Jack M. Balkin

Knight Professor of Constitutional Law and the First Amendment


Jack M. Balkin is Knight Professor of Constitutional Law and the First Amendment at Yale Law School. He is the founder and director of Yale's Information Society Project, an interdisciplinary center that studies law and new information technologies. He also directs the Abrams Institute for Freedom of Expression and the Knight Law and Media Program at Yale.

FULL BIOGRAPHY
Jack M. Balkin

Contact Information



Faculty Assistant


Ann-Marie Cooper

Education & Curriculum Vitae


Ph.D. (Philosophy), University of Cambridge, 1995

J.D., Harvard Law School, 1981

A.B., Harvard University, 1978

Courses Taught


  • Constitutional Law
  • First Amendment
  • Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, and the Law
  • Technology Law
  • Media Law
  • Media Freedom and Information Access Clinic
  • American Constitutional Theory
  • The Information Society
  • Language and Power

Jack M. Balkin is Knight Professor of Constitutional Law and the First Amendment at Yale Law School. He is the founder and director of Yale's Information Society Project, an interdisciplinary center that studies law and new information technologies. He also directs the Abrams Institute for Freedom of Expression, and the Knight Law and Media Program at Yale.

Professor Balkin is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Law Institute. He is the author of over a hundred and forty articles in different fields, including constitutional theory, Internet law, freedom of speech, reproductive rights, jurisprudence, and the theory of ideology. He founded and edits the group blog Balkinization, and has written widely on legal issues for such publications as The New York Times, the Washington Post, the New England Journal of Medicine, the American Prospect, the Atlantic, Washington Monthly, the New Republic, and Slate.

His books include The Cycles of Constitutional Time; Democracy and Dysfunction (with Sanford Levinson); Living Originalism; Constitutional Redemption: Political Faith in an Unjust World; Processes of Constitutional Decisionmaking (7th ed. with Brest, Levinson, Amar, and Siegel); Cultural Software: A Theory of Ideology; The Laws of Change: I Ching and the Philosophy of Life; and What Brown v. Board of Education Should Have Said.

Professor Balkin received his Ph.D in philosophy from Cambridge University, and his A.B. and J.D. degrees from Harvard University. He served as a clerk for Judge Carolyn D. King of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and practiced as an attorney at Cravath, Swaine, and Moore in New York City before entering the legal academy. He has been a member of the law faculties at the University of Texas and the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and a visiting professor at Harvard University, New York University, the Buchman Faculty of Law at Tel Aviv University, and the University of London.
 

Friday, May 7, 2021


Foundations Lecture Series Held at Yale Law School

This spring, the newly launched Foundations Lecture Series featured lectures given by members of the Yale Law School faculty.

Thursday, May 6, 2021


Facebook’s Oversight Board Was Supposed to Let Facebook Off the Hook. It didn’t. — A Commentary by Jack Balkin and Kate Klonick ’18 Ph.D.

Jack Balkin is Knight Professor of Constitutional Law and the First Amendment at Yale Law School. Kate Klonick is an Assistant Professor of Law at St. John’s University School of Law and an Affiliated Fellow at the Information Society Project at Yale Law School.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021


Yale Law Faculty, Alumni Named to Presidential Commission on Supreme Court Reform

A new Presidential Commission on Supreme Court Reform will be co-chaired by Leighton Homer Surbeck Professor of Law Professor Cristina Rodríguez ’00 and includes a total of 14 Yale Law School faculty and alumni.

Monday, March 8, 2021


WIII White Paper Series Tackles Responses to Misinformation

The Wikimedia/Yale Law School Initiative on Intermediaries and Information (WIII) announced the launch of a new white paper series which explores novel regulatory responses to misinformation.

Tuesday, February 23, 2021


Supreme Court Term Limits—Here’s the Best Option

Knight Professor of Constitutional Law and the First Amendment Jack Balkin is quoted in Bloomberg Law about Supreme Court term limits.

Wednesday, February 17, 2021


Democracy Is Weakening Right in Front of Us

Knight Professor of Constitutional Law and the First Amendment Jack Balkin is quoted in the New York Times about the effect of social media on democracy.

Wednesday, February 3, 2021


Trump’s Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Impeachment Defenses

Knight Professor of Constitutional Law and the First Amendment Jack Balkin was interviewed on Slate’s podcast, The Gist, about political polarization.

Wednesday, January 6, 2021


Have Trump’s Lies Wrecked Free Speech?

