Nicholas Stephanopoulos

Nicholas Stephanopoulos

Professor of Law, Herbert and Marjorie Fried Research Scholar

Nicholas Stephanopoulos’s research and teaching interests include election law, constitutional law, legislation, administrative law, comparative law, and local government law. His academic work has appeared in, among others, the Columbia Law Review, Harvard Law Review, Northwestern University Law Review, NYU Law Review, Stanford Law ReviewUniversity of Chicago Law Review, University of Pennsylvania Law Review, Virginia Law Review, and Yale Law Journal. He has also written for popular publications including The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, the Atlantic, the New Republic, Slate, and Vox. He has been involved in several litigation efforts as well, including the first successful partisan gerrymandering lawsuit in more than thirty years.

Before joining the Law School faculty, he was an Associate-in-Law at Columbia Law School. He previously worked in the Washington, DC office of Jenner & Block LLP, where his practice focused on complex federal litigation, appellate advocacy (including ten Supreme Court briefs), and election law (particularly redistricting and campaign finance). Before entering private practice, he clerked for Judge Raymond C. Fisher of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

A 2006 graduate of Yale Law School, Stephanopoulos also holds an MPhil in European Studies from Cambridge University and an AB in government from Harvard College, graduating summa cum laude in 2001. While at Yale, he served as Editor-in-Chief of the Yale Journal of International Law, received the Jewell Prize for best second-year student contribution to a law journal, and was a finalist in both the moot court and mock trial competitions.


Yale Law School
JD, 2006

  • Jewell Prize for best student contribution to a law journal
  • Morris Tyler Moot Court: Harlan Fiske Stone Prize Finalist
  • Moot Court Board
  • Thomas Swan Barristers’ Union: John Currier Gallagher Prize Finalist

University of Cambridge (Pembroke College)
MPhil in European Studies, 2002  

  • Cambridge Overseas Trust Fellowship
  • Riley Declamation Prize for best speech on a European topic

Harvard University
AB summa cum laude in government, 2001                   

  • Phi Beta Kappa academic honor society
  • John Harvard Scholarship (all eight semesters)
  • Kate and Max Greenman Prize for debate


The University of Chicago Law School
Professor of Law and Herbert and Marjorie Fried Research Scholar, 2017-Present
Assistant Professor of Law, 2012-2017

  • Research interests include election law, constitutional law, legislation, administrative law, comparative law, and local government law
  • Classes taught include Election Law, Constitutional Law, Administrative Law, Canonical Ideas, the Comparative Law of Democracy, and Public Opinion, Public Policy, and the Law
  • Help organize Public Law & Legal Theory Workshop
  • Committee memberships include Appointments and Clinical and Experiential Learning

Harvard Law School
Austin Wakeman Scott Visiting Professor of Law, Fall 2018

  • Teach Election Law and the History of Voting Rights.

Columbia Law School
Associate-in-Law, 2010-2012

  • Taught Legal Practice Workshop to first-year law students
  • Coordinated weekly Associates’ and Fellows’ Workshop
  • Contributed to redistricting project

Jenner & Block LLP Washington, D.C.
Associate, 2007-2010

  • Practice focused on complex federal litigation, appellate advocacy, and election law
  • Drafted sections of 10 Supreme Court briefs on subjects including Voting Rights Act, campaign finance, and criminal procedure

Obama for America
Volunteer Attorney, 2007-2008

  • Carried out legal work for Obama presidential campaign
  • Served in Election Day legal “war room"

Hon. Raymond C. Fisher, Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals San Francisco, CA
Law Clerk, 2006-2007

  • Wrote bench memoranda addressing all aspects of federal appellate cases
  • Worked with judge on draft majority opinions, concurrences, and dissents
  • Assisted judge with preparations for oral argument

Books (Author)

  • Election Law: Cases & Materials (6th ed.) (Carolina Academic Press, 2017) (with Daniel Lowenstein & Richard Hasen & Daniel Tokaji ).cu

