
  • Indirect Effects of Direct Election: A Structural Examination of the Seventeenth Amendment. 49 VAND. L. REV. 1347 (1996).
  • Equal Protection, Unequal Political Burdens, and the CCRI, 23 HASTINGS CONST. L.Q. 1019 (1996) (with E. Caminker).
  • Foreword: Symposium on Developments in Free Speech Doctrine, 29 U.C. DAVIS L. REV. 465 (1996).
  • Unlocking the Jury Box, 77 POLICY REVIEW. 38 (1996) (with Akhil Amar).
  • Is the Presidential Succession Law Constitutional?, 48 STAN. L. REV. 113 (1995) (with Akhil Amar).
  • Jury Service as Political Participation Akin to Voting, 80 CORNELL L. REV. 203 (1995).
  • Some Questions about Perfectionist Rationality Review, 45 HASTINGS L.J. 1029 (1994).
  • President Quayle?, 78 VA. L. REV. 913 (1992) (with Akhil Amar).

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "University of Illinois names Vikram Amar dean of the College of Law". University of Illinois College of Law. July 6, 2015. Retrieved February 20, 2016. 
  2. ^ a b "Vikram Amar". UC Davis School of Law. Archived from the original on September 6, 2015. Retrieved February 20, 2016. 
  3. ^ Wurth, Julie (July 6, 2015). "Updated: UI's next law dean outlines priorities". The News Gazette. Retrieved February 20, 2016. 
  4. ^ Amar, Vikram David (2016). "Verdict". Retrieved March 23, 2016. 
  5. ^ Amar, Vikram David (2016). "Legal Commentary: archive". FindLaw Writ. Retrieved February 20, 2016. 

External links[edit]