Neil S. Siegel

David W. Ichel Professor of Law and Professor of Political Science, Co-Director of the Program in Public Law, and Director of the DC Summer Institute on Law and Policy


Neil S. Siegel is the David W. Ichel Professor of Law and Professor of Political Science at Duke Law School, where he also serves as co-director of the Program in Public Law and director of the DC Summer Institute on Law and Policy. Professor Siegel’s research and teaching fall in the areas of U.S. constitutional law, constitutional theory, and federal courts.

Professor Siegel’s scholarship addresses a variety of areas of constitutional law and, in doing so, considers ways in which a methodologically pluralist approach can accommodate changes in society and the needs of American governance while remaining disciplined and bound by the rule of law. His articles on collective action federalism offer constitutional justification for robust, but not limitless, federal power. His writings on the politics of constitutional law and judicial statesmanship seek to understand how participants in the practice of constitutional law vindicate the preconditions for the legitimacy of constitutional law. His constitutional theory scholarship analyzes, among other issues, how perceptions of the clarity or ambiguity of the constitutional text are affected in part by purposive, structural, historical, doctrinal, and consequentialist considerations. His work on sex equality and reproductive rights examines competing mediating principles of equality, identifies ways in which equality values are protected under both equal protection and substantive due process, and seeks to extend the skepticism of constitutional sex equality doctrine to discrimination on the basis of pregnancy and restrictions on access to contraception and abortion. Finally, his contributions in the area of separation of powers document and justify the role of historical governmental practices in partially constituting executive and judicial power, especially when such practices are considered along with structural constitutional concerns.

Professor Siegel teaches Duke Law students, undergraduates in Duke University’s Trinity College and in Duke Law’s DC Summer Institute, and judges in Duke’s Master of Judicial Studies Program. Throughout the year, he offers U.S. Supreme Court updates and other talks at judicial conferences and law firms around the country.

Professor Siegel served as special counsel to Senator Joseph R. Biden during the U.S. Supreme Court confirmation hearings of John G. Roberts and Samuel A. Alito. During the October 2003 term, he clerked for Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg at the U.S. Supreme Court. He also served as Bristow Fellow in the Office of the Solicitor General at the U.S. Department of Justice during the tenure of Solicitor General Theodore B. Olson, and as law clerk to Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson III of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

In 1994, Professor Siegel received his B.A. (Economics and Political Science), summa cum laude, from Duke University. In 1995, he received his M.A. (Economics) from Duke University. He graduated in 2001 with joint degrees from the University of California, Berkeley, receiving his J.D. from Berkeley Law and a Ph.D. in Jurisprudence and Social Policy. While at Berkeley Law, he served as the Senior Articles Editor of the California Law Review.