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Professor Elise Boddie

J.D., Harvard
M.P.P, Harvard
B.A., Yale


Civil Rights, Constitutional Law, State and Local Government


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Elise Boddie

Professor of Law

A nationally recognized expert in civil rights, Elise Boddie joined the faculty of Rutgers Law School–Newark in 2013 as an Associate Professor of Law. Boddie teaches constitutional law, civil rights, and state and local government law. Previously, she was the director of litigation for the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) and supervised LDF’s nationwide litigation program, including its advocacy in several major Supreme Court and federal appellate cases. From 1999-2005, she litigated complex affirmative action, employment, economic justice, and school desegregation cases and argued in the Eighth and Eleventh Circuits. During this period, she also served as LDF’s Director of Education and as an Associate Director of Litigation. She is a frequent public speaker and has appeared on MSNBC, NBC Nightly News, Democracy Now, and National Public Radio, among other television and radio programs.

Boddie received her B.A. cum laude from Yale and her J.D. cum laude from Harvard Law School and holds a master’s degree in public policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. Following a clerkship for Judge Robert Carter in the Southern District of New York, Boddie litigated at Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson in its New York office as the first recipient of the Fried, Frank/LDF fellowship. Boddie has also taught at New York Law School and Fordham Law School. In 2012, the Law and Society Association awarded her the John Hope Franklin Prize “for exceptional scholarship in the field of race, racism, and the law” for her article, “Racial Territoriality,” which was published in the UCLA Law Review. Boddie has also published in SCOTUSblog, Slate, Huffington Post, the New York Times Sunday Dialogue, and the Chronicle of Higher Education.  

Boddie was recently elected to the national board of the American Constitution Society and to the board of the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice. In addition, she has served on the boards of the North Star Fund, the Passaic County Legal Aid Society, Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan New Jersey, the Association of the Bar of the City of New York’s Labor & Employment Law Committee, and on a blue ribbon task force convened by the Montclair, New Jersey school superintendent to promote integration in the local public schools.



“Schools Without Borders,“ (work in progress)

“Adaptive Discrimination,” 94 North Carolina L. Rev. ___ (forthcoming 2016)

“The Sins of Innocence in Standing Doctrine,” 68 Vanderbilt L. Rev. 297 (2015)

“Critical Mass and the Paradox of Colorblind Individualism in Equal Protection,” 17 U. Penn. J. Const. L. ___ (forthcoming, April 2015)

“The Way Forward: Racial Integration After Ricci, A Response to Michelle Adams,” 96 Iowa L. Rev. Bull. 100 (2011)

“Racial Territoriality,” 58 UCLA L. Rev. 401 (2010)



“Shoe Stories: Civil Rights and the Inequality of Place,” forthcoming in a special collection of solicited essays, The Impact Center at New York Law School.

“The Arc of the Moral Universe,” American Constitution Society Blog, Jan. 19, 2015.

Schuette v. BAMN:  How the Court Undermined Racial Liberty in the Democratic Process,”  Huffington Post, April 30, 2014.

“Commentary on Fisher:  In with a bang, out with a fizzle,” SCOTUSblog, June 24, 2013.

“Commentary on Fisher:  The importance of diversity within diversity,” SCOTUSblog, Oct. 11, 2012.