Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content
Skip Navigation LinksHome > Faculty Biographies > Faculty Bio

Bagenstos, Samuel

Frank G. Millard Professor of Law

918 LR

Samuel Bagenstos, the Frank G. Millard Professor of Law, specializes in constitutional and civil rights litigation. He currently is serving as general counsel of the Office of Management and Budget and is on leave from the University. From 2009 to 2011, he was a political appointee in the U.S. Department of Justice, where he served as the principal deputy assistant attorney general for civil rights, the No. 2 official in the Civil Rights Division. His accomplishments included the promulgation of the 2010 Americans with Disabilities Act regulations—the first comprehensive update of those regulations since they were first promulgated in 1991—and the reinvigoration of the Civil Rights Division's enforcement of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Olmstead v. L.C., which guarantees people with disabilities the right to live and receive services in the most integrated setting appropriate. He led the negotiations of significant Olmstead settlements with the states of Delaware and Georgia, which guarantee appropriate, community-based services to thousands of people with disabilities. He also personally argued major cases in federal district courts and courts of appeals.

As an academic, Professor Bagenstos has published articles in journals such as the Yale Law Journal, the Stanford Law Review, the Columbia Law Review, the California Law Review, the Virginia Law Review, the Cornell Law Review, the Georgetown Law Journal, and many others. He also has published two books: Law and the Contradictions of the Disability Rights Movement (Yale University Press, 2009) and Disability Rights Law: Cases and Materials (Foundation Press, 2010), and he has written articles for non-academic audiences in publications such as Democracy: A Journal of Ideas, The American Prospect, The Washington Monthly, and The New Republic.

Professor Bagenstos frequently consults with civil rights organizations and remains an active appellate and U.S. Supreme Court litigator in civil rights and federalism cases. He has argued four cases before the Supreme Court, including Young v. United Parcel Service, 135 S. Ct 1338 (2015), which established new protections for pregnant workers, and United States v. Georgia, 546 U.S. 151 (2006), which upheld, as applied to his client's case, the constitutionality of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Professor Bagenstos also has testified before Congress on several occasions, including in support of the Fair Pay Restoration Act, the ADA Amendments Act, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, as well as on the application of the ADA to advancing technology and the problem of mental illness in prisons.

Professor Bagenstos is actively involved in public and community affairs, both in Ann Arbor and statewide. Pursuant to an appointment by Gov. Whitmer, he served as chair of the Michigan Employment Relations Commission, the state agency that enforces the rights of public employees to unionize and collectively bargain. Pursuant to an appointment by Mayor Taylor, he served as a member of the Ann Arbor Housing Commission. And he is a frequent cooperating attorney with the ACLU of Michigan.

Prior to joining the Michigan Law faculty, Professor Bagenstos was a professor of law and, from 2007 to 2008, also associate dean for research and faculty development at Washington University School of Law. He has been on the faculty of Harvard Law School and was a visiting professor at UCLA School of Law. He clerked for the Hon. Stephen Reinhardt on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit for one year, then joined the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. Following that position, he served as a law clerk for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg of the U.S. Supreme Court. In 1993, Professor Bagenstos earned his JD, magna cum laude, from Harvard, where he received the Fay Diploma and was articles office co-chair of the Harvard Law Review. He received his BA, with highest honors and highest distinction, from the University of North Carolina.

Recent Publications

More Publications...

"The ADA Amendments Act and the Projects of the American Disability Rights Movement" UDC L. Rev. (Forthcoming 2020).

"May Hospitals Withold Ventilators from COVID-19 Patients with Pre-Existing Disabilities? Notes on the Law and Ethics of Disability-Based Medical Rationing." Yale L.J. F. 130 (Forthcoming, 2020).
Full Text: SSRN

Wiley, Lindsay F. and Samuel Bagenstos. "The Personal Responsibility Pandemic: Centering Solidarity in Public Health and Employment Law." Ariz. St. L. J. 52 (2020): 1235-1302.
Full Text: MLaw Repository | HEIN (Umich users) | HEIN

"Disability and Reproductive Justice." Harv. L. & Pol'y Rev. 14, no. 2 (2020): 273-92.
Full Text: MLaw Repository | HEIN (UMich users) | HEIN

"Consent, Coercion, and Employment Law." Harv. C.R.-C.L. L. Rev. 55 (2020): 409-65.
Full Text: MLaw Repository | SSRN | WWW

"Who Gets the Ventilator? Disability Discrimination in COVID-19 Medical-Rationing Protocols." Yale L. J. F. 130 (2020): 1-25.
Full Text: MLaw Repository | WWW

"Towards an Urban Disability Agenda." Fordham Urb. L. J. 47, no. 5 (2020): 1335-58.
Full Text: MLaw Repository | SSRN | WWW

"Disability Rights and the Discourse of Justice." SMU L. Rev. F. 73, no. 5 (2020): 26-34.
Full Text: MLaw Repository | WWW

"This is What Democracy Looks Like: Title IX and the Legitimacy of the Administrative State." Review of The Transformation of Title IX: Regulating Gender Equality in Education, by R. Shep Melnick. Mich. L. Rev. 118, no. 6 (2020): 1053-72.
Full Text: MLaw Repository | SSRN

"Taking Choice Seriously in Olmstead Jurisprudence." J. Legal Med. 40, no. 1 (2020): 5-15.

