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Carolyn Shapiro

Associate Professor of Law and Co-Director of the Institute on the Supreme Court of the United States

Professor Shapiro is the founder and co-director of Chicago-Kent's Institute on the Supreme Court of the United States (ISCOTUS). Her scholarship is largely focused on the Supreme Court, its relationship to other courts and institutions, and its role in our constitutional democracy. She teaches classes in legislation and statutory interpretation, constitutional law, employment law, and public interest law and policy.

From 2014 through mid-2016, Professor Shapiro took a leave of absence from Chicago-Kent to serve as Illinois solicitor general. She has argued cases in the U.S. Supreme Court, the Seventh Circuit, the Illinois Supreme Court, and the Illinois Appellate Courts.

Professor Shapiro blogs at ISCOTUSnow (which she also co-edits) and on the Chicago-Kent Faculty Blog and CK Now, and she also posts on Huffington Post and as a guest blogger at the American Constitution Society Blog. In addition, her commentary has appeared in a number of outlets, including the Washington Monthly website and CNN. She regularly appears as a guest commentator on Chicago Tonight and other media outlets. Professor Shapiro is also a member of the Board of Advisors for the Chicago Lawyers' Chapter of the American Constitution Society.

Professor Shapiro was a law clerk for then-Chief Judge Richard A. Posner of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and for Justice Stephen G. Breyer of the United States Supreme Court. Prior to coming to Chicago-Kent in 2003, she worked as an associate with Miner, Barnhill & Galland, where she handled plaintiff civil rights cases, and as a Skadden Fellow with the National Center on Poverty Law.

She earned a B.A. with general and special honors in English from the University of Chicago, an M.A. from the University of Chicago Harris Graduate School of Public Policy, and a J.D. (high honors) from the University of Chicago Law School, where she was articles editor of the University of Chicago Law Review and a member of the Order of the Coif.

Selected Media Appearances and Commentary
  • April 5, 2017: Professor Shapiro spoke to Reuters about Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch.
  • March 24, 2017: Professor Shapiro was mentioned in a Washington Post article about Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch's confirmation hearings.
  • March 22, 2017: Professor Shapiro discussed Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch's Sentate confirmation hearings on WTTW's Chicago Tonight
  • March 15, 2017: Professor Shapiro spoke to NBC 5 Chicago about President Trump's revised travel ban being put on hold by a federal judge.
  • March 9, 2017: Professor Shapiro wrote an op-ed for The Hill about questions Democrats could ask Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch.
  • February 9, 2017: Professor Shapiro commented for NBC 5 Chicago on the Ninth Circuit's refusal to reinstate President Trump's temporary ban on travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries.
  • February 8, 2017: Professor Shapiro spoke on WTTW's Chicago Tonight about the recourse federal judges have if federal employees ignore a federal court order.
  • February 7, 2017: The ABA Journal quoted Professor Shapiro in an article about what would happen if President Trump ignores a court order.
  • February 3, 2017: Professor Shapiro commented for the Chicagoist blog on fears that Roe v. Wade could be overturned in the near future, triggering an obscure Illinois law that would block abortion access in the state.
  • February 3, 2017: Professor Shapiro wrote an essay for the American Constitution Society blog about how judicial claims of "interpreting the Constitution and law as written" can mask conservative ideological judgments.
  • February 1, 2017: Professor Shapiro discussed key questions for SCOTUS nominee Neil Gorsuch and explained the weaknesses of originalism's claims to judicial restraint on CLTV's Politics Tonight.
  • January 31, 2017: Professor Shapiro spoke to NBC 5 Chicago about the role of the Supreme Court in advance of President Trump's announcement about his Supreme Court nominee.
  • January 30, 2017: Professor Shapiro was quoted in Slate.com about the recourse federal judges have if federal employees ignore a federal court order and how government officials might appeal a court order that they disagree with.
  • December 12, 2016: Professor Shapiro was a guest on WTTW's Chicago Tonight to discuss what the Founding Fathers intended when they created the Electoral College.
  • December 9, 2016: Professor Shapiro published an article in Washington Montly titled States Can't Stop Electors from Voting Their Conscience.
  • Novmeber 15, 2016: Professor Shapiro appeared on WTTW's Chicago Tonight to discuss how a Trump presidency might shape the U.S. Supreme Court.
  • September 27, 2016: Professor Shapiro was one of three former Supreme Court clerks who spoke on a Chicago Tonight panel about the Court's upcoming 2016–17 term.
  • February 16, 2016: Professor Shapiro wrote an article for CNN.com titled How Scalia Played with Fire.
  • February 15, 2016: Professor Shapiro was on a Chicago Tonight panel with other Supreme Court clerks' sharing their memories of the late Justice Antonin Scalia.
  • October 8, 2013: Professor Shapiro appeared on WTTW's Chicago Tonight to discuss hot-button issues for the Supreme Court's upcoming 2013–14 term.