Amy Coney Barrett
Diane and M.O. Miller II Research Professor of Law, Professor of Law
I came to Notre Dame because of its twin commitments to academic excellence and advancing the common good. In the Law School, I work to further these goals through my study of constitutional structure.
Part of the genius of our Constitution is its distribution of power across three branches of government and between federal and state governments. Yet the Constitution does not draw these lines sharply; the boundaries are often unclear.
I draw on the Constitution’s text, structure, and history to determine optimal constraints on the power of government entities, particularly in the face of modern governing challenges. My research is animated by the belief that our scheme of divided power exists not for the sake of the government itself but to promote individual liberty and human flourishing.
The Law School’s Program on Constitutional Structure has proven indispensable to my work. The program gathers leading legal scholars, political scientists, and historians, from Notre Dame and elsewhere, to study how government structures and foundational documents best advance the common good.
These are themes that I explore with my students, both in the classroom and in their own research. Understanding the importance of such questions and the competing approaches to resolving them enables students to see the role of law in building and sustaining our society.