Sterling Professor of Law Robert Post ’77 and Knight Professor of Constitutional Law and the First Amendment Jack Balkin are quoted in a New York Times commentary by Thomas Edsall.

Monday, January 4, 2021


Professor Balkin Edits Book on Obergefell v. Hodges

In a new book edited by Professor Jack Balkin, legal scholars rewrite the Supreme Court’s landmark gay rights decision in Obergefell v. Hodges.

Tuesday, December 15, 2020


ISP Launches Digital Future White Paper Series

The Information Society Project (ISP) at Yale Law School announced the launch of its Digital Future White Paper Series, which will highlight novel challenges for regulation, inviting participation by academics, researchers, technologists and legal practitioners.

Tuesday, November 3, 2020


The Reagan era never really ended. A Trump loss could change that. — A Commentary by Jack Balkin

Jack Balkin is Knight Professor of Constitutional Law and the First Amendment at Yale Law School. 

Saturday, October 24, 2020


Republicans Don’t Know What to Do With Their Bad-Faith ACA Case

Research by Knight Professor of Constitutional Law and the First Amendment Jack Balkin is cited in an Atlantic article about how social movements impact constitutional law. 

Thursday, September 10, 2020


Professor Balkin Publishes Book on The Cycles of Constitutional Time

In his new book, Professor Jack Balkin looks at the bigger picture of why politics in the United States has broken down and where it is headed.

Friday, July 24, 2020


Jack Balkin Elected to the American Law Institute

Professor Jack M. Balkin has been elected to the American Law Institute (ALI).

Thursday, May 28, 2020


Trump move could scrap or weaken law that protects social media companies

Knight Professor of Constitutional Law and the First Amendment Jack M. Balkin is quoted in a Reuters article about President Trump’s attempt to regulate social media.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020


Trump threatens Twitter over fact checks: What’s next?

Knight Professor of Constitutional Law and the First Amendment Jack Balkin is quoted in an Associated Press story about President Trump’s threat to regulate social media.

Monday, July 22, 2019


Balkin Receives Funding from Knight Foundation to Study Digital Public Sphere

Jack Balkin, Knight Professor of Constitutional Law and the First Amendment and Director of the Information Society Project at Yale Law School, will receive $2 million from the Knight Foundation to launch a new ISP initiative.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019


New York’s Privacy Bill Is Even Bolder Than California’s

Knight Professor of Constitutional Law and the First Amendment Jack M. Balkin is quoted in an article about the New York Privacy Act.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019


Is the Constitution the Problem?

Democracy and Dysfunction (University of Chicago Press 2019) features a series of exchanges about our current political predicament between two prominent scholars of American constitutional law, Jack M. Balkin of Yale Law School and Sanford Levinson of the University of Texas.

Friday, May 10, 2019


Crisis Point? High Stakes in Trump’s Showdown with Congress

Knight Professor of Constitutional Law and the First Amendment Jack Balkin is quoted in an article about whether the country is in a constitutional crisis. 

Tuesday, May 7, 2019


How to Know When it's a Constitutional Crisis

Knight Professor of Constitutional Law and the First Amendment Jack M. Balkin is quoted in an analysis of what rises to the level of a constitutional crisis.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018


How to Make Facebook and Google Behave

Knight Professor of Constitutional Law and the First Amendment Jack Balkin’s idea of information fiduciaries is discussed in an editorial.

Thursday, April 12, 2018


This plan would regulate Facebook without going through Congress

An article discusses Knight Professor of Constitutional Law and the First Amendment Jack Balkin’s concept of an information fiduciary and how it was a topic in the testimony of Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg in the Senate.

Thursday, April 12, 2018


We May Own Our Data, But Facebook Has a Duty to Protect It

The article cites scholarship by Knight Professor of Constitutional Law and the First Amendment Jack Balkin about Facebook’s use of private information.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017


Conference on Government Transparency to Be Held October 27

“Access and Accountability: A Conference for Transparency Advocates” will convene at Yale Law School on Friday, October 27, 2017.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017


Scenes from a Disjunctive Presidency—A Commentary by Jack Balkin

Jack M. Balkin is Knight Professor of Constitutional Law and the First Amendment at Yale Law School.

Monday, February 13, 2017


I asked 8 experts if we’re in a constitutional crisis. Here’s what they said.

