Scott Michelman

Shikes Fellow in Civil Liberties and Civil Rights and Lecturer on Law

Spring 2018


Scott Michelman is the senior staff attorney at the ACLU of the District of Columbia. His docket as an impact litigator has spanned a broad range of civil rights/civil liberties issues, including access to the courts, discrimination and selective enforcement, freedom of speech and press, habeas corpus, immigrants’ rights, judicial secrecy, political protest, post-September 11 abuse of executive power, privacy rights, religious freedom, the rights of medical marijuana patients, sentencing law, unreasonable search and seizure, and workers’ and consumers’ rights. Mr. Michelman was previously an attorney with Public Citizen Litigation Group and with the ACLU Criminal Law Reform Project.

Mr. Michelman has argued before the United States Supreme Court, six federal courts of appeals, the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, and numerous other federal and state courts around the country. In connection with his practice, he has been quoted by national radio, television, and print media outlets, including NPR, CNN, Fox News, Al Jazeera America, the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, USA Today, U.S. News and World Report, Associated Press, Reuters, and National Law Journal. His commentary and opinion have appeared in SCOTUSblog, Slate and the Huffington Post.

Mr. Michelman has taught as adjunct faculty at American University Washington College of Law, Santa Clara Law School, and the University of California at Santa Cruz, and he has guest-lectured or appeared on panels at Yale Law School, Georgetown University Law Center, the University of California at Berkeley, and the American Bar Association, among others. His publications include Doing Kimbrough Justice: Implementing Policy Disagreements With the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, 45 Suffolk L. Rev. 1083 (2012) (with Jay Rorty), and Who Can Sue Over Government Surveillance? 57 UCLA L. Rev. 71 (2009), reprinted in 26 Saltzman & Wolvovitz, Civil Rights Litigation & Attorney Fees Annual Handbook 79 (2010).

Mr. Michelman graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School, where he was an editor of the Harvard Law Review and a member of the winning team for the 2003 Ames Moot Court Competition. He went on to clerk for the Honorable Betty B. Fletcher of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Following his clerkship, Mr. Michelman was the 2005-06 William J. Brennan First Amendment Fellow at the ACLU, and then a clinical teaching fellow at the Seton Hall Law School Civil Rights and Constitutional Litigation Clinic.

Before law school, Mr. Michelman designed and taught courses on American politics and government as the 2000-01 Annenberg Fellow to Eton College in Windsor, England. He received his bachelor’s degree in political science magna cum laude from Duke University in 2000.

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