B.A., 1979, Vanderbilt University
M.A., 1982, 1984, Pennsylvania State University
J.D., 1988, University of Pennsylvania
Areas of Expertise
MARCI A. HAMILTON is one of the country’s leading church-state scholars and the Fox Professor of Practice and Fox Family Pavilion Resident Senior Fellow in the Program for Research on Religion in the Fox Leadership Program at the University of Pennsylvania. She is also the Founder, CEO, and Academic Director of CHILD USA, www.childusa.org, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit academic think tank at the University of Pennsylvania dedicated to interdisciplinary, evidence-based research to prevent child abuse and neglect. Before moving to the University of Pennsylvania, Professor Hamilton was the Paul R. Verkuil Chair in Public Law at Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Yeshiva University.
Prof. Hamilton has been a vocal and influential critic of extreme religious liberty. Hamilton successfully challenged the constitutionality of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (“RFRA”) at the Supreme Court in Boerne v. Flores (1997), and defeated the RFRA claim brought by the Archdiocese of Milwaukee against hundreds of child sex abuse survivors in Committee of Unsecured Creditors v. Listecki (7th Cir. 2015). She has represented numerous cities dealing with church-state issues as well as claims brought under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (“RLUIPA).
The author of God vs. the Gavel: The Perils of Extreme Religious Liberty (Cambridge University Press), which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, she is also a columnist for Verdict on Justia.com.
Hamilton is the leading expert on child sex abuse statutes of limitations and has submitted testimony and advised legislators in every state where significant reform has occurred. She is the author of Justice Denied: What America Must Do to Protect Its Children (Cambridge University Press), which advocates for the elimination of child sex abuse statutes of limitations. She has filed countless pro bono amicus briefs for the protection of children at the United States Supreme Court and the state supreme courts. Her textbook, Children and the Law, co-authored with Martin Gardner, will be published Fall 2017 by Carolina Academic Press, formerly Lexis/Nexis.
Hamilton has been honored with the 2016 Voice Today, Voice of Gratitude Award; the 2015 Religious Liberty Award, American Humanist Association; the 2014 Freethought Heroine Award; the National Crime Victim Bar Association’s Frank Carrington Champion of Civil Justice Award, 2012; the E. Nathaniel Gates Award for outstanding public advocacy and scholarship, 2008; and selected as a Pennsylvania Woman of the Year Award, 2012, among others. She is also frequently quoted in the national media on child sex abuse, statute of limitations issues, constitutional, RFRA, RLUIPA, and First Amendment issues.
Hamilton clerked for United States Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and Judge Edward R. Becker of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Professor Hamilton is a graduate of Vanderbilt University, B.A., summa cum laude; Pennsylvania State University, M.A. (English, fiction writing, High Honors); M.A. (Philosophy); and the University of Pennsylvania School of Law, J.D., magna cum laude, where she served as Editor-in-Chief of the University of Pennsylvania Law Review. She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and Order of the Coif.
The latest on child sex abuse SOLs from Prof. Marci Hamilton:
Statement of Marci A. Hamilton, Press Conference for Pennsylvania SOL Reform(January 23, 2013)
Boy Scouts of America Perversion Files Press Release (October 18, 2012)
SOL Update April 2012
Governor's Message and Signed SB2588 SDI HD3, now Hawaii Act 068 (April 24, 2012)
Analysis of Hawaii Act 068, Relating to Limitations of Actions (April 24, 2012)
What Is An SOL? (2010)
Click HERE for all book chapters.
Legal Scholar: Ways to Curtail Sex Abuse
Is Penn State the Catholic Church?
The Law of the Land Trumps Your Faith: Town Clerks in New York Must Marry Gays or Quit
What Obama Should Have Said About Qur'an Burning
The Belgians Make Washington Look Bad
Abuse survivors: Markey bill our chance at justice
Click HERE for more op-eds.
ARTICLES AND ESSAYS
The Endorsement Factor (2011)
The “Licentiousness” in Religious Organizations and Why it is Not Protected Under Religious Liberty Constitutional Provisions
The Rules Against Scandal and What They Mean for the First Amendment’s Religion Clauses
The Constitutional Limitations on Congress’s Power Over Local Land Use: Why the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act Is Unconstitutional
Click HERE for more articles and essays.
