What do you know really well?

  • Pluralism (I wrote a book on it)

  • The right of assembly (I wrote the book on it)

  • Associational rights

  • Free speech (including public forum issues)

  • Law and religion (including free exercise and establishment issues)

  • Law and theology

  • Pluralism and higher education


What do you know a little bit about?

  • Criminal law. I teach criminal law but I am not a criminal law scholar.

  • Political theory. It may come as a surprise that I don't know a lot about this area because it was the focus of my PhD work. But my current scholarly work covers only a narrow slice of political theory. I have not kept up with the broader political theory literature since I graduated.

  • Constitutional law. Because I work on the First Amendment, I am sometimes identified as an expert in constitutional law. Lots of smart law professors and theorists have spent far more time than I have studying all the other amendments and the original stuff. The same is true for scholars who specialize in theories of constitutional interpretation. To be honest, I don’t really even know the whole First Amendment that well—I’m thin on the press and petition clauses.

  • American Protestantism (including evangelicalism). I’ve spent enough time personally and professionally on this topic to have some knowledge and expertise.

  • The internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. Thanks, America.


What do you know almost nothing about that people think you know?

  • Political science (other than political theory). Those familiar with the disciplinary fracture within political science will find this unsurprising.

  • Most of the law (beyond a superficial level), including immigration law, corporate law, tax, property, securities, labor law, international law, trusts and estates, civil procedure, criminal procedure, evidence, torts, and most of what my law school colleagues teach and write about. I occasionally write something that allows me to explore one of these areas in greater depth, but it is usually in connection with something related to my core expertise.

  • Conservative politics. Sometimes people in higher education who find out that I am a Christian assume I know things about conservative politics. I know very little about that world, and I don’t keep up with the literature or commentary. I have worked on religious liberty issues with the Becket Fund, I have taught a summer program to Christian students through the American Enterprise Institute, and I have occasionally collaborated with the Federalist Society (though I am not a member). I have also collaborated with the InterFaith Youth Core, the Newseum, the National Constitution Center, After Charlottesville, the United States Commission on Civil Rights, and many other groups and organizations. If you are frustrated or concerned about me after reading this paragraph, please read this book.

  • Other religions. I know a little about Catholics and bits and pieces of other faiths, but that’s about it.

  • Civil engineering. My undergraduate degree is in civil engineering, but you do not want me designing your bridge.