For The Record

In their most recent batch of decisions, Supreme Court justices repeatedly cited scholarship by Richmond Law faculty.

One of the highest tributes for legal academic research is a citation by the Supreme Court of the United States. In the latest batch of Supreme Court opinions, justices cited three Richmond Law professors on four occasions.

In his May 2020 concurring opinion in U.S. v. Sineneng-Smith — a case about a provision of the Immigration Nationality Act of 1952 — Justice Clarence Thomas cited professor Jud Campbell’s 2017 Yale Law Journal article “Natural Rights and the First Amendment,” in which Campbell wrote that there is “no evidence [from the founding] indicat[ing] that the First Amendment empowered judges to determine whether particular restrictions of speech promoted the general welfare.”

In the same opinion, Thomas also quoted an earlier opinion citing professor Kevin Walsh’s 2010 New York Law Journal article “Partial Unconstitutionality.” In July, Thomas cited Walsh’s same article a second time in his opinion on Selia Law v. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which found that the structure of the CFPB was unconstitutional due to its violation of the separation of powers.

Finally, Justice Samuel Alito cited professor Corinna Lain’s 2015 Stanford Law Review article “God, Civic Virtue, and the American Way: Reconstructing Engel” in Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue. Alito referred to Lain’s scholarship — which explores the 1962 decision that put an end to public school prayer — in his concurring opinion in the case that found that state-based scholarship programs can’t discriminate against secular schools.