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Leading Scholar of Comparative Constitutional and Common Law Bernadette Meyler Joins Stanford Law School Faculty

Photo of Law Professor Bernadette Meyler

Professor Bernadette Meyler

STANFORD, Calif., February 21, 2013—Stanford Law School today announced that Bernadette A. Meyler, currently professor of law at Cornell University Law School, will join the Stanford Law School faculty as professor of law, effective in the summer of 2013. Professor Meyler’s research and teaching focus primarily on the intersections between constitutional law and the common law, British and American legal history, law and literature, and law and religion.

“Bernie’s research spans almost the entire range of the humanities, examining intersections between law and history, literature, drama, philosophy, and political thought. At the same time, she is a talented lawyer, who is deeply engaged with the complexities of modern-day constitutional law doctrine and policy,” said Stanford Law School Dean Elizabeth Magill. “We are all thrilled to welcome her to the faculty.”

One of Meyler’s major areas of research is a book project, now nearing completion, titled Towards a Common Law Originalism (forthcoming Yale University Press). The book’s main goals are to critique mainstream originalist approaches to constitutional interpretation as deeply flawed due to their mistaken conception of the eighteenth-century common law (and contemporary practices of interpretation) and to develop an alternative, more historically sophisticated model of originalist interpretation, which she calls “common-law originalism.”

Another major focus is a second book project, titled Theaters of Pardoning, which aims to trace how, over the course of the seventeenth century, pardoning shifted from being primarily an element of the king’s royal prerogative to becoming an important feature of parliamentary authority. She argues that while we now tend towards the view that pardoning emerged from a theory and practice of royal power and thus fits at best uncomfortably in our current liberal, constitutional democracies, the forgotten history of the legislative pardon suggests otherwise. The legislative pardon was actually part and parcel of the transition from royal to parliamentary sovereignty. In addition to expanding our historical knowledge of pardoning practice and its relationship to fundamental transformations in governmental structure (and political thought), the book project also promises to make a substantial contribution to our understanding of how law and literature interrelate.

“I’m excited that Bernie will offer our students a course on the history of the common law,” said Magill. “While this is a topic of great importance to the study of American legal history, there are only a handful of law schools in the country that currently teach it—and, indeed only a handful of professors possessing the requisite knowledge to do so. Bernie is one of these very few.”

“I am thrilled to be joining the Stanford Law School faculty,” said Meyler. “During my time as an SLS student, I had the privilege of studying with some of the luminaries of constitutional law and legal history. It is my greatest pleasure to be returning to the same institution as a faculty member.”

More on Bernadette Meyler

Prior to her faculty appointment at Stanford, Professor Meyler was Professor of Law and English at Cornell University, where she was honored with the Provost’s Award for Distinguished Scholarship (2009). She served as faculty director of research at the law school, and founded and led Cornell’s annual Law & Humanities Colloquium. She was visiting professor of law at Stanford Law School (2011), a Mellon/LAPA Fellow in Law and the Humanities at Princeton University (2009-10), and faculty in residence at UCLA School of Law (2007). She holds a BA (1995) from Harvard College, a JD (2003) from Stanford Law School, and PhD (2006) from the University of California, Irvine (English). At Stanford, she was honored with the President’s Award for Extraordinary Vision on Behalf of and Dedication to the Stanford Law Review (2003). She received a Mellon Fellowship in Humanistic Studies and a Chancellor’s Fellowship to pursue her doctorate in English at the University of California, Irvine. Following law school, she clerked for the Honorable Robert A. Katzmann of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Professor Meyler is admitted to the New York Bar.

About Stanford Law School

Stanford Law School (www.law.stanford.edu) is one of the nation’s leading institutions for legal scholarship and education. Its alumni are among the most influential decision makers in law, politics, business, and high technology. Faculty members argue before the Supreme Court, testify before Congress, produce outstanding legal scholarship and empirical analysis, and contribute regularly to the nation’s press as legal and policy experts. Stanford Law School has established a new model for legal education that provides rigorous interdisciplinary training, hands-on experience, global perspective and focus on public service, spearheading a movement for change.

For more information, please contact:

Judith Romero
Public Information Officer
Stanford Law School
judith.romero@stanford.edu

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