Edward A. Purcell Jr.
Joseph Solomon Distinguished Professor of Law, Emeritus
Edward A. Purcell Jr. is one of the nation’s foremost authorities on the history of the U.S. Supreme Court and the federal judicial system. He first became interested in legal and constitutional issues while studying 20th-Century American intellectual history at the University of Wisconsin, where he earned his Ph.D. After receiving his law degree from Harvard Law School, he practiced for several years in New York City with Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison while doing extensive pro bono work with The Legal Aid Society.
In addition to many scholarly articles, book chapters, and editorial opinion pieces, he has written five books: Antonin Scalia and American Constitutionalism; Originalism, Federalism, and the American Constitutional Enterprise; Brandeis and the Progressive Constitution; Litigation and Inequality; and The Crisis of Democratic Theory. His books and articles have won numerous prizes, including the Frederick Jackson Turner Prize, the Triennial Griswold Book Prize, the Triennial Coif Book Award, the Pelzer Prize, the American Quarterly “Best Article” award, and an American Bar Association Silver Gavel Certificate of Merit.
He served on the boards of the Community Law Offices of The Legal Aid Society, the American Society for Legal History, and the journal Continuity and Change, and he received the New York State Bar Association Pro Bono Service Recognition Award and the Outstanding Pro Bono Participation Award of The Legal Aid Society. He also chaired the Federal Courts Section of the Association of American Law Schools and served for many years on its Executive Committee, and currently serves on the Academic Advisory Board of the Institute for Constitutional Studies at George Washington Law School. In 2013, he received the American Bar Foundation’s Outstanding Scholar Award.