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About Robert L Tsai

Robert L. Tsai is Professor of Law at American University, Washington College of Law. He is the author of three books and numerous articles and essays.

He began his academic career at the University of Oregon, where he received the university's Lorry I. Lokey Award for exemplary interdisciplinary scholarship and teaching, as well as the law school's Orlando J. Hollis Teaching Award. His papers have twice been selected for the Stanford-Yale Junior Faculty Forum: once in constitutional theory and once in constitutional history. Professor Tsai joined the law faculty of American University in 2008 and was promoted to full professor the following year. He received the Elizabeth Payne Cubberly Scholarship Award in 2010. Before entering the academy, he clerked for Hugh H. Bownes, U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, and Denny Chin, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. Professor Tsai has litigated a number of constitutional issues before federal and state courts.

Professor Tsai's primary research interests include constitutional law, legal history, democratic theory, and criminal procedure. His latest book, "Practical Eqaulity," will be published by W.W. Norton in early 2019. Tsai's previous book was "America's Forgotten Constitutions: Defiant Visions of Power and Community" (Harvard University Press, 2014). That book explores eight constitution-writing experiments by ordinary Americans. It shows how marginalized groups used the political tradition to fulfill a variety of functions, from publishing grievances to disciplining followers. His first book, "Eloquence and Reason: Creating a First Amendment Culture" (Yale University Press 2008), theorized the rise of Americans' modern First Amendment values and the role of courts in sustaining that belief system.


Present Professor of Law, American University Washington College of Law

Curriculum Vitae

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Honors and Awards

  • Elizabeth Payne Cubberly Scholar
  • Lorry I. Lokey Award for Exemplary Interdisciplinary Scholarship
  • Orlando J. Hollis Teaching Award
  • Stanford/Yale Junior Faculty Forum Honoree
  • Carey McWilliams Award

Contact Information

American University
The Washington College of Law
4801 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20016


Books (4)

Articles (25)