Journal Articles

  • "The Dance of Partisanship and Districting," 12 Harvard Law and Policy Review (forthcoming 2019) (symposium contribution).
  • "Disparate Impact, Unified Law," 128 Yale Law Journal 1566 (2019). www
  • "Liable Lies," 7 Constitutional Court Review 1 (2018) (symposium contribution). cu
  • "The Causes and Consequences of Gerrymandering," 59 William and Mary Law Review 2115 (2018) (symposium contribution). cu www
  • "The Measure of a Metric: The Debate Over Quantifying Partisan Gerrymandering," 70 Stanford Law Review 1503 (2018) (with Eric McGhee). cu www
  • "Accountability Claims in Constitutional Law," 112 Northwestern University Law Review 989 (2018). cu www
  • "Quadratic Election Law," 172 Public Choice 265 (2017) (with Eric Posner) (conference paper). cu
  • "Lessons from Litigating for Reform," 16 Election Law Journal 230 (2017). cu
  • "The Concepts of Law," 84 University of Chicago Law Review 147 (2017) (with Tom Ginsburg) (symposium contribution). cu
  • "The Relegation of Polarization," 83 University of Chicago Law Review Online 160 (2017) (A Response to Christopher S. Elmendorf, Kevin M. Quinn, and Marisa A. Abrajano, Racially Polarized Voting, 83 U Chi L Rev 587 (2016).). cu
  • "Civil Rights in a Desegregating America," 83 University of Chicago Law Review 1329 (2016). ssrn cu
  • "The Contours of Constitutional Approval," 94 Washington University Law Review 1 (2016) (with Mila Versteeg). cu
  • "Race, Place, and Power," 68 Stanford Law Review 1323 (2016). ssrn cu www
  • "Political Powerlessness," 90 New York University Law Review 1527 (2015). ssrn cu
  • "Arizona and Anti-Reform," 2015 University of Chicago Legal Forum 477 (2015) (symposium contribution). ssrn cu
  • "Aligning Campaign Finance Law," 101 Virginia Law Review 1425 (2015). ssrn cu
  • "Partisan Gerrymandering and the Efficiency Gap," 82 University of Chicago Law Review 831 (2015) (with Eric McGhee). ssrn cu
  • "The Realities of Electoral Reform," 68 Vanderbilt Law Review 761 (2015) (with Eric McGhee & Steven Rogers). ssrn cu
  • "Teaching Election Law," 13 Election Law Journal 447 (2014) (book review). ssrn cu
  • "Elections and Alignment," 114 Columbia Law Review 283 (2014). ssrn cu
  • "The South After Shelby County," 2013 Supreme Court Review 55 (2013). ssrn cu www
  • "Our Electoral Exceptionalism," 80 University of Chicago Law Review 769 (2013). ssrn cu
  • "The Consequences of Consequentialist Criteria," 3 UC Irvine Law Review 669 (2013) (symposium contribution). ssrn cu
  • "Forecasting the Flashpoints," 125 Harvard Law Review Forum 246 (2012). ssrn cu
  • "Spatial Diversity," 125 Harvard Law Review 1903 (2012). ssrn cu
  • "Redistricting and the Territorial Community," 160 University of Pennsylvania Law Review 1379 (2012). ssrn cu
  • "Communities and the California Commission," 23 Stanford Law and Policy Review 281 (2012) (symposium contribution). ssrn cu
  • "Reforming Redistricting: Why Popular Initiatives to Establish Redistricting Commissions Succeed or Fail," 23 Journal of Law and Politics 331 (2007) (also published in abridged form as an American Constitution Society Issue Brief). ssrn cu
  • Recent Development, "Israel's Legal Obligations to Gaza After the Pullout," 31 Yale Journal of International Law 524 (2006). ssrn cu
  • Policy Comment, "Solving the Due Process Problem with Military Commissions," 114 Yale Law Journal 921 (2005). ssrn cu
  • Case Note, "Stand by Your First Amendment Values - Not Your Ad," 23 Yale Law and Policy Review 369 (2005). ssrn cu
  • "The Case for the Legislative Override," 10 UCLA Journal of International Law and Foreign Affairs 250 (2005) (winner of the Jewell Prize). ssrn cu
  • "Book Review, Terrorism, Freedom, and Security by Philip B. Heymann," 29 Yale Journal of International Law 583 (2004). cu
  • "Book Review, Distant Proximities by James N. Rosenau," 29 Yale Journal of International Law 266 (2004). cu

Book Sections

  • "Aligning Campaign Finance Law," in Democracy by the People: Reforming Campaign Finance in America, Eugene Mazo & Timothy Kuhner eds. (Cambridge University Press, 2018). cu