Knight Professor of Constitutional Law and the First Amendment Jack Balkin and J. Skelly Wright Professor of Law Heather Gerken are quoted in an article about whether the U.S. is in a constitutional crisis.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017


We Are This Close to a Constitutional Crisis

Knight Professor of Constitutional Law and the First Amendment Jack Balkin is quoted in an article about the possibility of a constitutional crisis.

Friday, January 6, 2017


Do Consumers Need New Rules To Protect Them From Their Robots?

Knight Professor of Constitutional Law and the First Amendment and director of the Information Society Project Jack Balkin is quoted about whether consumers need laws that address the growing presence of robots in their lives.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016


Trump's threat to democracy isn't free speech, it's this—A Commentary by Jack M. Balkin

Jack M. Balkin is Knight Professor of Constitutional Law and the First Amendment at Yale Law School.

Friday, September 16, 2016


“Hacking the Election” Conference to Be Held September 20

The Center for Global Legal Challenges and the Information Society Project will co-host a conference on “Hacking the Election”

Friday, February 19, 2016


Conference to Be Held on Obergefell Decision

At an event titled “What Obergefell v. Hodges Should Have Said,” preeminent law scholars will rewrite the Supreme Court landmark opinion upholding the right of same-sex couples to marry. The conference will take place on April 15, 2016, at 1:15 p.m. in Room 127.

Thursday, July 23, 2015


Transparency, Surveillance, and the Future of First Amendment Law

In a post-Snowden era, while legal scholars and advocates re-examine government transparency and secrecy, the Media Freedom and Information Access Clinic at Yale Law School is working to protect the First Amendment rights of citizens and news media across the country.

Monday, July 13, 2015


Robotics and the law: When software can harm you

YLS professor Jack Balkin is quoted in a press release about a California Law Review article that examines what the introduction of robotics and artificial intelligence means for law and policy.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014


Yale Law School to Hold Conference on First Amendment in the Shadow of Public Health

The Public Health in the Shadow of the First Amendment Conference will take place at Yale Law School on October 17 and 18.

Friday, February 14, 2014


Harvard Law Professor Cass Sunstein to Speak on NSA Surveillance on Feb. 20

Cass Sunstein, the Robert Walmsley University Professor at Harvard Law School, will speak at Yale Law School on Thursday, February 20, about the report on NSA surveillance delivered by the President’s Review Group. 

Thursday, September 5, 2013


Faculty Commentary: Yale Law Professors Weigh in on Syria Debate

With a fervent debate raging over what actions should be taken against the Syrian government in the wake of a suspected chemical attack that killed more than 1,000 Syrians— including hundreds of children — Yale Law faculty offer their opinions and insights on a range of issues impacting the conversation. Below is a sampling of the most recent commentaries and interviews.

Thursday, June 28, 2012


Reaction: Supreme Court Rules on Health Care Law

Yale Law School faculty members and lecturers comment on the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark ruling on the health care law.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012


Conference on Jack Balkin’s Living Originalism Will Look at Constitutional Interpretation

“Constitutional Interpretation and Change: A Conference on Jack Balkin’s Living Originalism” will be held on April 27-28, 2012, at Yale Law School.

Friday, January 29, 2010


Yale ISP To Host A2K4 Conference on Access to Knowledge and Human Rights February 11-13

The Information Society Project at Yale Law School will host its fourth Access to Knowledge Conference February 11-13 at Yale Law School.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


China Law Center Co-Hosts Anti-Discrimination Workshop in Chengdu

Yale Law School's Jack Balkin (behind left), Paul Gewirtz '70 (left), and Reva Siegel ’86 (right) attended. 

Friday, February 1, 2008


Professor Jack Balkin Discusses Workshop on Anti-Discrimination Law in China

On January 19 and 20, the China Law Center co-hosted a workshop on anti-discrimination law at Sichuan University Law School.

Monday, January 14, 2008


Balkinization Blog Celebrates Fifth Anniversary

Professor Jack Balkin’s Balkinization blog celebrated its fifth anniversary on January 13, 2008.

Thursday, October 27, 2005


A2K Initiative Explores Access to Knowledge

In classrooms and offices at Yale Law School, a coterie of students, faculty, and fellows have been avidly discussing the concept of "access to knowledge." The Information Society Project has launched a broad initiative on the subject--the A2K Initiative--including a seminar, a reading group, and an upcoming conference. "It's been a very intense semester so far," says David Tannenbaum '07, one of the participants in those discussions.