WASHINGTON, DC – Akhil Amar, an Indian American professor at Yale University, was nominated by President Barack Obama May 20 to the National Council on the Humanities, a key administration post.
Akhil Reed Amar is the Sterling Professor of Law and Political Science at Yale, a position he has held since 2008, where he teaches constitutional law. He has been a professor at both Yale Law School and Yale College since 1985 and has held various professorships, including Southmayd Professor from 1993 to 2008, professor from 1990 to 1993, associate professor from 1988 to 1990, and assistant professor from 1985 to 1988.
Amar worked as a law clerk to Judge Stephen Breyer, then of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, from 1984 to 1985. He is the co-editor of a constitutional law casebook, “Processes of Constitutional Decisionmaking,” and has written several other books on constitutional law.
A member of the Board of Directors of the Constitutional Accountability Center and the Coalition of Freedom Advisory Board of the National Constitution Center, Amar was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2007 and was named a Senior Scholar by the National Constitution Center in 2000.
Amar received his B.A., summa cum laude, in 1980 from Yale College, and J.D. from Yale Law School, where he served as an editor of “The Yale Law Journal,” according to his bio on the Yale Law School Web site.
He is also the author of several books, including “The Constitution and Criminal Procedure: First Principles” (Yale Univ. Press, 1997), “The Bill of Rights: Creation and Reconstruction” (Yale Univ. Press, 1998), “America’s Constitution: A Biography” (Random House, 2005), and most recently, “America’s Unwritten Constitution: The Precedents and Principles We Live By” (Basic Books, 2012).
According to his Wikipedia page, a “Legal Affairs” poll placed Amar among the top 20 contemporary U.S. legal thinkers.
Amar was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where his parents were medical students from India studying at the University of Michigan.
He graduated from Las Lomas High School in Walnut Creek, Calif., in 1976. His brother, Vikram Amar, is a law professor and the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at the UC Davis School of Law.
The Supreme Court has cited his work in over 20 cases, including the landmark 1998 decision in “Clinton v. City of New York,” which ruled the presidential line-item veto unconstitutional.
Amar was also a consultant to the television show “The West Wing,” on which the character Josh Lyman refers to him in an episode in Season Five. His course on constitutional law is one of the most popular undergraduate offerings at Yale College.
He spent the Fall 2010 semester as a visiting professor of law at Pepperdine School of Law and was also named the B.R. Ambedkar Professor of Indian Constitutional Law at Columbia Law School in April 2010.