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Primus, Richard

Theodore J. St. Antoine Collegiate Professor of Law

535 Legal Research
Twitter: @Richard_Primus

Richard Primus, the Theodore J. St. Antoine Collegiate Professor of Law, teaches the law, theory, and history of the U.S. Constitution. In 2008, he won the first-ever Guggenheim Fellowship in Constitutional Studies for his work on the relationship between history and constitutional interpretation. His scholarship has been cited in opinions of the justices of the Supreme Court of the United States. Professor Primus works with constitutional law on the state level as well as the federal. He has helped state governmental agencies, nonprofit organizations, and private businesses solve practical problems involving state-level constitutional law, both in Michigan and in other states.

The students of Michigan Law School have given Professor Primus the L. Hart Wright Award for Excellence in Teaching on four separate occasions.

Professor Primus graduated from Harvard College in 1992 with an AB, summa cum laude, in social studies. He then earned a DPhil in politics at Oxford, where he was a Rhodes Scholar and the Jowett Senior Scholar at Balliol College. After studying law at Yale, Professor Primus clerked for the Hon. Guido Calabresi on the Second Circuit and for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. He then practiced law at the Washington, D.C., office of Jenner & Block before joining the Michigan Law faculty in 2001.


Recent Publications

More Publications...

"Why Enumeration Matters." Mich. L. Rev. (Forthcoming, 2016).
Full Text: SSRN

"Is Theocracy Our Politics? Thoughts on William Baude's 'Is Originalism Our Law?'." Colum. L. Rev. Sidebar 116 (2016): 44-60.​​
Full Text: MLaw Repository | SSRN | WWW​​

"Of Visible Race-Consciousness and Institutional Role: Equal Protection and Disparate Impact after Ricci and Inclusive Communities." In Title VII of the Civil Rights Act After 50 Years: Proceedings of the New York University 67th Annual Conference on Labor, 295-318. LexisNexis Publishing, 2015.
Full Text: MLaw Repository | SSRN​​

"The Limits of Enumeration." Yale L. J. 124, no. 3 (2014): 576-642.
Full Text: MLaw Repository | SSRN | WWW

"The Future Resists Control." Review of We The People, Volume 3: The Civil Rights Revolution, by B. Ackerman. Balkinization, May 1, 2014.
Full Text: MLaw Repository | WWW

"Unbundling Constitutionality." U. Chi. L. Rev. 80, no. 3 (2013): 1079-153.
Full Text: MLaw Repository | SSRN | Lexis | Westlaw | WWW

"How the Gun-Free School Zones Act Saved the Individual Mandate." Mich. L. Rev. First Impressions 110, no. 44 (2012).
Full Text: MLaw Repository | Westlaw | WWW

Curriculum Interest Areas


Presented "Marshall's Enumeration" at Vanderbilt Law School, February 2016.​

Presented "Why Enumeration Matters" at the University of Southern California Law School, November 2015.​

Presented "The Limits of Enumeration" at Yale Law School, November 2014.

Showcase panelist at the Federalist Society's National Lawyers' Convention on the subject of textualism in constitutional interpretation, November 2013.

Coauthor of Law Professors' Brief in the U.S. Supreme Court in a case deciding the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, January 2012.

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