|Present||Founders Professor of Law, Boston College Law School|
Honors and Awards
- Joseph L. Andrews Legal Literature Award (AALL) (2015)
- Michael and Helen Lee Distinguished Scholar (2009, 2014)
- Emil Slizewski Faculty Teaching Award (2007)
- Recipient of the inaugural BC Law Annual Prize for Scholarly Excellence (2006)
- Littleton-Griswold Award (AHA) (2005)
- Fall 2018: Constitutional History: The Framing, American Legal History
- Spring 2019: Property
Madison's Hand: Revising the Constitutional Convention (2015)
James Madison’s Notes on the 1787 Constitutional Convention have acquired nearly unquestioned authority as the description of the U.S. Constitution’s creation. No document provides a more complete record of the deliberations in Philadelphia or depicts ...
Appeals to the Privy Council from the American Colonies: An Annotated Digital Catalogue (2014)
In recognition of the three-hundred anniversary of the accession of George I, the Ames Foundation announces a new electronic resource: Appeals to the Privy Council from the American Plantations: An Annotated Digital Catalogue. For the ...
Contributions to Books (5)
The Relevance of Colonial Appeals to the Privy Council Texts and Contexts in Legal History: Essays in Honor of Charles Donahue (2016)
For the past two centuries, the colonial appeals to the Privy Council fell between the cracks on both sides of the Atlantic. For Americans, the creation of the Supreme Court and the absence of published ...
English Settlement and Local Governance The Cambridge History of Law in America Volume 1: Early America (1580–1815), Cambridge University Press (2008)
This essay traces colonial American institutional development between 1570 and the 1720s. An American manner of government characterized by dual authority and supervised, constitutionally limited lawmaking produced the Revolution and the commitment to federalism. The ...
Colonial Constitutionalism and Constitutional Law Transformations in American Legal History: Essays in Honor of Morton J. Horwitz. (2008)
This essay reconsiders the transformation of colonial constitutionalism to Constitutional Law. The transformation of constitutional law does not map neatly onto the 1776 - 90 period. This essay argues that the transformation was less the ...
Forthcoming Articles (1)
The Library of Robert Morris, Civil Rights Lawyer & Activist Boston College Law School Faculty Papers (2018)
This article analyzes the Robert Morris library, the only known extant, antebellum, African American-owned library. The seventy-five titles, including two unique pamphlet compilations, reveal Morris’s intellectual commitment to full citizenship, equality, and participation for people ...
Charter Constitutionalism: The Myth of Edward Coke and the Virginia Charter North Carolina Law Review (2016)
Magna Carta’s connection to the American constitutional tradition has been traced to Edward Coke’s insertion of English liberties in the 1606 Virginia Charter. This account curiously turns out to be unsupported by direct evidence. This ...
How Bad Were the Official Records of the Federal Convention? The George Washington Law Review (2012)
The official records of the Constitutional Convention of 1787 have been neglected and dismissed by scholars for the last century, largely to due to Max Farrand’s criticisms of both the records and the man responsible ...
Appeals to the Privy Council Before American Independence: An Annotated Digital Catalogue Law Library Journal (2012)
Between the later seventeenth century and American independence, appeals from colonial high courts were taken to the Privy Council in England. These appeals are the precursors of today’s appeals to the U.S. Supreme Court. Their ...
Expounding the Law: Law and Judicial Duty The George Washington Law Review (2010)
Written as a comment on Philip Hamburger's book, Law and Judicial Duty, this essay explains why the history of judicial review remains a difficult area for scholarship. American judicial tradition espoused that judges had an ...
James Madison, Law Student and Demi-Lawyer Law and History Review (2010)
We think of James Madison as a political theorist, legislative drafter, and constitutional interpreter. Recent scholarship has fought fiercely over the nature of his political thought. Unlike other important early national leaders—John Adams, Alexander Hamilton, ...
Absent From the Convention: Libraries, Law and Political Philosophy: John Adams and Thomas Jefferson Boston College Law School Lectures and Presentations (2009)
Presentation by Professor Mary Sarah Bilder, as commentator, at the conference "John Adams & Thomas Jefferson: Libraries, Leadership & Legacy," held in Boston and Charlottesville, June 21-17, 2009.
Idea or Practice: A Brief Historiography of Judicial Review The Journal of Policy History (2008)
Judicial review may be the most publicly contested aspect of American constitutionalism. The conventional beliefs that judicial review should be understood as an idea and American constitutionalism studied as a new rationalistic, political science are ...
The Lost Lawyers: Early American Legal Literates and Transatlantic Legal Culture Yale Journal of Law & the Humanities (1999)
From the author's introduction: Paul C. Kurtz wrote well, spoke and argued eloquently, wore a nice suit, and carried a briefcase. As an observer notes, "He looked 100 percent like a lawyer and conducted himself ...
The Origin of the Appeal in America Hastings Law Journal (1997)
The appeal has been treated by academics as a mere legal procedure, possessing no particular significance. Indeed, for many years, legal scholars accepted the influential arguments of Professors Julius Goebel and Roscoe Pound that the ...