Paul Finkelman

Paul Finkelman

Paul Finkelman, born November 15, 1949 in New York, is an historian and legal scholar. He is the President William McKinley Distinguished Professor of Law and Public Policy, and Senior Fellow in the Government Law Center at Albany Law School in Albany, NY. He is also a regular blogger for Balkinization: and The Huffington Post:

Even though he does not have a law degree, he is considered a legal expert. He has been called "an excellent legal historian." [Bernstein, David E.: "Volokh Conspiracy.",] He has served as an expert witness against Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore in "Glassroth v. Moore" (Al. 2002), the "Ten Commandments" case. He was also an expert witness for the plaintiff in "Popov v. Hayashi" (S.F. Sup. Ct. CA, 2002), which was over who owned Barry Bonds's 73rd home run ball. Professor Finkelman has also been part of Amicus Curie briefs for cases involving Guantanamo and gay marriage in New York State.

He has published over 20 books and more than 100 scholarly articles. He has several focuses, including slavery, race, civil rights, civil liberties, the Constitution, Constitutional Law, and baseball. He is considered one of the world's leading experts on baseball and the law.Fact|date=February 2007

elected Publications

*Documents of American Constitutional and Legal History (2 vols.) Co-edited with Melvin Urofsky. Oxford Univ. Press, 2007.
* A History of Michigan Law. Co-edited with Martin Hershock. Ohio University Press, 2006.
* Encyclopedia of African American History, 1619-1895: From the Colonial Period to the Age of Frederick Douglass. Editor-in-Chief. 3 vols. Oxford University Press, 2006.
* The Encyclopedia of the New American Nation. Editor-in-Chief. 3 vols. Charles Scribners Sons, 2006.
* Constitutional Law In Context. With Michael Kent Curtis, J. Wilson Parker and Davison M. Douglas. 2 vols. 2nd ed., Carolina Academic Press, 2006.
* Terrible Swift Sword: The Legacy of John Brown. Co-edited with Peggy A. Russo. Ohio University Press, 2005.
* American Legal History: Cases and Materials. With Kermit L. Hall and James W. Ely, Jr., Oxford University Press, 3rd ed., 2005.
* Encyclopedia of the Harlem Renaissance. Co-edited with Cary Wintz. 2 vols. Routledge, 2005
* Defending Slavery: Proslavery Thought in the Old South. Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2003.
* Landmark Decisions of the United States Supreme Court. With Melvin I. Urofsky. Congressional Quarterly Press, 2003.
* The Library of Congress Civil War Desk Reference. Co-edited with Margaret Wagner and Gary W. Gallagher. Simon and Schuster, 2002.
* A March of Liberty: A Constitutional History of the United States. With Melvin I. Urofsky. 2 vols. Oxford University Press, 2002.
* Documents of American Constitutional and Legal History. Co-edited with Melvin I. Urofsky. 2 vols. Oxford University Press, 2002.
* Slavery and the Founders: Race and Liberty in the Age of Jefferson. 2nd ed. M.E. Sharpe, 2001.
* The Encyclopedia of American Political History. Co-edited with Peter Wallenstein. Congressional Quarterly Press, 2001.
* Encyclopedia of the United States in the Nineteenth Century. 3 Vols. Editor. Charles Scribner’s Sons, 2001.
* Religion and American Law: An Encyclopedia. Editor. Garland, 2000.
* Impeachable Offenses: A Documentary History from 1787 to the Present. Co-authored with Emily Van Tassel. Congressional Quarterly Press, 1998.
* Macmillan Encyclopedia of World Slavery. 2 Vols. Co-edited with Joseph C. Miller. Macmillan, 1998.
* Dred Scott v. Sandford: A Brief History With Documents. Bedford Books, 1997.
* A Brief Narrative of the Tryal of John Peter Zenger. Edited with an introduction. Bradywine Press, 1997.
* Slavery and the Law. Editor and author of two chapters. Madison House, 1997.
* His Soul Goes Marching On: Responses to John Brown and the Harpers Ferry Raid. Editor and author of two chapters. Univ. Press of Virginia, 1995.
* Baseball and the American Legal Mind. With Spencer Waller and Neil Cohen. Garland, 1995.
* Toward a Usable Past: Liberty Under State Constitutions. Co-editor with Stephen Gottlieb. University of Georgia Press, 1991.
* The Law of Freedom and Bondage: A Casebook. Oceana, 1986.
* Slavery in the Courtroom. Library of Congress, 1985. Recipient of the 1986 Joseph L. Andrews Award from the American Association of Law Libraries.
* An Imperfect Union: Slavery, Federalism, and Comity. University of North Carolina Press, 1981.

