Magazine On-line [fall 2012]
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Paul FinkelmanPaul Finkelman, Albany Law School professor, will conduct residency program, give Harlan Lecture

Paul Finkelman, a professor in the Albany Law School and a specialist in American legal history, constitutional law, and race and the law, will be at Transylvania the week of March 3-9 in a residency program that will include presentation of the spring John Marshall Harlan Lecture.

Finkelman 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, N.Y.He is also a Fellow in Law and Humanities at Harvard Law School. He earned his B.A. from Syracuse University and his M.A. and Ph.D., both in American history, from the University of Chicago.

He is the author of more than 150 scholarly articles and over 30 books. His op-ed pieces and shorter works have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Today, and on the Huffington Post. Brian Leister’s Law School Rankings recently named him the ninth most cited legal historian.

Among Finkelman’s areas of scholarly expertise are constitutional history, freedom of religion, the law of slavery, civil liberties and the American Civil War, and legal issues surrounding baseball. He has written extensively on Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln. He was the chief expert witness in the Alabama Ten Commandments monument case, and his scholarship on religious monuments in public spaces was cited by the U.S. Supreme Court in Van Orden v. Perry (2005). The Supreme Court has also cited his scholarship on the Second Amendment, and he was a key expert witness in the suit over who owned Barry Bonds’ 73rd home run ball.

Among his books are Race and the Constitution: From the Philadelphia Convention to the Age of Segregation (2010), In the Shadow of Freedom: The Politics of Slavery in the National Capital (2011), Slavery and the Founders: Race and Liberty in the Age of Jefferson (2001), and Baseball and the American Legal Mind (1995).

Finkelman appeared in Ken Burns’ documentary on Thomas Jefferson and has been an analyst on radio and television programs, including  PBS, NPR, CNN, and ESPN. C-SPAN taped Finkelman’s two-hour class on the Dred Scott case and aired the program nationally. It is now part of C-SPAN’s series on American history. He has also appeared on other C-SPAN programs and on The History Channel.

The John Marshall Harlan Lecture Series honors the 1853 graduate of Transylvania’s Law Department, who served on the U.S. Supreme Court from 1877-1911 and was an early champion of civil rights. He is most notable as the lone dissenter in the Civil Rights Cases (1883) and Plessy v. Ferguson (1896), which struck down as unconstitutional federal anti-discrimination legislation and upheld Southern segregation statutes under the “separate but equal” doctrine.

Date, time, and location of the lecture will be determined. Visit for updated information. The lecture series is made possible by the generosity of McBrayer, McGinnis, Leslie and Kirkland, PLLC.

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