Thomas E. Baker

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Thomas E. Baker
Professor of Law

Curriculum Vitae
Selected Works
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J.D., University of Florida Levin College of Law
B.S., Florida State University

With four decades of law teaching experience, Professor Baker is a nationally-recognized constitutionalist who has received numerous awards for his teaching, including the first-ever Pioneer Award for his commitment and dedication to students from the FIU Student Bar Association in 2004. Since then, students have voted him “Professor of the Year” multiple times. He also received the FIU Top Scholar Award and the FIU Faculty Recognition Award.

Before coming to the FIU College of Law as a member of the founding faculty in 2002, Professor Baker held the James Madison Chair in constitutional law that Congress endowed at Drake University Law School to commemorate the bicentennial of the U.S. Constitution. From 1985 to 1987, he worked at the Supreme Court of the United States; first as a Judicial Fellow and then as Acting Administrative Assistant to Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist.

From 1979 to 1998, Professor Baker was a member of the faculty at Texas Tech University School of Law, where he held the Alvin R. Allison Distinguished Professorship and received every teaching award the law school and the University conferred. He was the Distinguished Fulbright Professor of American Constitutional Law at the National and Kapodistrian University of Greece in 1992. He served on the Board of Editors of the Journal of Supreme Court History from 1991 to 1993. He was a visiting professor at the Fredric G. Levin College of Law at the University of Florida and at the Marshall-Wythe School of Law at the College of William & Mary.

By appointment of the Chief Justice, Professor Baker was a member of the Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure from 1990 to 1995, for which he received a formal Commendation for Distinguished Service from the Judicial Conference of the United States. He was the recipient of the Bicentennial of the Constitution Award in Legal Education in 1987. He served on the Board of Directors of the American Judicature Society from 2000 to 2002. He was elected a Fellow in the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers in 2004 and was designated a life member of the American Law Institute in 2009. He was designated a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation in 2011. He was on the Legal Policy Advisory Board of the Washington Legal Foundation from 1998 to 2012. From 2012 to 2015, he served on the Advisory Committee of the Journal of Legal Education. He is a biographee in Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in American Law, Who’s Who Among American Teachers, and the Directory of American Scholars, et alia. In 2018, he received the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award in Law.

Professor Baker publishes commentaries and is frequently quoted in the national media as an expert in constitutional law and the federal courts. He has appeared on, NPR,, CNN’s Burden of Proof, C-SPAN, and numerous legal education programs for lawyers and judges.

Professor Baker has authored fourteen books, including two leading law school casebooks and the popular “Nutshell” on Constitutional Law. He has published more than 200 scholarly articles in leading journals and law reviews, including Harvard, Michigan, UCLA, Iowa, Emory, Kansas, Wake Forest, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Washington & Lee, William & Mary, and Florida State, as well as essays in A.B.A. Journal, American Journal of Legal History, Journal of Legal Education, Constitutional Commentary, Judicature, Hastings Constitutional Law Quarterly, Green Bag 2d, and William & Mary Bill of Rights Journal. He served on the advisory panel for Garner’s Modern American Usage 3d Edition and Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition and The Journal of Legal Education.

 After graduating from law school, Professor Baker clerked for a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. His law school recognitions included: U.S. Department of Justice Honors Program, Moot Court Board, Law Review Board, High Honors, Order of the Coif, Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society, and Omicron Delta Kappa National Leadership Society.

 Selected Books:

Constitutional Analysis in a Nutshell (West Academic Publ’g 3d ed. 2019).

First Amendment Law: Freedom of Expression and Freedom of Religion (Carolina Academic Press 4th ed. 2018) (with Arthur D. Hellman, William D. Araiza, Ashutosh A. Bhagwat).

Skills & Values: Constitutional Law (LexisNexis 2013) (with William D. Araiza, Olympia R. Duhart & Steven I. Friedland).

A Primer on the Jurisdiction of the U.S. Courts of Appeals (Federal Judicial Center 2d ed. 2009).

Appellate Courts: Structures, Functions, Processes, and Personnel (LexisNexis 2d ed. 2006) (with Daniel J. Meador & Joan E. Steinman).

 At War with Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers 2006) (editor with John F. Stack, Jr.).

Amicus Humoriae: An Anthology of Legal Humor (Carolina Academic Press 2003) (with Robert M. Jarvis & Andrew J. McClurg).

Can a Good Christian be a Good Lawyer? Homilies, Witnesses, and Reflections (Univ. of Notre Dame Press 1998) (editor with Timothy W. Floyd).

“The Most Wonderful Work . . . ”—Our Constitution Interpreted (West Publ’g Co. 1996).

Rationing Justice on Appeal: The Problems of the U.S. Courts of Appeals (West Publ’g Co. 1994).

 Selected Articles:

The Constitutionality of Saying a Prayer at a City Council Meeting: May America Bless God?, Preview of United States Supreme Court Cases at 56 (Nov. 4, 2013) (Town of Greece v. Galloway, 134 S.Ct. 1811 (2014)).

Book Review: John Paul Stevens, Five Chiefs—a Supreme Court Memoir, 62 J. Legal Educ. 647 (2013).

Can Congress Make it a Crime to Lie About Military Medals or Is the First Amendment a “Get out of Jail Free Speech Card?, Preview of United States Supreme Court Cases at 182 (Feb. 20, 2012) (United States v. Alvarez, 132 S. Ct. 2537 (2012)).

A Modest Experiment in Pedagogy: Lessons on Comparative Constitutional Law, 6 FIU L. Rev. 99 (2012).

Are Dog Fight Videos Protected by the First Amendment?, Preview of United States Supreme Court Cases at 11 (Oct. 5, 2009) (U.S. v. Stevens, 559 U.S. 460 (2010)).