Other Publications

  • "Elena Kagan Asked for Proof that Gerrymandering Harms Both Political Parties. Here It Is.," Slate, February 27, 2019. www
  • "The Validity of Stopping Voter Suppression," Take Care, November 14, 2018. www
  • "Redistricting Reform in a Democratic House," Harvard Law Review Blog, November 13, 2018. www
  • "In Pennsylvania Gerrymander Case, Experts Can’t Defend the Indefensible," Philadelphia Inquirer, December 7, 2017. www
  • "What Virginia Tells Us, and Doesn’t Tell Us, About Gerrymandering," Los Angeles Times, November 10, 2017. www
  • "The Justices Have Questions About How to Fix Partisan Gerrymandering," Slate, October 4, 2017. www
  • "The Case Against Partisan Gerrymandering," Slate, September 25, 2017. www
  • "The Research that Convinced SCOTUS to Take the Wisconsin Gerrymandering Case, Explained," Vox, July 11, 2017. www
  • "Ending the Real Vote Rigging," Huffington Post, November 7, 2016. www
  • "Beyond Ballots (reviewing Ari Berman, Give Us the Ballot)," The New Rambler, November 11, 2015. www
  • "A Feasible Roadmap to Compulsory Voting," The Atlantic, November 2015. www
  • "Redistricting Could Have the Most Disparate Effect," New York Times Room for Debate, August 5, 2015. www
  • "The False Promise of Black Political Representation," The Atlantic, June 2015. www
  • "California Fixed Redistricting; Will the Supreme Court Break It Again?," Los Angeles Times, February 23, 2015. www
  • "Here’s How We Can End Gerrymandering Once and for All," New Republic (Online), July 2, 2014. www
  • "The Voting Rights Amendment Act of 2014: A Constitutional Response to Shelby County," American Constitution Society Issue Brief, May 8, 2014 (with Gabriel Chin, Gilda Daniels, Samuel Bagenstos & William Yoemans). cu www
  • "The Roads to Same-Sex Marriage," Huffington Post, January 8, 2014. www
  • "The Future of the Voting Rights Act," Slate, October 23, 2013. www
  • "Time to Get the Foxes (Illinois Politicians) Out of the Henhouse (Legislative Redistricting)," Chicago Tribune, July 18, 2013, at p. 19. www
  • "Section Two Minus Section Five," Huffington Post, June 26, 2013. www
  • "Dear Justice Kennedy," Slate, April 1, 2013. www
  • "Don’t Worry About the Voting Rights Act," Slate, November 20, 2012 (with Eric Posner). www
  • "Why the Supreme Court May Soon Strike Down a Key Section of the Voting Rights Act," New Republic, September 2012. www
  • "Can Someone Put a Stop to the Insanity of Political Redistricting?," New Republic (Online), April 4, 2012. www
  • "The Answer to the Gerrymander," Baltimore Sun, January 9, 2012. www
  • "Fox Can't Guard District Henhouse," South Florida Sun-Sentinel, April 9, 2011. www
  • "How to Halt Gerrymandering," New Republic, April 2011. www
  • "Rank the Vote," New Republic, October 2010. www
  • "Don't Water Down Hope for Fair Districts," Tallahassee Democrat, April 25, 2010. www
  • "Britain's New Supreme Court," National Law Journal, December 14, 2009. www
  • "Veil Thine Eyes," New Republic (Online), December 14, 2009. www
  • "Building a Bigger House," Baltimore Sun, November 15, 2009 (with Martina Vandenberg). www
  • "Conservative Unease with Common Law," Philadelphia Inquirer, July 24, 2009. www
  • "Keep Protecting the Rights of Minority Voters," Houston Chronicle, July 20, 2009 (with Paul Smith). www
  • "Resurrecting Bush v. Gore," Dissent, June 2009. www
  • "What Jefferson Said," New Republic, December 2008. www
  • "A Fighting Chance for Redistricting," Los Angeles Times, September 27, 2008. www
  • "Four Out of Nine Ain't Bad," New Republic, June 2008. www
  • "Not Too Hot to Handle," Legal Times, March 3, 2008 (with Matthew Jacobs & Douglas Masters).

Memberships and Professional Affiliations

  • Member of Committee for the Study of Digital Platforms (2018-19)
  • International Board of Advisers, Federal Law Review (2019)
  • Member of Campaign Legal Center’s Litigation Strategy Council aimed at developing strategies for changing campaign finance and redistricting doctrine (2016-18)
  • Adviser to FairVote on potential electoral and legislative reforms (2015-17)
  • Adviser to CHANGE Illinois and Independent Maps on redistricting initiatives (2012-2016)
  • Redistricting adviser for Alabama, Arizona, Connecticut, Maryland, and New York (2011-2012)
  • Board of Directors, American Constitution Society, D.C. Chapter (2009-2010)
  • Admitted to New York Bar (2008), District of Columbia Bar (2009), and Supreme Court Bar (2017)

Awards and Honors

  • Named to The Politico 50 list (2017)
  • Recipient of Independent Voters of Illinois Legal Eagle Award (2017)
  • Named to National Law Journal’s “Chicago’s 40 Under 40” (2013)

Editorial Work

  • Guest editor of Election Law Journal symposium on Partisan Gerrymandering and the Efficiency Gap (2016-17)
  • Referee for Harvard Law Review, Yale Law Journal, University of Chicago Law Review, Journal of Legal Studies, Election Law Journal, Research and Politics, and Political Geography (2011-2015)
  • Advisory Board, Yale Journal of International Law (2008-2009)

Other Activities

  • Commentator on CNN (“Smerconish”), NPR (“All Things Considered”), C-SPAN (“Washington Journal”), WTTW Chicago (“Chicago Tonight”), WBEZ Chicago (“Morning Shift”), Chicago Access Network Television (“Public Affairs”), WHYY Philadelphia (“Radio Times”), WLRN Miami (“Regionally Speaking”), WXXM Madison (“Devil’s Advocates”), NHPR New Hampshire (“The Exchange”), Bloomberg Law Radio, and National Constitution Center’s “We the People” podcast (2012-2019)
  • Attorney in North Carolina and Wisconsin lawsuits based on Partisan Gerrymandering and the Efficiency Gap and first in thirty years to result in favorable rulings for plaintiffs (2015-19)
  • Co-founder of PlanScore website that provides historical data on partisan gerrymandering and allows users to upload plans and learn about their partisan effects (2017-19)
  • Author of Supreme Court amicus brief in Benisek v. Lamone (2018)
  • Author of Supreme Court amicus brief in Parrott v. Lamone (2016)
  • Author of Supreme Court amicus brief in Harris v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission (2015)