"Legitimacy and Agency Implementation of Title IX." Harv J. L. & Gender 43 (2020): 301-18.
Full Text: MLaw Repository | SSRN | WWW

"Health Professions and the Law." In Disability as Diversity: A Guidebook for Inclusion in Medicine, Nursing, and the Health Professions, edited by Leslie Neal-Boylan and Lisa Meeks, 175-89. Springer, 2020.

"Disorders of Consciousness and Disability Law." Joseph J. Fins and Megan S. Wright, co-authors. Mayo Clinic Proc. 95, no. 8 (2020): 1732-9.
Full Text: WWW

"The Hidden Disability Consensus in the 2020 Campaign." Harold Pollack, Co-author. JAMA Health F. (2020)
Full Text: WWW

"Nevada Department of Human Resources v. Hibbs: Universalism and Reproductive Justice." In Reproductive Rights and Justice Stories, edited by Melissa Murray, Kate Shaw, and Reva Siegel, 183-204. Law Stories. St. Paul, Minn.: Foundation Press, 2019.
Full Text: SSRN

"Implicit Bias's Failure." Berkeley J. Emp. & Lab. L. 39, no. 1 (2018): 37-51.
Full Text: MLaw Repository | HEIN (UMich users) | HEIN | Lexis | Westlaw | WWW

"The EEOC, the ADA, and Workplace Wellness Programs." Health Matrix 27 (2017): 81-100.
Full Text: MLaw Repository | HEIN (UMich users) | HEIN | Lexis | Westlaw

"Racism Didn't Stop at Jim Crow." Review of The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America, by Richard Rothstein. Democracy 46 (2017).
Full Text: MLaw Repository | WWW

"Educational Equality for Children with Disabilities: The 2016 Term Cases." In American Constitution Society Supreme Court Review 2016-2017, edited by S. D. Schwinn, 17-48. American Constitution Society, 2017.
Full Text: SSRN | WWW

"Disability, Universalism, Social Rights, and Citizenship." Cardozo L. Rev. 39, no. 2 (2017): 413-36.
Full Text: MLaw Repository | HEIN (UMich users) | HEIN | Lexis | Westlaw | WWW

"Disability Rights and Labor: Is This Conflict Really Necessary?" Ind. L.J. 92, no. 1 (2017): 277-98.
Full Text: MLaw Repository | HEIN (UMich users) | HEIN | Lexis | Westlaw | SSRN | WWW

"Who is Responsible for the Stealth Assault on Civil Rights?" Review of No Day in Court: Access to Justice and the Politics of Judical Retrenchment, by S. Staszak. Mich. L. Rev. 114, no. 6 (2016): 893-911.
Full Text: MLaw Repository | HEIN (UMich users) | HEIN | Lexis | Westlaw

"From Integrationism to Equal Protection: tenBroek and the Next 25 Years of Disability Rights." U. St. Thomas L.J. 13, no. 1 (2016): 13-32.
Full Text: MLaw Repository | HEIN (UMich users) | HEIN | Lexis | Westlaw | SSRN

"Disparate Impact and the Role of Classification and Motivation in Equal Protection Law after Inclusive Communities." Cornell L. Rev. 101, no. 5 (2016): 1115-69.
Full Text: MLaw Repository | HEIN (UMich users) | HEIN | Lexis | Westlaw | SSRN


Presented at the Fordham Urban Law Journal symposium on "Urban Cities and Accessibility" (2020).

Presented at the Georgetown Journal of Poverty Law and Policy symposium on "Fulfilling Olmstead: Community Living for People with Disabilities" (2019).

Presented at the Stanford Law Review's Symposium on "Judicial Independence" (2019).

Presented at the UDC Law Review's Symposium on "Disability Rights: Past, Present, and Future" (2019).

Presented "Choice, Coercion, and Employment Law" at the Fourteenth Annual Colloquium on Scholarship in Employment and Labor Law held at the University of Nevada Las Vegas (2019).

Presented "Taking Choice Seriously in Olmstead Jurisprudence" at the Georgia State Law Review's symposium on the 20th Anniversary of the Supreme Court's decision in Olmstead v. L.C. (2019).

Argued on behalf of 62 Members of the Michigan Legislature in In re Advisory Opinion on 2018 PA 368 and 369, No. 159160 (Michigan Supreme Court, argued 2019).

Argued on behalf of the Flint Water Cases class plaintiffs in the Sixth Circuit in Guertin v. State of Michigan, 912 F.3d 907 (6th Cir. 2019).