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Cortelyou Kenney

Affiliated Fellow


Ms. Kenney is an Academic Fellow at Cornell Law School, where she dedicates her research and writing to constitutional law, and institutional design. Her research focuses on how structural aspects of our legal system help promote and foster cooperation, or inhibit cooperation, and how to structure institutions at a micro- and macro- level to promote justice. Her background as a cooperation scholar is atypical; she arrived at it as she studied teamwork in her capacity as the Associate Director for the Cornell Law School First Amendment Clinic where she learned the ins and outs of First Amendment doctrines by successfully litigating cases, but also developed an interest in how to structure teams within a clinic space to foster better engagement and collaboration. That naturally led to thinking about other structures, and how to scale the cooperation the Clinic had successfully established within its own little community. Today, she’s working on larger questions of how humans can cooperate by looking to other disciplines such as computer science and game theory, which includes a focus on generosity, forgiveness, and altruism. She also generates scholarship that is more “traditional” within the First Amendment space thinking about First Amendment doctrines that function (or do not function) to promote justice, with an emphasis on race and civil rights. She’s particularly concerned with how the First Amendment can sometimes be used as a weapon to marginalize oppressed groups when it should be protecting them, and she’s currently writing an article on the use of misinformation and propaganda to promote white supremacy and to begin to think about how to unravel that dynamic.

Ms. Kenney is a also an Affiliated Fellow at the Information Society Project at Yale Law School, and a former Research Scholar in Law and Clinical Instructor at Yale Law School’s Media Freedom & Information Access Clinic, where she had an appointment at the Collaboration for Research Integrity and Transparency. Previously, she also taught at Stanford Law School, where she was a Thomas C. Grey Fellow, and was a fellow at the National Women’s Law Center and a litigator at Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale & Dorr in Washington, D.C. She clerked for then-Judge Roger Gregory of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals and Judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum of the Southern District of New York. She graduated summa cum laude from Dartmouth College and received her J.D. from UC Berkeley School of Law, where she received the Philip & Barbara Kaplan Scholarship for academic excellence and commitment to public interest.