Cardozo provides all students with a deep understanding of the U.S. Constitution – its history, current interpretation and role in establishing the basic governing structures of our democracy. First-year law students focus on the powers of the federal government, including the courts’ power of judicial review; the allocation of authority within the federal government between the Executive, the Courts, and Congress; and the battle over the respective roles of state and national governments in our federal system. Upper-level students commonly explore the individual rights recognized in the Bill of Rights and later Amendments, examining longstanding struggles over the nature of the equality and liberty our Constitution protects. In our classrooms, students are challenged to think about how age-old dilemmas in democratic governance function to inform the legal resolution of contemporary conflicts. Learning from one or more of the five Cardozo faculty members who have served as Clerks for the U.S. Supreme Court, Cardozo students emerge with a solid grounding in current constitutional doctrine and a critical mastery of the modern language of constitutional debate.
The Floersheimer Center for Constitutional Democracy is a vibrant center for scholarship and events advancing the functioning of constitutional democracies in the United States and abroad.
Established in 2000 through a generous gift from Dr. Stephen Floersheimer, the Center supports research by scholars and policymakers, hosts speakers and conferences, issues publications, and provides financial support for visiting scholars as well as student projects. Topics of particular concern include civil liberties in an age of terrorism, the structures of democratic government, and the relationship between church and state.
The Center's Co-Directors are Professor Deborah Pearlstein and Professor Michael Herz, both of whom have clerked for Supreme Court Justices.
Our Constitutional Law Faculty
Professor Michael Herz
Professor Michael Herz previously clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Byron R. White. Herz was also the staff attorney for the Environmental Defense Fund.
Professor Deborah Pearlstein
Professor Deborah Pearlstein is the Co-Director of the Floersheimer Center for Constitutional Democracy. She has extensive experience in constitutional law. She previously clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens. She also served in the White House as a speechwriter for President Clinton.
Associate Dean for Faculty Development, Professor Michael Pollack
Professor Pollack clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. His research focuses on property law. He is the Co-Director of the Floersheimer Center for Constitutional Democracy.
Professor Alex Reinert
Professor Reinert is the Director of Center for Rights and Justice. He argued before the Supreme Court in Ashcroft v. Iqbal. Reinert's research focuses on incarcerated individuals and the rights of people confined in jail.
Professor Michel Rosenfeld
Professor Rosenfeld is the University Professor of Law and Comparative Democracy, Justice Sydney L. Robins Professor of Human Rights and Director of the Program on Global and Comparative Constitutional Theory at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law. Professor Rosenfeld was an associate with both Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom and Rosenman, Colin, Freund, Lewis & Cohen.
Professor David Rudenstine
Professor Rudenstine served as Dean of Cardozo from 2001 to 2009. He has taught constitutional law since 1979.
Professor Kate Shaw
Professor Shaw is an ABC News contributor. She co-hosts a podcast on legal issues and constitutional democracy titled "Strict Scrutiny."