Bill Watson researches questions at the intersection of public law and philosophy, with an emphasis on precedential reasoning, statutory interpretation, and constitutional interpretation. He is currently working on projects that address the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent treatment of precedent; the import of legal positivism for debates over legal interpretation; and the independence of textualism in statutory interpretation from originalism in constitutional interpretation. His work appears or is forthcoming in both law reviews and peer-reviewed journals.
Bill received his JD, with high honors, from the University of Chicago Law School and his PhD in Philosophy from Cornell University. As a law student, he served as the Book Review & Essays Editor for the University of Chicago Law Review. Following law school, he clerked for Judge Jay Bybee of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and practiced commercial litigation with Kirkland & Ellis. His primary teaching interests include legislation, constitutional law, jurisprudence, civil procedure, and administrative law.
- Bill Watson, In Defense of the Standard Picture: What the Standard Picture Explains that the Moral Impact Theory Cannot, 28 Legal Theory 59 (2022).
- Bill Watson, Textualism, Dynamism, and the Meaning of "Sex", 2022 Cardozo L. Rev. de novo 41 (2022).
- Bill Watson, Literalism in Statutory Interpretation: What Is It and What Is Wrong with It?, 2021 U. Ill. L. Rev. Online 218 (2021).