William Eskridge, Jr.

John A. Garver Professor of Jurisprudence


Professor William N. Eskridge, Jr. is the John A. Garver Professor of Jurisprudence at Yale Law School. His primary legal academic interest has been statutory interpretation. Together with Professor Philip Frickey, he developed an innovative casebook on Legislation. In 1990-95, Professor Eskridge represented a gay couple suing for recognition of their same-sex marriage. Since then, he has published a field-establishing casebook, three monographs, and dozens of law review articles articulating a legal and political framework for proper state treatment of sexual and gender minorities.  

FULL BIOGRAPHY

Contact Information



Faculty Assistant


Patricia Page

Education & Curriculum Vitae


J.D., Yale Law School, 1978

M.A., Harvard University, 1974

B.A., Davidson College, 1973

Courses Taught


  • Constitutional Law
  • Legislation
  • Sexuality, Gender, and the Law
  • Theories of Statutory Interpretation
  • Introduction to the Regulatory State

Born and raised in Princeton, West Virginia in 1951, Professor Eskridge is the son of William Nichol and Elizabeth DeJarnette Eskridge. He received his B.A., summa cum laude, from Davidson College in 1973 and his Masters in History from Harvard University in 1974. His Honors thesis at Davidson focused on the fideism of Hugenot exile Pierre Bayle (1647-1715). At Harvard, his primary Masters thesis analyzed the political thought of the Marian exiles (1553-58). Professor Eskridge earned his J.D. from Yale Law School, where he was the Note & Topics Editor of The Yale Law Journal (1977-78). After clerking for Judge Edward Weinfeld and practicing law at Shea & Gardner, he became a law professor. His primary academic homes have been the Georgetown University Law Center (1987-98) and the Yale Law School (1998-present), but Professor Eskridge has also taught at NYU, Stanford, Toronto, Harvard, Columbia, Virginia, and Vanderbilt. His primary legal academic interest has been statutory interpretation. Together, Professor Eskridge and Professor Philip Frickey (a friend from Shea & Gardner) developed an innovative casebook on Legislation. Professor Eskridge has also published a monograph and several dozen law review articles (many with Frickey) on statutory interpretation theory and practice. Professors Eskridge and Frickey's project has been to understand the dynamics of statutory evolution, and the proper methodology judges should apply when construing statutes. In 1990-95, Professor Eskridge represented a gay couple suing for recognition of their same-sex marriage.  Since then, he has published a field-establishing casebook, three monographs, and dozens of law review articles articulating a legal and political framework for proper state treatment of sexual and gender minorities.  The historical materials in his book on Gaylaw formed the basis for an amicus brief he drafted for the Cato Institute and for much of the Court’s (and the dissenting opinion’s) analysis in Lawrence v. Texas (2003), which invalidated consensual sodomy laws.

Monday, June 26, 2017


How Marriage Equality Strengthened Marriage And Changed Religion—A Commentary by William N. Eskridge, Jr. ’78

Professor William N. Eskridge, Jr. ’78 is the John A. Garver Professor of Jurisprudence at Yale Law School.

Monday, May 1, 2017


Professor Eskridge Joins Amicus Brief in Travel Ban Case

Professor William Eskridge Jr. ’78 joined a group of 50 legal scholars to file an amicus brief in federal court in the case of IRAP v. Trump.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017


Thinking like millennials—A Commentary by Mary Crossley, William Eskridge ’78, and Robin Fretwell Wilson

Mary Crossley is a law professor and disability and health law scholar at the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Law; William Eskridge ’78 is the John A. Garver Professor of Jurisprudence at Yale Law School; Robin Fretwell Wilson is the Roger and Stephany Joslin Professor of Law at the University of Illinois College of Law.

Monday, March 6, 2017


Christian Bakers, Gay Weddings, and a Question for the Supreme Court

John A. Garver Professor of Jurisprudence William Eskridge ’78 is quoted in an article about the tension between gay rights and religious beliefs.

Monday, October 24, 2016


LGBT group sues Utah over anti-gay school laws

John A. Garver Professor of Jurisprudence Bill Eskridge ’78 is quoted in an article about a lawsuit in Utah, challenging restrictions around LGBT rights.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016


Alito, Thomas to Headline Federalist Society Annual Convention

The annual Federalist Society Convention happening next month will feature Sterling Professor of Law Akhil Amar ’84 and John A. Garver Professor of Jurisprudence William Eskridge ’78, as well as numerous alums including Supreme Court Justices Clarence Thomas ’74 and Samuel Alito ’75.

Saturday, October 8, 2016


Op-ed: Churches need not fear that same-sex marriage will be forced on them—A Commentary by William N. Eskridge Jr. ’78

William N. Eskridge, Jr. ’78 is the John A. Garver Professor of Jurisprudence at Yale Law School.

