Laurence Tribe

Laurence Tribe

Infobox Scientist
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name = Laurence Tribe

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birth_date = birth date and age|1941|10|10
birth_place = Shanghai, China
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nationality = flag|United States
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fields = Constitutional law
workplaces = Harvard Law School
alma_mater = Harvard University
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notable_students = Kathleen Sullivan
Barack Obama
John G. Roberts
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Laurence Henry Tribe (born October 10, 1941) is a professor of constitutional law at Harvard Law School and the Carl M. Loeb University Professor. He also serves as a consultant for the law firm of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld.

Tribe is generally recognized as one of the foremost constitutional law experts and Supreme Court practitioners in the United States. He is the author of "American Constitutional Law" (1978), the most frequently cited treatise in that field, and has argued before the U.S. Supreme Court 36 times.


Tribe attended Abraham Lincoln High School in San Francisco, California. He holds an A.B. in Mathematics, summa cum laude from Harvard College (1962), and a J.D., magna cum laude from Harvard Law School (1966). Tribe was a champion policy debater at Harvard, and later a college coach and high school summer institute teacher.


Tribe served as a law clerk to Matthew Tobriner on the California Supreme Court from 1966-67, and as a law clerk to Potter Stewart of the U.S. Supreme Court from 1967-68. He joined the Harvard Law School faculty as an assistant professor in 1968, receiving tenure in 1972.

In addition to his stature as a scholar, Tribe is noted for his extensive support of liberal legal causes. He has argued many high-profile cases, including one for Al Gore during the disputed U.S. presidential election, 2000. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled against Tribe's client in "Bowers v. Hardwick" in 1986, holding that a Georgia state law criminalizing sodomy, as applied to consensual acts between persons of the same sex, did not violate fundamental liberties under the principle of substantive due process. However, he was vindicated in 2003, when the Supreme Court overruled Bowers in "Lawrence v. Texas". He wrote the ACLU's amicus curiae brief supporting Lawrence, who was represented by Lambda Legal.

Tribe was considered a potential Supreme Court nominee until he testified against Robert Bork, making lasting enemies in the U.S. Senate (although he supported Anthony Kennedy who was eventually appointed in Bork's place). His protege, Kathleen Sullivan, is now thought of by many as a potential Court nominee if a Democrat takes the White House; he has called her "the most extraordinary student I had ever had." [cite news|url=|title=Congratulations Dean Sullivan|publisher=Harvard Law Bulletin|date=Summer 1999|author=Nancy Waring] Tribe continues to strongly support liberal political causes. He is one of the co-founders of the liberal American Constitution Society, the law and policy organization formed to counter the conservative and libertarian Federalist Society.

He is actively supporting the candidacy of Barack Obama, and describes Obama as "the best student I ever had." [cite news |first=Shira |last=Schoenberg |authorlink= |coauthors= |title=Law expert: Obama will preserve Constitution |url= |work=Concord Monitor |publisher= |date=November 14, 2007 |accessdate= ] [cite news |first=Charlie |last=Savage |authorlink= |coauthors= |title=Barack Obama's Q&A |url= |work=Boston Globe |publisher= |date=December 20, 2007 |accessdate= ]


The October 4, 2004 issue of the "Weekly Standard", a conservative political magazine, reported that a passage in Tribe's 1985 work, "God Save This Honorable Court", is identical to a passage in "Justices and Presidents", a 1974 book by Henry J. Abraham, a University of Virginia political scientist. [] [] On April 13, 2005, Harvard's President Lawrence Summers and Harvard Law School Dean Elena Kagan released a statement that Tribe's admitted failure to provide appropriate attribution was a "significant lapse in proper academic practice," but that they regarded the error as "the product of inadvertence rather than intentionality."

Many Tribe defenders — including his friend and Harvard Law colleague Alan Dershowitz — accuse conservative detractors of having a vendetta against Tribe because his book "God Save This Honorable Court" is believed by some to have goaded the U.S. Senate into action and may have frustrated some of the judicial appointments of Ronald Reagan, including the appointment of Robert Bork, to the Supreme Court.


A complete list of the 34 cases Tribe has argued in the U.S. Supreme Court as of the end of 2005 is as follows:

Tribe has argued 26 cases in the U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeals:


* "The Invisible Constitution" (2008)
* "American Constitutional Law" (treatise) (1978, 1979, 1988, and 2000)
* "On Reading the Constitution" (1991) (co-author with Michael Dorf)
* "Abortion: The Clash of Absolutes" (1990)
* "Constitutional Choices" (1985)
* "God Save This Honorable Court: How the Choice of Supreme Court Justices Shapes Our History" (1985)
* "The Supreme Court: Trends and Developments" (1979, 1980, 1982, 1983)
* "When Values Conflict: Essays on Environmental Analysis, Discourse, and Decision" (1976) (ed.)
* "The American Presidency: Its Constitutional Structure" (1974)
* "Channeling Technology Through Law" (1973)
* "Environmental Protection" (1971) (co-author with Louis Jaffe)
* "Technology: Processes of Assessment and Choice" (1969)


Reflist|2 4. Washington, Ellis, (Sept. 13, 2008). "Tribe's Tribalisms,",

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