Ronald D. Rotunda

Ronald D. Rotunda is the Doy & Dee Henley Chair and Distinguished Professor of Jurisprudence, at Chapman University, Dale E. Fowler School of Law. Before that, he was University Professor and Professor of Law at George Mason University and the Albert E. Jenner, Jr. Professor of Law, the University of Illinois.  He is a magna cum laude graduate of both Harvard College and Harvard Law School, where he was a member of Harvard Law Review. Before that, he clerked for Judge Walter R. Mansfield 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals).  He practiced law in Washington, D.C., and was assistant majority counsel for the Senate Watergate Committee.
He has co-authored the most widely used course book on legal ethics, Problems and Materials on Professional Responsibility (Foundation Press, 12th ed. 2014); author of a leading course book on constitutional law, Modern Constitutional Law (West Academic Co., 11th ed. 2015);  coauthor (with John Dzienkowski) of, Legal Ethics: The Lawyer’s Deskbook on Professional Responsibility (ABA-Thompson Reuters Publishing, 2016-2017 Ed.);  co-author (with John Nowak) of the six-volume Treatise on Constitutional Law (West/Thompson Reuters Publishing, 5th ed. 2012)( annually updated), and the one volume Treatise on Constitutional Law (West Academic, 8th ed. 2010).  He published several other books and more than 500 articles in law reviews, journals, newspapers in this country and abroad. His works have been translated into French, Portuguese German, Romanian, Czech, Russian, Japanese, and Korean.  State and federal courts at every level, foreign courts in Europe, Africa, Asia, and South America, and law reviews have cited his publications more than 2000 times.  
In 1993, he was the Constitutional Law Adviser to the Supreme National Council of Cambodia, and assisted that country in writing its first democratic constitution. He consulted with new democracies in Moldova, Romania, and Ukraine on their proposed constitutions and judicial codes. He chaired the subcommittee that drafted the American Bar Association’s Model Rules for Lawyer Disciplinary Enforcement; was a member of the Publications Board of the ABA Center for Professional Responsibility (1994 to 2016); and was member of the ABA Standing Committee on Professional Discipline (1991-1997). He was Fulbright Professor in Venezuela (1986) and Fulbright Research Scholar in Italy (1981). In 1996, he assisted the Czech Republic in drafting the first Rules of Ethics for lawyers.  He was a Visiting Scholar, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Faculty of Law, Leuven, Belgium, and a visiting lecturer at the Institute of Law and Economics, Institut für Recht und Ökonomik, the University of Hamburg.  From early June 2004 to May 2005, he was the Special Counsel to the Department of Defense.
In May 2000, American Law Media, publisher of The American Lawyer, the National Law Journal, and the Legal Times picked Rotunda as one of the ten most influential Illinois Lawyers.   Also in 2000, a University of Chicago Press study to determine the influence, productivity, and reputations of law professors over the last several decades, ranked Rotunda as the 17th highest in the nation.  The 2002-2003 New Educational Quality Ranking of U.S. Law Schools (EQR) [the last year for which such records are available] ranks Professor Rotunda as the eleventh most cited of all law faculty in the United States. See http://www.leiterrankings.com/faculty/2002faculty_impact_cites.shtml.He was selected the Best Lawyer in Washington, DC, in 2009 in Ethics and Professional Responsibility Law, as published in November 2008 in the Washington Post in association with the Legal Times.  When he moved to California, he was similarly selected every year, since 2009.  From 2009 to 2013, he was a Commissioner of the Fair Political Practices Commission, a state regulatory agency (analogous to the Federal Election Commission).  He was a Member of the Editorial Board of the Journal of Legal Education (2014 to 2016). See also, www.ronaldrotunda.org.

Columns by Ronald D. Rotunda

Prayers before Meetings of the Town Board of Greece, New York

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Ronald Rotunda, law professor at Chapman University, explains why the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision in Town of Greece v. Galloway fits solidly within precedent and does not expand it. Rotunda describes the precedential cases on point and argues that Marsh v. Chambers—the Court’s 1983 decision holding that legislative prayers were a long, consistent, historical practice—ultimately determined the outcome of Galloway.

The Ninth Circuit Departs From Tinker in Upholding Ban on American Flag T-Shirts in School

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Justia columnist and Chapman law professor Ronald Rotunda discusses a Ninth Circuit case holding that a public school could permit students to wear t-shirts bearing the Mexican flag while banning students from wearing shirts with an American flag. Rotunda argues that the Ninth Circuit’s reasoning runs counter to the language and logic of the U.S. Supreme Court case Tinker v. Des Moines Independent School District and its progeny, and effectively sides in favor of the heckler’s veto.

Using the State to Bully Dissidents

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Justia columnist and Chapman law professor Ronald Rotunda explains why the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution is implicated by the forced resignation of Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich for his donation to a committee that supported California Proposition 8, the California initiative that banned gay marriages in that state. He critiques the state law requiring disclosure on the grounds that it facilitates harassment of donors who wish simply to exercise their constitutional rights.