The Sudler Family Professor of Constitutional Law at New York University School of Law, Richard Pildes is one of the nation's leading scholars of public law and a specialist in legal issues affecting democracy. Along with the co-authors of his acclaimed casebook, The Law of Democracy: Legal Structure of the Political Process (now in its third edition), he has helped to create a revolutionary field of study in the law schools. While issues of democracy have been in the background of many public-law courses, The Law of Democracy systematically explores issues of democratic theory in the concrete institutional, policy, and doctrinal settings in which they have arisen historically: issues such as the right to vote, the role of direct democracy, the appropriate role of political parties, the financing of democratic elections, and the representation of minority interests in democratic institutions.
Pildes is widely considered one of the nation's leading scholars on such topics as the Voting Rights Act, alternative voting systems (such as cumulative voting), the history of disfranchisement in the United States, and the general relationship between constitutional law and democratic politics in the design of democratic institutions themselves. Respect for his expertise in these areas is reflected in frequent citations of his work in U.S. Supreme Court opinions, the publication of his work in several languages, and his frequent public lectures and appearances, including his nomination with the NBC News Team for an Emmy Award for coverage of the 2000 Presidential election litigation.
Richard Pildes is also an engaged public intellectual and an active public-law litigator. He has written for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The New Republic, The American Prospect, and similar journals. Apart from his academic work, Pildes has also served as counsel in election litigation to the Puerto Rico Electoral Commission; as counsel to the government of Puerto Rico; as a federal court-appointed independent expert on voting rights litigation; and as counsel in successful Supreme Court litigation that challenged the way the United States Tax Court operated.
Pildes received his A.B. in physical chemistry from Princeton and his J.D. from Harvard. He was Supreme Court Note Editor on the Harvard Law Review. He clerked for Judge Abner J. Mikva of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and for Justice Thurgood Marshall of the U.S. Supreme Court, after which he practiced law in Boston. He began his academic career at the University of Michigan Law School, where he was assistant and then full professor of law from 1988 until joining the NYU School of Law faculty in 2000. He has been a visiting professor at the University of Chicago Law School, Harvard Law School, the University of Texas School of Law, and was a fellow in Harvard?s prestigious Program in Ethics and the Professions from 1998-1999. He is a Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and has received recognition as a Guggenheim Fellow and a Carnegie Scholar.