- On behalf of: the National Center for Victims of Crime, Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, Jewish Board of Advocates for Children, Inc., Child Protection Project, Survivors for Justice, the National Black Church Initiative, KidSafe Foundation, the Cardozo Advocates for Kids, the Foundation to Abolish Child Sex Abuse, and BishopAccountability.org.
- On behalf of: National Center for Victims of Crime; Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests; Jewish Board of Advocates for Children, Inc.; Child Protection Project; Child Victims Voice; Crime Victims United; Oregon Abuse Advocates and Survivors in Service; Oregon Anti-Crime Alliance; and Oregon Trial Lawyers Association
- On behalf of: Former Philadelphia District Attorney Lynne Abraham, the National Child Protection Training Center, The National Center for Victims of Crime, Child Protection Project, Jewish Board of Advocates for Children, Inc., Stop the Silence: Stop Child Sexual Abuse, Inc., BishopAccountability.org, Americans Against the Abuses of Polygamy, the Foundation to Abolish Child Sex Abuse, and the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
- On behalf of: The National Center for Victims of Crime
- On behalf of: League of Residential Neighborhood Advocates
- On behalf of: Child Protection Project, Jewish Board of Advocates for Children, National Black Church Initiative, Children’s Healthcare Is a Legal Duty, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), Cardozo Advocates for Kids, Foundation to Abolish Child Sex Abuse, Americans Against Abuses of Polygamy, Child Victims Voice, and National Association to Prevent Sexual Abuse of Children (NAPSAC)
- On behalf of: People for the American Way Foundation
- On behalf of:The Jewish Board of Advocates for Children, Inc.; Survivors for Justice; The National Black Church Initiative; Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests; The National Association to Prevent Sexual Abuse of Children; Child Protection Project; The Foundation to Abolish Child Sex Abuse; The Cardozo Advocates for Kids; Sexual Violence Legal News; Children's Healthcare Is a Legal Duty; Americans Against Abuses of Polygamy; and Americans United for Separation of Church and State
Testimony Before the West Virginia House of Delegates on H.B. 2657, Establishing the West Virginia Religious Freedom and Restoration Act (February 23, 2012)
Testimony Before South Dakota House Judiciary Committee, on H.B. 1218, Rescinding the Statute of Limitations for Civil Actions Involving Child Sex Abuse (February 6, 2012)
Testimony Before Hawaii Senate Committee on Judiciary and Labor on S.B. 2588, Relative to the Statute of Limitations for Civil Actions Involving Child Sexual Abuse (February 3, 2012)
Testimony Before the New York City Council, Committee on Education, Relative to NYC Council Res. 1155-2011 (February 2, 2012)
Testimony Before Hawaii House of Rep. Committee on Human Services on H.B.1933 Relative to the Statute of Limitations for Civil Actions Involving Childhood Sexual Abuse (January 30, 2012, 8:30 a.m.)
Testimony Before the Pennsylvania Assembly Committee on Children and Youth Hearing Relative to Statute of Limitations Reform, December 5, 2011
Testimony before the New York Assembly Committee on Codes, Public Hearing Relative to the The Statute of Limitations Applicable to Sexual Abuse against Minors, April 29, 2011
Testimony Before the Hawaii House of Representatives Judiciary Committee on SB217.SD2. HD1, Relative to the Statute of Limitations for Civil Actions Involving Childhood Sexual Abuse (March 29, 2011,
Testimony Before the Hawaii House of Representatives Committee on Human Service on SB217.SD2, Relative to the Statute of Limitations for Civil Actions Involving Childhood Sexual Abuse (March 14, 2011, 9:00 a.m.)
