Constitutional law scholar Ernest Young to join Duke Law faculty

August 27, 2007Duke Law News

(Aug. 27, 2007) Professor Ernest A. Young, the Charles Alan Wright Chair in Federal Courts Law at the University of Texas at Austin, will join the Duke Law School faculty in January 2008.

Young is one of the nation’s preeminent scholars on federalism, the constitutional division of powers between the states and the federal government. During his eight years on the University of Texas faculty, Young also earned a reputation for teaching excellence and service to students.

“We are delighted to welcome Professor Young to Duke,” said Dean David F. Levi. “He is a scholar and teacher of the highest caliber. With his addition, Duke now has one of the strongest and most intellectually diverse public law programs in the country. Professor Young’s decision to join our faculty adds further momentum to Duke Law’s forward progress.”

Young is the latest in a long line of established scholars who have come to Duke Law over the past few years. During the seven-year deanship of Levi’s predecessor, Katharine T. Bartlett, Duke hired 10 leading scholars in a wide variety of fields, in addition to hiring a number of junior faculty members.

“It’s a privilege to join the Duke Law faculty, which has great traditions of strength across the board and in my areas of interest,” Young said. “I’ve been extremely impressed by the institutional culture that Dean Bartlett has done so much to build here, and I’m excited by the opportunity to work with Judge Levi to build on that foundation.”

“Ernie Young’s writing on numerous aspects of constitutional federalism, on international law, and on constitutional theory have already made outstanding contributions to constitutional scholarship,” said Christopher H. Schroeder, the Charles S. Murphy Professor of Law and Professor of Public Policy Studies and director of the Program in Public Policy at Duke. “His enthusiasm for teaching and writing promise only more and better of the same. He makes a wonderful addition to the Duke faculty.”

A native of Abilene, Texas, Young graduated from Dartmouth College in 1990 and Harvard Law School in 1993. He was a law clerk to Judge Michael Boudin of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit and to Justice David Souter of the U.S. Supreme Court. Prior to joining the faculty at the University of Texas at Austin, Young practiced law with Cohan, Simpson, Cowlishaw, & Wulff in Dallas, and at Covington & Burling in Washington, D.C., where he specialized in appellate litigation. He is a member of the American Law Institute.

Young has written extensively on the “Federalist Revival” of the U.S. Supreme Court under the late Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist. He is a frequent commentator on issues of foreign affairs law that relate to the interaction between domestic and international courts and the application of international law by domestic courts. Young’s scholarly interests also include constitutional interpretation, constitutional theory, maritime law and comparative constitutional law.

“Ernie Young’s writings about federalism have shaped, and no doubt will continue for many years to shape, scholarly understanding of the most basic constitutional questions about the relationship of nation and state,” said Daniel J. Meltzer, vice dean and the Story Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. “Well-known also as a gifted teacher, he would be an outstanding addition to the faculty of any law school.”

At the University of Texas at Austin, Young won the Texas Exes Teaching Excellence Award and the Federalist Society’s Paul M. Bator Award for excellence in teaching, scholarship, and public service. For his service to students as a judicial clerkship advisor, he received the Robert Murff Excellence Award (with Tony Reese) from the Texas Campus Career Council. He also has been a visiting professor at Harvard Law School and Villanova University School of Law, as well as an adjunct professor at Georgetown University Law Center.

In addition to his scholarly work, Young is actively involved in both public and private litigation in his areas of interest. On behalf of leading constitutional and international law scholars, he wrote a brief in Medellin v. Texas, an upcoming Supreme Court case concerning the extent of presidential power over state court proceedings in cases under international treaties. He also co-wrote a scholars’ brief in Gonzales v. Raich, a recent Supreme Court case concerning federal regulation of medical marijuana. He will argue a private securities law appeal in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in September.

“Ernie Young is one of the nation's preeminent scholars of federalism, constitutional law, and federal jurisdiction and a pioneer in the increasingly important study of the relationship of American courts to international institutions,” said Curtis Bradley, senior associate dean for academic affairs and the Richard and Marcy Horvitz Professor of Law and Professor of Public Policy Studies at Duke Law School. “Some of his most innovative scholarship has involved the application of federal courts and constitutional principles to issues of foreign relations law and international law, areas of particular interest to me, and I have long been an admirer of his work.

“This is a terrific hire for Duke that will further strengthen its already strong programs in constitutional law, international law, and national security law,” Bradley added.

Young is married to Allegra Young, a management consultant in Austin, Texas, who recently served as assistant dean for communications at the University of Texas School of Law. The couple’s two children, Alexander, 12, and Michael, 9, are “currently stocking up on blue and white face paint” in preparation for basketball season, according to their father.