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Michael Klarman

Charles Warren Professor of American Legal History

Michael J. Klarman
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Professor Michael J. Klarman is the Charles Warren Professor of Legal History at Harvard Law School, where he joined the faculty in 2008. He received his B.A. and M.A. (political theory) from the University of Pennsylvania in 1980, his J.D. from Stanford Law School in 1983, and his D. Phil. in legal history from the University of Oxford (1988), where he was a Marshall Scholar. After law school, Professor Klarman clerked for the Honorable Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit (1983–84). He joined the faculty at the University of Virginia School of Law in 1987 and served there until 2008 as the James Monroe Distinguished Professor of Law and Professor of History. 

Klarman has also served as the Ralph S. Tyler, Jr., Visiting Professor at Harvard Law School, Distinguished Visiting Lee Professor of Law at the Marshall Wythe School of Law at the College of William & Mary, Visiting Professor at Stanford Law School, and Visiting Professor at Yale Law School. 

Klarman has won numerous awards for his teaching and scholarship, which are primarily in the areas of Constitutional Law and Constitutional History. In 2009 he was inducted into the American Academy of Arts & Sciences.

Klarman’s first book, From Jim Crow to Civil Rights: The Supreme Court and the Struggle for Racial Equality, was published by Oxford University Press in 2004 and received the 2005 Bancroft Prize in History. He published two books in the summer of 2007, also with Oxford University Press: Brown v. Board of Education and the Civil Rights Movement and Unfinished Business: Racial Equality in American History, the latter of which is part of Oxford’s Inalienable Rights series. In 2012, he published From the Closet to the Altar: Courts, Backlash, and the Struggle for Same-Sex Marriage. In 2016, Professor Klarman published The Framers’ Coup: The Making of the United States Constitution, which was a finalist for the George Washington Book Prize. In 2020, he authored the Foreword to the Harvard Law Review’s annual Supreme Court issue, entitled “The Degradation of American Democracy—and the Court.”



  • D.Phil History Oxford University, 1988
  • J.D. Law Stanford Law School, 1983
  • M.A. Political Theory University of Pennsylvania, 1980
  • B.A. Political Theory University of Pennsylvania, 1980

Academic Appointment and Employment History

  • Professor of Law, University of Virginia School of Law (1987 - 2008)
    Charlottesville, Virginia, United States

Honors and Awards

  • Bancroft Prize (Book Awards)

Representative Publications

View all publications by Michael Klarman