Testimony Before the Guam Senate Committee on Economic Development, Health and Human Services, and Judiciary, Relative to Bill No. B034-31(COR): An Act to Amend Sec.11306 of Art. 3 (February 7, 2011)
Testimony Before the Connecticut State Joint Committee on Judiciary relative to Raised Bill No. HB-5473: An Act Concerning Actions to Recover Damages for the Sexual Abuse of a Minor (March 17, 2010)
Testimony Before the Arizona Senate Rules Committee, Relative to SB-1292: An Act Amending Child Sex Abuse Statutes of Limitations (March 14, 2010)
In re: Reference Concerning the Constitutionality of Section 293 of the Criminal Code of Canada, R.S.C.1985, c. C-46, Vancouver Registry No. S097767 (Jul. 16, 2010, B.C.S.C.)
(addressing constitutional issues relating to criminal prohibition on polygamy in context of case before Supreme Court of British Columbia)
- Affidavit #1 at the request of Stop Polygamy in Canada
Reply to Affidavits of Martha Ertman and Jonathan Turley, In re: Reference Concerning the Constitutionality of Section 293 of the Criminal Code of Canada, R.S.C.1985, c. C-46; In re: The Constitutional Question Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, C. 68; and In re: The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Vancouver Registry No. S097767 (Nov. 2, 2010, B.C.S.C.)
(addressing constitutional issues relating to criminal prohibition on polygamy in context of case before Supreme Court of British Columbia)
- Affidavit #2 at the Request of Stop Polygamy in Canada
CHILD SEX ABUSE LITIGATION
John Doe AP v. Roman Catholic Diocese of Saint Louis, Petition for Writ of Certiorari to the Unites States Supreme Court, Jan. 3, 2012
John Doe A v The Second Mile, Gerald Sandusky, the Pennslyvania State Univ., Court of Common Pleas, Philadelphia PA, November 30, 2011
Justia.com - (http://verdict.justia.com/author/hamilton/)
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit Strikes Down Proposition 8: Three Key Elements of the Decision
New York City and State Consider Seeking to Reverse the Second Circuit's Decision in Bronx Household of Faith Case, Regarding Whether a Church Can Make a Public School Its House of Worship
In Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. EEOC, the Supreme Court Embraces a Narrow Ministerial Exception to Federal Anti-Discrimination Laws
2011's Lessons on How We Can Better Protect Children From Sexual Abuse
The Sandusky Case: Secrecy and Silence are a Child Predator's Best Friends, but Other Events the Same Day Show That Soon Our Justice System Will Reveal the Truth
Hawaii's Battle Over Its Statutes of Limitation for Child Sex Abuse: Why the Legislature was Right to Unanimously vote for Reform, and Why the Governor Should Not Fulfill His Veto Threat
Patheos.com - (http://www.patheos.com/About-Patheos/Marci-Hamilton.html)
Challenging the John Jay Report
Eliminate Statutes of Limitations in Childhood Sexual Abuse Cases: A Litmus Test for the Vatican
Isolationist Religious Communities and Liberty
Seeking Damages: "Sossamon v. Texas"
The Truth vs. Public Relations
FindLaw.com - (http://writ.news.findlaw.com/hamilton/)
The Progress We've Made--and Haven't Yet Made--on Child-Sex-Abuse Statutes of Limitations: 2010, The Year in Review
Click HERE for more columns.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Time for the U.S. to Act Against Clerical Sex Abuse
Click HERE for more letters to the editor.
Report on Sandusky case blasts Penn State for child sex abuse cover up, July 14, 2012
CNN, Nov. 30, 2011
Anderson Cooper , Nov. 14, 2011
"What Laws Need to Change to Protect Victims of Abuse?"
Legal Talk Network, Lawyer to Lawyer
The Penn State Football Scandal
Bloomberg Law Podcast, November 15, 2011
"Penn State's Duty to Report Abuse Not Crystal Clear"
American Constitution Society
The Flaws of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA) , Oct. 2010
The Daily Show
The Today Show
BBC World News
CNN Headline News
Click HERE for more media appearances.
QUOTES IN THE MEDIA
WHYY: Newsworks Tonight
William Lynn Gets 3 to 6 Years in Philly Church Abuse Case
by Elizabeth Fielder
"'I think this is a guide for the world,' says Marci Hamilton, the co-counsel in several civil cases brought by plaintiffs who allege abuse and cover-up by Philadelphia church officials. 'I do think that Seth Williams has set the standard so that prosecutors now know that they can get justice for victims of child sexual abuse,' Hamilton says. 'And prosecutors were afraid these kinds of prosecutions even 10 years ago. They were elected officials and they were afraid of being targeted as being anti-Catholic.'"
