Skip Navigation LinksHome > Faculty Personal Pages > Margo Schlanger > Faculty Biography



Margo Schlanger
Professor of Law
Director, Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse

Faculty Biography

Professor Schlanger returned to the Law School in January 2012 from a two-year leave, during which she served as the presidentially appointed Officer for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.   She joined the Law School faculty in fall 2009, bringing her expertise in civil rights, prison reform, torts, and empirical legal studies to Michigan Law; she also founded and runs the Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse. Previously, she had been a professor at Washington University in St. Louis, and an assistant professor at Harvard University. She was voted the David M. Becker Professor of the Year in 2008 at Washington University School of Law.  

Professor Schlanger earned her J.D. from Yale in 1993. While there, she served as book reviews editor of the Yale Law Journal and received the Vinson Prize. She then served as law clerk for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg of the U.S. Supreme Court from 1993 to 1995. From 1995 to 1998, she was a trial attorney in the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, where she worked to remedy civil rights abuses by prison and police departments and earned two Division Special Achievement awards.  Schlanger, a leading authority on civil rights issues and civil and criminal detention, served on the Vera Institute’s blue ribbon Commission on Safety and Abuse in America's Prisons; she worked as an advisor on the development of proposed national standards implementing the Prison Rape Elimination Act, and testified before the Prison Rape Elimination Commission.  She also served as the reporter for the American Bar Association’s revision of its Standards on the Treatment of Prisoners, and as chair of the Association of American Law Schools Section on Law and the Social Sciences.   As the head of civil rights and civil liberties for the Department of Homeland Security, she served as the Secretary's lead advisor on civil rights and civil liberties issues, testified before Congress, chaired the Privacy, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties Subcommittee of the federal Information Sharing Environment's Information Sharing and Access Interagency Policy Committee, chaired the Interagency Coordinating Council on Emergency Preparedness and Individuals with Disabilities, served on the first U.S. Delegation to the U.N. Universal Periodic Review, and met with community leaders and groups across America to ensure that their perspectives regarding civil rights and homeland security were considered in the Department's policy process.

For examples of Professor Schlanger's recent scholarship, see  "Plata v. Brown and Realignment: Jails, Prisons, Courts, and Politics," 48 Harv. Civ. Rghts-Civ. Lib. L. Rev. 165 (2013), "Operationalizing Deterrence: Claims Management (in Hospitals, a Large Retailer, and Jails and Prisons),”  2 Journal of Tort Law, issue 1, article 1 (2008), and "Hedonic Damages, Hedonic Adaptation, and Disability," 60 Vand. L. Rev. 745 (2007) (with Sam Bagenstos).  A full list of publications, with links, is available on the publications page.  Professor Schlanger teaches torts, constitutional law, and classes relating to civil rights (such as Civil Rights and Homeland Security) and to prisons (such as Prisons and the Law, and the Constitutional Law of Incarceration). 

She is married to Law School Professor Samuel Bagenstos; they have two children, born in 2000. 

 
Michigan Law Wordmark Print View