Dr. Finkelman has also had entries in numerous encyclopedias and reference works, including: African-American Culture and History, American Cultural and Intellectual History, American National Biography; The American Presidents, Dictionary of Afro-American Slavery; Dictionary of American History (1996 Supplement); Civil Rights in the United States, Encarta, CD-ROM Encyclopedia published by Microsoft; Encyclopedia of African-American Culture and History, Encyclopedia of American Political History Encyclopedia of the Confederacy; Encyclopedia of the Constitution Encyclopedia of the Mexican War Encyclopedia of the Presidency; Historic U.S. Court Cases: An Encyclopedia, Macmillan Encyclopedia of World Slavery, Oxford Companion to American Law, Oxford Companion to the Supreme Court, The Supreme Court Justices: A Biographical Dictionary, Truman Encyclopedia, Encyclopedia of the United States in the Nineteenth Century.

He has had over eighty short book reviews in a wide variety of scholarly journals, numerous essays in newspapers (New York Times, USA Today) and other non-scholarly publications.

He has served on numerous editorial and advisory boards. He has given over one hundred and fifty papers and lectures in the United States, Canada, Great Britain, Germany, Austria, Japan, and Colombia (SA) at universities, professional meetings, ABA sponsored C.L.E. programs, and other forums.

Education and Employment

He received his undergraduate degree in American Studies from Syracuse University in 1971, and his master's degree and doctorate in American History from the University of Chicago in 1972 and 1976 respectively. He was a Fellow in Law and Humanities, Harvard Law School, 1982-83.

He has held the following teaching positions: University of Tulsa College of Law, Chapman Distinguished Professor of Law, 1999-2006; University of Akron School of Law, John F. Seiberling Professor, 1998-99; Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, Baker & Hostetler Visiting Professor, 1997-98; Hamline Law School, Distinguished Visiting Professor, Spring, 1997; University of Miami, Charlton W. Tebeau Visiting Research Professor, 1996 (History); Chicago-Kent College of Law, Fall, 1995; Virginia Tech 1992-95 (History); Brooklyn Law School, 1990-92; SUNY Binghamton, 1984-1990 (History); University of Texas, 1978-84 (History); Texas Law School, Spring, 1982; Washington University, Andrew W. Mellon Faculty Fellow, 1977-78 (History); University of California, Irvine (History), 1976-77.

Fellowships, Grants, and Honors

* Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, Short Term Fellowship, 2001.
* New York State Freedom Trails Program, Advisory Committee, 1998-
* ACLS/American National Biography Writing Fellowship, 1995-96.
* Virginia Social Science Association, Historian of the Year, 1995.
* National Endowment of the Humanities, Summer Stipend, 1985, 1978, 1994.
* American Philosophical Society, Research Grant, 1994.
* Brooklyn Law School, Moot Court Honor Society, Faculty Coach Award, 1992.
* Indiana Historical Society, Research Grant. 1990.
* AMPART lecturer in Bogota, Colombia, 1989; Germany, 1987.
* Director, National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Seminar for Secondary School Teachers, 1989, 1988, 1986.
* Project Director, New York Bicentennial Commission, Lecture Series on the Bill of Rights, Fall, 1989.
* New York State Archives, Research Grant, 1987-88.
* National Endowment for the Humanities Research Fellowship, 1986-87.
* New York African-American Institute, Research Grant, 1986-87.
* New Jersey Historical Commission, Research Grant, 1986.
* Recipient of Joseph L. Andrews Award from American Association of Law Libraries, 1986.
* American Council of Learned Societies, Study Fellowship, 1982-83.
* Harvard Law School Liberal Arts Fellowship, 1982-83.
* American Bar Foundation, Fellowship in Legal History, 1979-80.
* American Philosophical Society Research Grant, 1979.
* Project '87 Research Fellowship, 1979.
* J. Franklin Jameson Fellow at Library of Congress, 1978-79.
* Mellon Faculty Fellow, Washington University, 1977-78.
* Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Alpha Theta, Phi Kappa Phi.
* In 2007 Finkelman was listed as one the ten most cited legal historiansin Brian Leiter's Survey of "Most Cited Law Professors by Specialty,2000-2007".

Dr. Finkelman has also appeared in several historical films, including Ken Burns's documentary on Thomas Jefferson, for which he was invited to the Clinton White House, and a documentary about the Barry Bonds home run ball, "Up for Grabs". He has been on numerous television and radio programs, including NPR, PBS, CNN, and ESPN. He appeared in the movie.

In April, 2007, Dr. Finkelman appeared at Harvard Law School for a retrial of the "Dred Scott v. Sandford" case. He was an expert witness for Sanford. Other expert witnesses included Ken Starr. The court was made up of federal justices; serving as Chief Justice was U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer. Information about the event can be found here:

Dr. Finkelman was cited by U.S. Supreme Court JusticeJohn Paul Stevens in "Van Orden v. Perry" in 2005.


Dr. Finkelman resides in Albany, NY with his wife,Byrgen and two children, Isaac and Abby.


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