Monday, August 22, 2016


Transgender Students Face Unsettled Rules on Bathrooms as They Return to School

John A. Garver Professor of Jurisprudence William Eskridge ’78 is quoted in an article on recommended guidelines for school districts regarding bathroom use by transgender students.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016


What Is 'Sex?' Transgender Bathroom Fight Doesn't Offer Easy Answers

John A. Garver Professor of Jurisprudence Bill Eskridge ’78 is quoted in an article by Daniel Fisher ’04 MSL about the debate over which bathrooms transgendered people should use.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016


North Carolina vs the Justice Department; The Need for Party Unifiers; Do Approval Ratings Matter?

John A. Garver Professor of Jurisprudence William Eskridge ’78 appeared on the Brian Lehrer show to talk about whether the courts will rule that North Carolina must comply with the Justice Department’s finding that the state’s HB2 law violates federal civil rights.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016


Target Steps Out in Front of Bathroom Choice Debate

John A. Garver Professor of Jurisprudence Bill Eskridge ’78 is quoted in an article about Target’s policy that allows people to use the restroom that corresponds to their gender identities.

Saturday, April 23, 2016


Gurvey's Law

John A. Garver Professor of Jurisprudence William Eskridge ’78 was a guest where he discussed North Carolina’s new HB2 law.

Monday, March 28, 2016


Lawsuit Challenges North Carolina Anti-Discrimination Law

John A. Garver Professor of Jurisprudence William Eskridge ’78 is quoted in an article on the legal challenge to a North Carolina anti-discrimination law.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016


N.C. blocks LGBT-rights law: Is there middle ground in bathroom debate?

John A. Garver Professor of Jurisprudence Bill Eskridge ’78 is quoted in an article about a North Carolina law that restricts restroom use to biological gender.

Thursday, March 10, 2016


With gay marriage bill, Missouri conservatives ask: What about us?

John A. Garver Professor of Jurisprudence William Eskridge ’78 is quoted in an article about a proposed Missouri constitutional amendment that would allow individuals to opt out of providing services for same-sex marriages.

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.

Sunday, February 14, 2016


How Antonin Scalia Changed America: 19 top legal thinkers on the justice’s legacy for the court, the law and the public.

John A. Garver Professor of Jurisprudence William Eskridge ’78, Jeffrey Rosen ’91, Ilya Somin ’01, Noah Feldman ’07, and Kermit Roosevelt ’97 are among contributors to an article about the legacy of Justice Scalia.

Saturday, February 13, 2016


Antonin Scalia Dies, And Obama Could Transform The Supreme Court

John A. Garver Professor of Jurisprudence William Eskridge ’78 is quoted in an article about the death of Justice Scalia written by Daniel Fisher ’04 MSL.

Monday, February 8, 2016


Student’s Arctic Trip Emphasizes Need for Climate Law

In July and August of 2015, Joanna Dafoe ’17 JD/MBA joined a Students on Ice trip as a member of the staff during a trip to the Arctic regions of Greenland and Canada.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015


Martyr or lawbreaker? Kim Davis case roils Republicans

John A. Garver Professor of Jurisprudence William Eskridge ’78 is quoted in an article about Kentucky clerk Kim Davis.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015


As Southern clerks stop same-sex marriages, a search for compromise

John A. Garver Professor of Jurisprudence William Eskridge ’78 is quoted about the implementation of the Supreme Court’s ruling on same-sex marriage.

Monday, June 29, 2015


Did the Roberts Court Really Lurch Left?

J. Skelly Wright Professor of Law Heather Gerken and John A. Garver Professor of Jurisprudence William Eskridge ’78 contributed to a roundtable about the Roberts court.

Friday, June 26, 2015


SCOTUS Rules 5-4 in Favor of Marriage Equality

John A. Garver Professor of Jurisprudence William Eskridge, Jr. ’78 was a guest where he discussed the Supreme Court ruling in favor of same-sex marriage rights.

Friday, June 19, 2015


The 14th Amendment should cover same-sex marriage in Ohio—A Commentary by William N. Eskridge, Jr. ’78

William N. Eskridge Jr. ’78 is the John A. Garver Professor of Jurisprudence at Yale Law School.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015


A worldwide history of marriage equality

John A. Garver Professor of Jurisprudence William Eskridge, Jr. ’78 is quoted in an article about the history of marriage equality around the world.

Saturday, April 25, 2015


It’s Not Gay Marriage vs. the Church Anymore—A Commentary by William N. Eskridge Jr. ’78

William N. Eskridge Jr. ’78 is the John A. Garver Professor of Jurisprudence at Yale Law School.

Friday, April 17, 2015


Gay rights and religious liberty: Can Americans have both?

John A. Garver Professor of Jurisprudence William Eskridge, Jr. ’78 is quoted in an article about gay rights.

Saturday, February 21, 2015


Flood of Briefs on the Health Care Law’s Subsidies Hits the Supreme Court

John A. Garver Professor of Jurisprudence William Eskridge, Jr. ’78 is quoted in an article about legal briefs submitted to the Supreme Court regarding the legal challenge to the Affordable Care Act.

