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Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences

Ken I. Kersch

department of political science

photo of Kevin Kersch

J.D., Northwestern University
Ph.D., Cornell University

Curriculum Vitae

Office: McGuinn 515
Phone: 617-552-4167

On Leave 2017-2018 Academic Year – Distinguished Research Fellow, Kinder Institute on Constitutional Democracy, University of Missouri

Ken Kersch is professor of political science, with additional appointments in the university’s history department and law school. His primary interests are American political and constitutional development, American political thought, and the politics of courts. Kersch is the recipient of the American Political Science Association's Edward S. Corwin Award (2000), the J. David Greenstone Prize (2006) from APSA's politics and history section, and the Hughes-Gossett Award from the Supreme Court Historical Society (2006).

Professor Kersch has published many articles in academic, intellectual, and popular journals. He is the author of The Supreme Court and American Political Development (Kansas, 2006) (with Ronald Kahn), Constructing Civil Liberties: Discontinuities in the Development of American Constitutional Law (Cambridge, 2004), and Freedom of Speech: Rights and Liberties Under the Law (ABC-Clio, 2003). He is currently completing a book entitled Conservatives and the Constitution (Cambridge University Press).

Professor Kersch is member of the bar of New York, Massachusetts, and the District of Columbia. He received his B.A. (magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa) from Williams College, his J.D. (cum laude and Order of the Coif) from Northwestern University, and his Ph.D. in government from Cornell University.

Kersch has been a visiting professor at Harvard University (2008) and Bowdoin College (2015). From 2008 – 2012, he was Founding Director of the BC’s Clough Center for the Study of Constitutional Democracy. Prior to coming to Boston, Kersch was the inaugural Ann and Herbert W. Vaughan Fellow in the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions (2001-2002), faculty associate in the Madison Program and the Program in Law and Public Affairs (LAPA), and assistant professor of politics (2003-2007) at Princeton University.

Selected Publications

“Equality,” in John Compton and Karen Orren, editors, Cambridge Companion to the U.S. Constitution (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2017).

Originalism’s Curiously Triumphant Death: The Interpenetration of Aspirationalism and Historicism in U.S. Constitutional Development,” Constitutional Commentary (Summer 2016)(re-published in Problema Anuario de Filosofía y Teoría del Derecho (International Journal on Legal Theory and Philosophy) (forthcoming, January 2017) (Mexico City, Mexico).

Constitutional Conservatives Remember The Progressive Era,” in Stephen Skowronek, Stephen Engel, and Bruce Ackerman, editors, The Progressives’ Century: Democratic Reform and Constitutional Government in the United States (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2016).

Constitutive Stories About the Common Law in Modern American Conservatism,” in Sanford Levinson, Joel Parker, Melissa Williams, editors, NOMOS: American Conservatism (New York: New York University Press, 2016).

The Gilded Age Through the Progressive Era,” in Mark Tushnet, Mark Graber, and Sanford Levinson, editors, Oxford Handbook on The United States Constitution (New York: Oxford University Press, 2015).

The Talking Cure: How Constitutional Argument Drives Constitutional Development," Boston University Law Review 94 (May 2014): 1083-1108.

Systems and Feelings," in James E. Fleming, editor, NOMOS LIII: Passions and Emotions (New York: New York University Press, 2013): 289-303.

Beyond Originalism: Conservative Declarationism and Constitutional Redemption," Maryland Law Review 71 (2011): 229-282.

Review Essay on Philip Hamburger’s Law and Judicial Duty (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2010), Journal of Policy History, 23:4 (2011): 586-593.

Ecumenicalism Through Constitutionalism: The Discursive Development of Constitutional Conservatism in National Review, 1955-1980," Studies in American Political Development (Spring 2011): 1-31.

"A Friend to the Union," A Review of John Marshall: Writings (New York: Library of America, 2010) (Charles Hobson, editor), Claremont Review of Books (Summer 2010): 57-59.

Everything is Enumerated: The Developmental Past and Future of an Interpretive Problem,” University of Pennsylvania Journal of Constitutional Law 8 (September 2006): 957-982.

Justice Breyer’s Mandarin Liberty," University of Chicago Law Review 73 (Spring 2006): 759-822.

How Conduct Became Speech and Speech Became Conduct: A Political Development Case Study in Labor Law and the Freedom of Speech,” University of Pennsylvania Journal of Constitutional Law 2 (March 2006): 255-297.

Smoking, Progressive Liberalism, and the Law,” Critical Review 16 (2005): 405-430.

The New Legal Transnationalism, the Globalized Judiciary, and the Rule of Law," Washington University Global Studies Law Review 4 (2005): 345-387.

The Reconstruction of Constitutional Privacy Rights and the New American State,” Studies in American Political Development 16 (Spring 2002): 61-87.


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