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Spotlight on Scholarship: Andrew Koppelman Honored by AALS Section on Jurisprudence

January 15, 2019

Andrew Koppelman

Andrew Koppelman, John Paul Stevens Professor of Law, was awarded the Hart-Dworkin Award in Legal Philosophy from the Association of American Law Schools (AALS) Section on Jurisprudence at the 2019 AALS Annual Meeting in New Orleans earlier this month.

Koppelman is the inaugural recipient of The Hart-Dworkin Award in Legal Philosophy, which will be given annually to a scholar who has made significant and lasting contributions to the philosophical understanding of law.

According to the Section, Koppelman was chosen “for his profound contributions to constitutional theory and to the intellectual tradition of political liberalism, and for exemplifying in the highest degree the philosophical ideals of intellectual curiosity, joy in inquiry, and faith in reason.”

“I am thrilled that Andy Koppelman has been named the first recipient of the Hart-Dworkin Award in Legal Philosophy,” Dean and Judd and Mary Morris Leighton Professor of Law Kimberly Yuracko said. “Andy is a treasured member of our faculty here at Northwestern, and we know well his enthusiasm and joy for the intellectual endeavor. It is wonderful to see him and his work celebrated by the members of the AALS Section on Jurisprudence.”

Koppelman’s scholarship focuses on issues at the intersection of law and political philosophy. He has published extensively on constitutional theory, theory of discrimination law, free speech, freedom of religion, and gay rights. “Law is political philosophy made concrete and enforceable, so it’s not surprising that the study of political philosophy sheds useful light on the law,” he said. “I’m very grateful for the recognition, and hope that it gets more people to read what I have to say!”

Koppelman is a prolific writer, with over 100 articles published in books and scholarly journals, and many more appearing in the opinion pages of news publications like The New York TimesUSA TodaySalon, and The New Republic. His 1994 New York University Law Review article, “Why Discrimination Against Lesbians and Gay Men is Sex Discrimination,” set forth a novel argument that laws discriminating against gay men and lesbians, such as those banning same-sex marriage, are actually discriminating on the basis of sex — "Anne is allowed to marry Bob, but Charles can't. Charles is denied the right to marry Bob, solely because Charles is a man” — and therefore should be subject to heightened scrutiny. The article was later named one of the publication’s 25 most influential, and the argument has continued to resonate as gay rights cases make their way through the courts; in 2015, he co-authored an amicus brief making the same argument to the Supreme Court in Obergefell v. Hodges. That same year, he won Northwestern University’s Walder Award for Research Excellence, a university-wide honor given by the Provost.

Koppelman’s most recent books are The Tough Luck Constitution and the Assault on Health Care Reform (Oxford University Press, 2013) and Defending American Religious Neutrality (Harvard University Press, 2013), and he is currently working on two new books. One is focused on “the way libertarianism has decayed from an admirable critique of socialism to a set of rationalizations for delusional anarchism and greed” while the other “offers a path to end the unnecessary conflict between gay rights and religious liberty.”