Biography

Kermit Roosevelt III is a professor of constitutional law at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, a former clerk for Supreme Court Justice David Souter, and an award-winning author. A frequent op-ed contributor, his work has appeared in The New York Times, the Foreign Policy Research Institute, The Washington Times, TIME, The Huffington Post, and The Hill, among many other outlets. He serves as a media expert and keynote speaker, discussing topics including constitutional law, the Supreme Court, national security, civil rights, federal authority in wartime, U.S. presidential history, leadership, conflict of laws, Japanese American internment, and writing.

Roosevelt is a board member of the Theodore Roosevelt Library and Museum Foundation, the U.S. Presidential Scholars Foundation, and the National Constitution Center’s Coalition of Freedom. He is a distinguished research fellow of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania and a member of the American Law Institute. In November 2014, the American Law Institute announced that he had been selected as the Reporter for the Third Restatement of Conflict of Laws. He is also a lecturer for Kaplan Bar Review and prepares students in all 50 states for the Constitutional Law portion of the bar exam.

As a novelist, Roosevelt illuminates important social, cultural and political issues in America. His latest book, Allegiance, the Foreign Policy Research Institute Book of the Week and a Richmond Times-Dispatch Best Book of the Year, plunges readers into the battle within the US government surrounding the Japanese American internment during World War II. Hailed as “a marvelous and timely“ (The Richmond Times-Dispatch) and “brilliant” (The Authors Guild), the book combines the momentum of a top-notch legal thriller with a thoughtful examination of one of the worst civil rights violations in US history. The Wall Street Journal praised Allegiance for its “luminous prose” and relevance to current political issues: “The profound questions that it raises—about the powers of the president in times of war, the tensions between liberty and security, and the role of the courts in resolving those tensions—remain as important in today’s threat-filled world as they were some three quarters of a century ago.” Roosevelt was a finalist for the Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction and winner of the public vote.

He won the Philadelphia Athenaeum Annual Literary Award for his debut novel In the Shadow of the Law , a national campus bestseller that was drawn from his experiences clerking for DC Circuit Judge Stephen F. Williams and Supreme Court Justice David Souter, and practicing law in Chicago.  The novel was The New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice Selection and a Christian Science Monitor Best Book of the Year. In a New York Times review of the novel, Alan Dershowitz wrote, “I recommend this book with real enthusiasm. Why? Precisely because it doesn’t glamorize its subject. Roosevelt’s gritty portrayal of the transformation of bright-eyed and colorful young associates into dim-eyed and gray middle-aged partners (no one seems to make it to his or her golden years) rings true of all too many corporate law factories.” Paramount filmed a pilot episode (written by Carol Mendelsohn) for a TV series based on the novel, starring Joshua Jackson, Frank Langella, Kevin Pollack, and Monet Mazur.

His nonfiction books include Conflict of Laws, an accessible analytical overview of conflicts, and The Myth of Judicial Activism: Making Sense of Supreme Court Decisions, that sets standards by which citizens can determine whether the Supreme Court is abusing its authority. He has published articles in the Virginia Law Review, the Michigan Law Review, and the Columbia Law Review, among others; and his articles have been cited twice by the Supreme Court. Coursera hosts his online class entitled Introduction to Key Constitutional Concepts and Supreme Court Cases. 

Born in Washington, DC, he attended Harvard University and Yale Law School, and is the great-great-grandson of President Theodore Roosevelt.

 

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