Erwin Chemerinsky

On this date in 1953, legal scholar Erwin Chemerinsky was born to Arthur and Raeda Chemerinsky, a working-class Jewish couple from Chicago’s South Side. He earned a bachelor’s degree in communication from Northwestern University in 1975 and graduated cum laude from Harvard Law School in 1978 while working with the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau.

He taught law at DePaul University, the University of Southern California and at Duke University before becoming the founding dean of the University of California-Irvine School of Law and Raymond Pryke Professor of First Amendment Law in 2008. He married Catherine L. Fisk in 1993. She is a law professor at UC-Irvine who has degrees from the University of Wisconsin and UC-Berkeley.

Chemerinsky was elected in April 2016 to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. His areas of expertise are constitutional law, federal practice, civil rights and civil liberties and appellate litigation. He’s the author of eight books, including The Case Against the Supreme Court (2014) and The Conservative Assault on the Constitution (2010) and has had over 200 articles published in top law reviews and journals.

In January 2014, National Jurist magazine named him the most influential U.S. legal educator. (He finished second to Cass Sunstein in 2015.) In 2014, FFRF named him a Champion of the First Amendment, an award he accepted at FFRF’s national convention in Los Angeles. His convention speech was titled “The Vanishing Wall Separating Church and State.”

PHOTO: Ingrid Laas

Freedom From Religion Foundation