The New York Daily News
Legal Experts Feel ex-FBI Director Did Not Delve Far Enough Into Jerry Sandusky's History of Abuse
by Michael O'Keefe
"Law school professor Marci A. Hamilton gives former FBI director Louis Freeh’s report on Penn State’s sex-abuse scandal an 'incomplete,' and says it did not live up to its potential. Hamilton, a professor at New York’s Cardozo School of Law and an advocate for sex-abuse victims, says the focus of Freeh’s investigation is far too narrow. 'It is an incomplete report,' Hamilton told the Daily News on Thursday."
Researchers See Decline In Child Sexual Abuse Rate
by Erica Goode
York Daily Record
Spanier could be charged in PSU Sex Abuse Scandal
"'I would assume he was already headed toward criminal charges,' attorney Marci Hamilton said. 'What it says to me is that Penn State is the same as any large institution, that the people at the top don't take seriously the safety of the children and keep thinking in the interests of the institution.'"
Limitations Must be Lifted for Victims' Sake
by Ronnie Polaneczky, Philadelphia Daily News Columnist
"The answer, says attorney Marci Hamilton, is simple: Penn State University, as a taxpayer-funded institution, is accountable to the people of Pennsylvania. The Roman Catholic Church, as a monarchy, answers to no one, she says. Hamilton is author of the fabulous Justice Denied: What America Must Do to Protect Its Children. The book ought to be required reading for anyone who needs convincing that sexually abused kids deserve their day in court, no matter how old they are when they come to terms with what was done to them."
NPR (National Public Radio)
'Sister Wives' Family to Challenge Anti-Bigamy Law
by Barbara Bradley Hagerty
Morning Edition, July 12, 2011
In Denver, Chaput Fought Bill on Abuse
by Jeremy Roebuck, Philadelphia Inquirer Staff Writer
"Marci Hamilton, a Bucks county lawyer who has represented several victims of clergy abuse and whose 2008 book Justice Denied tracked statute-of-limitations fights across the country, described Chaput's outspokenness as just the first element in the Denver Archdiocese's multipronged opposition to the bill..."
Cardozo School of Law
55 Fifth Avenue, Room 404
New York, NY 10003
Marci A. Hamilton in the news
- Sep 16, 2016 Professor Marci Hamilton, Leading Church-State and Constitutional Law Scholar and Advocate for Women’s and Children’s Rights, Retires from Cardozo School of Law Faculty
- Jun 16, 2016 Prof. Marci Hamilton Quoted on Abuse at Religious Schools in The Daily Beast
- Jun 1, 2016 Prof. Marci Hamilton Writes Editorial in NY Daily News: "Walk for a Window Represents Turning Point for Children's Civil Rights"
- May 12, 2016 Prof. Marci Hamilton Quoted on WGBH News: In Aftermath of Hastert Case, States Push to Change Reporting of Child Sex Abuse
- May 7, 2016 Prof. Marci Hamilton Mentioned in the AP: In Minnesota, Hundreds Take Opportunity to Sue Over Sex Abuse
- May 3, 2016 Prof. Marci Hamilton Quoted in The Jewish Week: Orthodox Activists and Victims Asking NY to Change Sex Abuse Reporting Laws
- Apr 13, 2016 Prof. Marci Hamilton Quoted in The Guardian: Windows Closing for Clergy Sex Abuse Victims to Sue Catholic Church
- Mar 31, 2016 Prof. Marci Hamilton Writes Article in Newsweek: Bishops Are Still Betraying Child Sex Abuse Victims
- Mar 30, 2016 Prof. Marci Hamilton Quoted in NY Daily News: NY Law Couldn't Protect Adopted Son of Accused Pedophile After He Revealed Details
- Mar 20, 2016 Prof. Marci Hamilton Quoted in The Washington Times: Nuns’ Contraceptive Mandate Case to Come Before Supreme Court
More from Marci A. Hamilton