• Constitutional Law Research at Notre Dame

    Faculty engages foundational questions of constitutional structure.

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  • Notre Dame Program of Study in Public Law

    A foundational course of study for students interested in constitutional law.

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  • Two NDLS Grads Accept Supreme Court Clerkships

    This summer, two NDLS graduates, Ryan Snyder and Megan Dillhoff, will begin clerkships at the Supreme Court of the United States

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Welcome to the Program on Constitutional Structure

Anthony Bellia

Welcome to the Notre Dame Law School Program on Constitutional Structure. Our Program helps Notre Dame law students obtain a world-class education in constitutional law. We host events at our South Bend and London campuses to examine pressing constitutional questions of domestic and global importance. We serve federal and state courts by educating first-rate judicial law clerks, litigants, and other public servants.

Our mission is to advance inter-disciplinary learning about how sound constitutional structures of government advance individual well-being and the common good. We support curricular programs of study, sponsor academic lectures and conferences, and engage with questions of constitutional development worldwide. By promoting the study of constitutional structures, we serve the needs of our students, the broader academic community, and the bench and bar—here and abroad. Learn more here about our Program, including our students and faculty, our Public Law Program of Study, upcoming events, and faculty research. And then contact us and let us know if we can serve you.


Professor Bellia Examines Questions of Federal Judicial Power

In a forthcoming article, Professor A.J. Bellia examines important questions surrounding the powers of federal courts under the Constitution.  The article—entitled The Process Acts, the Cause of Action, and the Alien Tort Statute—confronts the question whether federal courts have power to adjudicate causes of action that neither Congress nor state law has created.  Courts and scholars have long debated whether federal courts enjoy the power to hear such actions—commonly called “federal common law” causes of action—or whether they only have power to hear actions that Congress or a state has made through its regular lawmaking processes.  In debating such questions, judges and scholars usually presume, as a historical matter, that early federal courts had power to find causes of action in general common law.   

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Professor Jennifer Mason McAward's Work Cited in Recent US Court of Appeals Case

In an important recent decision, U.S. v. Cannon (2014 WL 1633160), the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit relied heavily upon the work of Notre Dame Law School Professor Jennifer Mason McAward in interpreting the scope of Congress’s power to enforce the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution. Section Two of the Thirteenth Amendment empowers Congress to enforce the prohibition on slavery and involuntary servitude by addressing the “badges and incidents of slavery.” The court used Professor Mason McAward’s article, Defining the Badges and Incidents of Slavery (published in the University of Pennsylvania Journal of Constitutional Law), to understand the scope of that constitutional provision.

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Thu Sep 11, 2014

Judge Diarmuid O'Scannlain


Judge Diarmuid O'Scannlain, United States Court of Appeals Judge for the Ninth Circuit, will speak at Notre Dame Law School on September 11.

Co-sponsored by:  The Federalist Society and the Program on Constitutional Structure.…

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Fri Oct 3, 2014

Judge Richard Leon


Judge Richard Leon, United States District Court Judge for the District of Columbia, will speak at Notre Dame Law School on October 3.

Co-sponsored by:  The Federalist Society and the Program on Constitutional Structure.

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