Michigan State University College of Law Awarded Inaugural 1855 Professorship

Michigan State University College of Law will soon welcome a member of Michigan State University’s inaugural cohort of 1855 Professors to its faculty.  

“By hiring a new scholar with expertise in the law of democracy, the College of Law will respond to ongoing crises in our democracy through exploring the structural inequities in U.S. elections,” said Linda Sheryl Greene, MSU Law dean and MSU Foundation professor. “This new scholar will join our exceptionally strong cluster of public law faculty who work in related areas, and their work will advance diversity, equity, and inclusion at MSU Law.”

This scholar’s work will focus on the many legal inequities in the democratic process, including:

  • the impact of U.S. election laws (like restrictions on registration, reduced voting times and locations, and purges of voter rolls) on political power and access;
  • the institutional origins of restrictive election laws and campaign financing systems;
  • the legal tools available to promote a more inclusive political system, such as innovative voting systems and state independent redistricting commissions; and
  • the appropriate roles of courts in reviewing laws that limit the ability of individuals and groups to participate in the political process.

Interest in election law as a matter of social justice has expanded in recent years due to a wave of new state law restrictions on voting access and the beginning of census-based redistricting.

MSU established the 1855 Professorships as a reimagining of the university’s foundational land-grant mission. The nineteenth century land-grant vision of higher education inspired universities to both elevate the pursuit of practical knowledge and to widen educational access to include working class students. Today, the first cohort of cross-disciplinary 1855 Professors will engage in critical public outreach in the areas of minority politics (the College of Social Science), urban journalism (the College of Communication Arts and Sciences), and the intersections of law and democracy (the College of Law).

MSU Law will immediately begin the search for a tenure-system faculty member in the area of election law.