Michael J. Perry
Robert W. Woodruff Professor of Law
Areas of Expertise
Constitutional Law, Human Rights, International Human Rights Law, Law and Religion
Assistant: Linda Jackson
Michael John Perry specializes in three areas: Constitutional Law, Human Rights, and Law and Religion. He is the author of twelve books and over eighty articles and essays. The titles of Perry’s books reflect his particular interests: The Constitution, the Courts, and Human Rights (Yale, 1982); Morality, Politics, and Law (Oxford, 1988); Love and Power: The Role of Religion and Morality in American Politics (Oxford, 1991); The Constitution in the Courts: Law or Politics? (Oxford, 1994); Religion in Politics: Constitutional and Moral Perspectives (Oxford, 1997); The Idea of Human Rights: Four Inquiries (Oxford, 1998); We the People: The Fourteenth Amendment and the Supreme Court (Oxford, 1999); Under God? Religious Faith and Liberal Democracy (Cambridge, 2003); Toward a Theory of Human Rights: Religion, Law, Courts (Cambridge, 2007); Constitutional Rights, Moral Controversy, and the Supreme Court (Cambridge, 2009); The Political Morality of Liberal Democracy (Cambridge, 2010); and Human Rights in the Constitutional Law of the United States (Cambridge, 2013).
Since 2003, Perry has held a Robert W. Woodruff University Chair at Emory University, where he teaches in the law school. A Woodruff Chair is the highest honor Emory University bestows on a member of its faculty. Perry is also a Senior Fellow at Emory University’s Center for the Study of Law and Religion and a Co-Editor of the Journal of Law and Religion (Cambridge University Press).
Before coming to Emory, Perry was the inaugural occupant of the Howard J. Trienens Chair in Law at Northwestern University (1990–97), where he taught for fifteen years (1982–97). He then held the University Distinguished Chair in Law at Wake Forest University (1997–2003). Perry began his teaching career at the Ohio State University College of Law (1975–82) and has taught as a visiting professor at several law schools: Yale (1978–79), Tulane (spring semester, 1987), New York Law School (spring semester, 1990), the University of Tokyo (fall semester, 1991), the University of Alabama (fall semester, 2005), the University of Western Ontario, Canada (January Term, 2009), and the University of Dayton (intrasession course, March 2011). For three consecutive fall semesters (2009, 2010, 2011), Perry was the University Distinguished Visiting Professor in Law and Peace Studies at the University of San Diego, where he taught an introductory course on international human rights both to law students and to graduate students at the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies.
Perry, who was born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky, received his AB from Georgetown University (1968) and his JD from Columbia University (1973). He served as law clerk, in 1973–74, to US District Judge Jack B. Weinstein and, in 1974–75 to US Circuit Judge Shirley M. Hufstedler. Perry is married to Sarah Anne O’Leary, a public health specialist with the US Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta. They have two sons: Daniel (b. 1989) and Gabriel (b. 1991).
Education: JD, Columbia University (1973); AB, Georgetown University (1968)
Human Rights in the Constitutional Law of the United States (Cambridge University Press, hardback and paperback editions, 2013).
The Political Morality of Liberal Democracy (Cambridge University Press, 2010; paperback edition, 2012).
Articles, Essays, and Book Chapters
"Why Excluding Same-Sex Couples from Civil Marriage Violates the Constitutional Law of the United States," Illinois Law Review (2014) (David C. Baum Memorial Lecture on Civil Liberties and Civil Rights).
"The Morality of Human Rights." 50 San Diego Law Review 775 (2013) (Symposium: The Status of International Law and International Human Rights).
"Freedom of Conscience as Religious and Moral Freedom." 29 Journal of Law and Religion 124 (2014) (invited contribution; inaugural CSLR issue).
"Same-Sex Marriage, the Right to Religious and Moral Freedom, and the Catholic Church," in Learning: Essays on Sexual Diversity and the Catholic Church (J. Patrick Hornbeck II & Michael Norko, eds., Fordham University Press, 2013).
"Why 'Act Towards One Another in a Spirit of Brotherhood?' The Grounds of Human Rights," in Human Rights at the Crossroads (Mark Goodale, ed., Oxford University Press, 2013).
"Human Rights," in The Routledge Companion to Theism (Charles Taliaferro, Victoria S. Harrison, & Stewart Goetz, eds., Routledge, 2012).