Gerald Leonard

Law Alumni Scholar, Professor of Law, School of Law

Gerald Leonard?is a leading historian of American constitutionalism. His first book,?The Invention of Party Politics: Federalism, Popular Sovereignty, and Constitutional Development in Jacksonian Illinois?(University of North Carolina Press, 2002) helped launch the “constitutional politics” or “popular constitutionalism” approach to American constitutional history. His other writings have offered reevaluations of the Dred Scott case, Thomas Jefferson’s constitutional thought, Oliver Wendell Holmes’s philosophies of constitutional and criminal law, and the history of American approaches to substantive criminal law. He is co-editor of the pamphlet series?New Essays on American Constitutional History?for the American Historical Association. Professor Leonard also writes about contemporary criminal law, challenging conventional views about mistake of law and about federal sentencing, among other things.

A faculty member since 2003, and Law Alumni Scholar since 2007, Professor Leonard served as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs from 2006 to 2009. Before coming to BU, Professor Leonard clerked for the Honorable David Souter of the United States Supreme Court and for the honorable J. Dickson Phillips, Jr. of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.