Joseph Blocher's principal academic interests include federal and state constitutional law, the First and Second Amendments, legal history, and property. His current scholarship addresses issues of gun rights and regulation, free speech, sovereignty, and the relationship between law and violence.
He has published articles on those and other topics in the Harvard Law Review, Yale Law Journal, Stanford Law Review, Duke Law Journal, Yale Journal of International Law, and other leading journals. He is co-author of Free Speech Beyond Words (NYU Press, 2017) and The Positive Second Amendment: Rights, Regulation, and the Future of Heller (Cambridge University Press, 2018). He has also written for the New York Times, Slate, Vox, Quartz, The News & Observer and other public outlets, and serves as Co-Director of the Center for Firearms Law.
He returned to his hometown of Durham to join the Duke Law faculty in 2009, and received the law school's Distinguished Teaching Award in 2012. Before coming to Duke, he clerked for Guido Calabresi of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and Rosemary Barkett of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. He also practiced law at O'Melveny & Myers LLP, where he assisted the merits briefing for the District of Columbia in District of Columbia v. Heller.
Blocher received his B.A., magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, from Rice University, and studied law and economic development as a Fulbright Scholar in Ghana and as a Gates Scholar at Cambridge University, where he received an M.Phil in Land Economy. He received his J.D. from Yale Law School, where he served as comments editor of the Yale Law Journal, symposium editor of the Yale Law & Policy Review, notes editor of the Yale Human Rights & Development Law Journal, participated in or directed several clinics, and was co-chair of the Legal Services Organization.