Gregory Elinson

Climenko Fellow and Lecturer on Law

2020-2021

Biography

Gregory Elinson studies the political economy of public law. Much of his research examines how political parties shape the separation of powers, administrative law, and legislative process. A separate strand of scholarship traces the varied ways the U.S. constitutional system has responded to the demands of groups and social movements representing the interests of racial minorities. His work draws on a variety of methodologies: the political scientist’s emphasis on path dependence and causal inference, the lawyer’s doctrinal toolkit and sensitivity to the structure of legal institutions, and the historian’s facility with archival data.

Greg’s work has been published in several leading peer-reviewed journals, including Law and Social Inquiry and Studies in American Political Development. Before joining the Climenko program, he was an associate in Kirkland & Ellis’s Chicago office, where his practice focused on commercial and appellate litigation. Greg clerked for Judge David Barron on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit and Judge Gary Feinerman on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. He holds a J.D. from Stanford Law School, a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley, and a B.A. from Harvard College.

Areas of Interest

Ruth Bloch Rubin & Gregory Elinson, Anatomy of Backlash: Southern Leaders, Massive Resistance, and the Supreme Court, 1954-1958, 43 Law & Soc. Inquiry 944 (2018).
Categories:
Government & Politics
,
Discrimination & Civil Rights
Sub-Categories:
Civil Rights
,
Discrimination
,
Race & Ethnicity
,
Supreme Court of the United States
,
State & Local Government
,
Judges & Jurisprudence
,
Courts
,
Congress & Legislation
,
Politics & Political Theory
Type: Article
Abstract
Exploiting a range of archival materials, we argue that state‐level variation in judicial backlash to Brown was as much the result of strategic choices by southern political elites as it was the ingrained prejudices of the region's white voters. Presenting case studies of massive resistance in Mississippi, Louisiana, Virginia, and Arkansas, we show that elite agency profoundly shaped the patchwork development of grassroots resistance to integration across the South. These findings challenge the prevailing view that backlash to Brown signaled the unequivocal triumph of racial conservatives. Rather, we argue that the region's response offered individual members of the southern elite significant autonomy to direct massive resistance in their home states. We also argue that southern lawmakers were responsible for the South's embrace of popular constitutionalism post‐Brown, and thus that it may not have been “popular” at all. We conclude that studies of judicial backlash would do well to reevaluate the assumption that backlash is necessarily a grassroots phenomenon.
Gregory Elinson, Judicial Partisanship and the Slaughterhouse Cases: Investigating the Relationship Between Courts and Parties, 31 Stud. Am. Pol. Dev. 24 (2017).
Categories:
Government & Politics
,
Constitutional Law
,
Discrimination & Civil Rights
Sub-Categories:
Fourteenth Amendment
,
Race & Ethnicity
,
Judges & Jurisprudence
,
Politics & Political Theory
,
Courts
,
Supreme Court of the United States
Type: Article
Abstract
Scholars of judicial behavior have persuasively demonstrated that parties profoundly influence the elaboration of judicial doctrine, but have paid more limited attention to understanding how courts can transform the content of party agendas. In this article, I argue that judges can work to deliberately define the issue positions adopted by the political parties with which they are affiliated. I contend that judges can, like other political actors, use the tools of their office to further explicitly partisan goals. Although they may employ traditional modes of legal reasoning, judges may nevertheless craft their decisions in ways that prioritize certain party principles over others, interpret the law in ways that knit together the beliefs of divergent factions within their party coalition, articulate principles to guide the party's incorporation of new issues, and, in some instances, begin to outline a coherent ideological vision for the party. I develop this theory through a close examination of the Slaughterhouse Cases, regularly cited as a core building block of the American constitutional canon.
Robert A. Kagan & Gregory Elinson, Constitutional Litigation in the United States, in Constitutional Courts in Comparison: The U.S. Supreme Court and the German Federal Constitutional Court (Ralf Rogowski & Thomas Gawron eds., 2d ed. 2016).
Categories:
Constitutional Law
,
Government & Politics
Sub-Categories:
Supreme Court of the United States
,
Judges & Jurisprudence
,
Courts
Type: Book

Education History

Current Courses

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