Friday, March 22, 2013


Student Clinic Works to Prepare Historic Proposition 8 Case for High Court

Students from Yale Law School’s San Francisco Affirmative Litigation Project (SFALP) describe their experiences working on landmark same-sex marriage case.

Thursday, March 21, 2013


Yale Law School Professors, Alumni Submit Amicus Briefs in Hollingsworth v. Perry

Yale Law School faculty discuss filing legal briefs in Hollingsworth v. Perry case, which will go before the Supreme Court on March 26, 2013.

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.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


Pregnancy Discrimination Act Symposium Nov. 7-8

PDA symposium also marks 20th anniversary of The Yale Journal of Law and Feminism

Books

Interpreting Law: A Primer on How to Read Statutes and the Constitution (Foundation 2016)

Statutes, Regulations, and Interpretation: Legislation and Administration in the Republic of Statutes (West 2014) (co-authored with Abbe R. Gluck and Victoria F. Nourse)

A Republic of Statutes: The New American Constitution  (Yale University Press, 2010)

Gay Marriage: For Better or For Worse? (Oxford, 2006) (co-authored with Darren Spedale)

Equality Practice: Civil Unions and the Future of Gay Rights (Routledge, 2002)

Gaylaw: Challenging the Apartheid of the Closet (Harvard, 1999)

Constitutional Stupidities, Constitutional Tragedies (NYU, 1998) (co-authored and edited with Sanford Levinson)

Sexuality, Gender, and Law (Foundation, 1997; 2d ed. 2004; paper ed. 2005) (co-authored and edited with Nan Hunter)

The Case for Same-Sex Marriage (Free Press, 1996)

Cases and Materials on Constitutional Law: Themes for the Constitution’s Third Century (West, 1993; 2d ed. 1998; 3d ed. 2003) (co-edited with Daniel Farber and Philip Frickey)

Hart and Sacks, The Legal Process: Problems in the Making and Application of Law (Foundation, 1994) (co-authored and edited with Philip Frickey)

Dynamic Statutory Interpretation (Harvard, 1994)

Cases and Materials on Legislation: Statutes and the Creation of Public Policy (West, 1987; 2d ed. 1994; 3d ed. 2001) (co-edited with Philip Frickey and, after 2001, Elizabeth Garrett)

A Dance Along the Precipice: Political and Economic Dimensions of the International Debt Problem (Lexington, 1985) (editor and contributor)
 

(Selected) Articles

“The First Marriage Cases, 1970-74,” in Love Unites Us: Winning the Freedom to Marry in America 21-27 (Kevin M. Cathcart & Leslie J. Gabel-Brett, eds., 2016)

“Law and the Production of Deceit,” in Austin Sarat ed., Law and Lies: Deception and Truth-Telling in the American Legal System 254-312 (2015)

“Original Meaning and Marriage Equality,” 52 Hous. L. Rev. 1067 (2015)

“Congressional Overrides of Supreme Court Statutory Interpretation Decisions, 1967-2011,” 92 Tex. L. Rev. 1317 (2014) (with Matthew R. Christiansen)

“Backlash Politics: How Constitutional Litigation Has Advanced Marriage Equality in the United States,” 93 B.U.L. Rev. 275 (2013)

“Expanding Chevron’s Domain: A Comparative Institutional Analysis of the Relative Competence of Courts and Agencies to Interpret Statutes,” 2013 Wis. L. Rev. 411

“The New Texualism and Normative Canons,” 113 Colum. L. Rev. 531 (2013) (book review)

“Marriage Equality: An Idea Whose Time Is Coming,” 37 NYU Rev. L. & Soc. Change 245 (2013)

“Nino’s Nightmare: Legal Process Theory  as a Jurisprudence of Toggling Between Facts and Norms,” 57 St. Louis U.L. Rev. 865 (2012)

“Vetogates and American Public Law,” J.L. Econ. & Org. (April 2012), available online at http://jleo.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2012/04/19/jleo.ews009.abst...

“Family Law Pluralism: A Guided-Choice Regime of Menus, Default Rules, and Override Rules,” 100 Geo. L.J. 1881 (2012)

“Noah’s Curse: How Religion Often Conflates Status, Belief, and Conduct to Resist Antidiscrimination Norms,” 45 Ga. L. Rev. 657 (2011)

“Is Political Powerlessness a Requirement for Heightened Equal Protection Scrutiny?,” 50 Washburn L.J. 1 (2010)

“Chevron as a Canon, Not a Precedent: An Empirical Study of What Motivates Justices in Agency Deference Cases,” 110 Colum. L. Rev. 1727 (2010) (with Connor N. Raso)

“The California Proposition 8 Case: What Is a Constitution For,” 98 Calif. L. Rev. 1235 (2010)

“Sexual and Gender Variation in American Public Law: From Malignant to Tolerable to Benign,” 57 UCAL L. Rev. 1333 (2010) 

 

Legislative Materials

Senate Office of the Legislative Counsel, Legislative Drafting Manual (1997)