Book Review: Jack M. Balkin & Reva B. Siegel, eds. The Constitution in 2020, 50 Am. J. Legal Hist. 104 (2010).

Applied Freakonomics: Explaining the “Crisis of Volume,” 8 J. App. Prac. & Proc. 101 (2007).

Reflections on Law Schools and the Idea of the University, 1 FIU L. Rev. 1 (2006).

Constitutional Theory in a Nutshell, 13 Wm & Mary Bill Rts. J. 1 (2005).

Storm Center—The Year Ahead in the Supreme Court, (Oct. 4, 2004).

A Primer on Supreme Court Procedures, Preview of United States Supreme Court Cases at 475 (Aug. 9, 2004).

Federal Courts Funding Crisis Looms, National Law Journal, August 9, 2004, at A55.

Bush v. Gore Could Happen Again, Jurist—The Legal Education network: Legal Forum (June 14, 2004).

A Compendium of Clever and Amusing Law Review Writings—An Idiosyncratic Bibliography of Miscellany with In Kind Annotations Intended as a Humorous Diversion for the Gentle Reader, 51 Drake L. Rev. 105 (2002).

The Supreme Nonet, 18 Const. Comment. 291 (2001) (review poem).

A Case Study on the Importance of Settling the National Law: Why We Call the Supreme Court “Supreme,” 4 Green Bag 2d 129 (Winter 2001).

Towards a “More Perfect Union”—Some Thoughts on Amending the Constitution, 10 Widener J. Pub. L. 1 (2000).

A Generation Spent Studying the U.S. Courts of Appeals: A Chronology, 34 Cal. Davis L. Rev. 395 (2000).

Clear and Present Dangers: The Importance of Ideas and the Bowels in the Cosmos, 16 Const. Comment. 485 (Symposium 1999).

Taming “Tough Law”—Pop quizzes can aid the teaching of Constitutional Law, The Law Teacher, Fall 1998, at 7.

There’s No Basis For Censure—The Founding Fathers Provided only one way to Sanction a President; the Constitution is Clear, L.A. Times, Sept. 16, 1998, at B7.

The Federal Impeachment Process: A Constitutional and Historical Analysis, 42 Am. J. Legal Hist. 74 (1998) (review essay).

Mastering Modern Constitutional Law, 21 Seattle U. L. Rev. 927 (1998) (review essay).

Greek Students Get Lesson in Free Speech, USA TODAY, June 11, 1997, at 13A.

2020 Year-end Report on the Judiciary by the Chief Justice of the United States, 24 Pepperdine L. Rev. 859 (1997).

Bob Borks Amerika, 44 UCLA L. Rev. 1185 (1997) (review essay).

Tyrannous Lex, 82 Iowa L. Rev. 689 (1997).

A Self-Study of Federal Judicial Rulemaking: A Report from the Subcommittee on Long Range Planning to the Committee on Rules of Practice, Procedure and Evidence of the Judicial Conference of the United States, 168 F.R.D. 679 (1995) (with Frank H. Easterbrook).

A View to the Future of Judicial Federalism: “Neither Out Far Nor in Deep,” 45 Case W. Res. L. Rev. 705 (1995).

Exercising the Amendment Power to Disapprove of Supreme Court Decisions: A Proposal for a “Republican Veto,” 22 Hastings Const. L.Q. 325 (1995).

Imagining the Alternative Futures of the U.S. Courts of Appeals, 28 Ga. L. Rev. 913 (1994).

An Assessment of Past Extramural Reforms of the U.S. Courts of Appeals, 28 Ga. L. Rev. 863 (1994).

Taking Another Measure of the “Crisis of Volume” in the U.S. Courts of Appeals, 51 Wash. & Lee L. Rev. 97 (1994) (with Denis J. Hauptly).

A Review of Corpus Juris Humorous, 24 Tex. Tech L. Rev. 869 (1993) (review essay).

Religious Convictions and Professional Education, 1 J. Prof’l Ethics 2 (with Timothy W. Floyd) (1993).

 Some Preliminary Thoughts on Long-Range Planning for the Federal Judiciary, 23 Tex. Tech L. Rev. 1 (1992).

Why Congress Should Repeal the Federal Employers’ Liability Act of 1908, 28 Harv. J. on Legis. 79 (1992).

The Impropriety of Expert Witness Testimony on the Law, 40 U. Kan. L. Rev. 325 (1992).

A Course on the Constitution, 40 J. Legal Educ. 530 (1990) (with James E. Viator).

On Redrawing Circuit Boundaries—Why the Proposal to Divide the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit is Not Such A Good Idea, 22 Ariz. St. L.J. 917 (1990).

Toward A Unified Theory of the Jurisdiction of the United States Courts of Appeals, 39 De Paul L. Rev. 235 (1990).

A Law Student’s Responsibility for a Liberal Education, 20 Tex. Tech L. Rev. 1153 (1989).

“The Right of the People to be Secure . . .”: Toward a Metatheory of the Fourth Amendment, 30 Wm. & Mary L. Rev. 881 (1989).

The Need for a New National Court, 100 Harv. L. Rev. 1400 (1987) (with Douglas D. McFarland).

 Thinking About Federal Jurisdiction—Of Serpents and Swallows, 17 St. Mary’s L.J. 239 (1986).

The Ambiguous Independent and Adequate State Ground in Criminal Cases: Federalism Along a Mobius Strip, 19 Ga. L. Rev. 799 (1985).

A Compendium of Proposals to Reform the United States Courts of Appeals, 37 U. Fla. L. Rev. 225 (1985).

A Postscript on Precedent in the Divided Fifth Circuit, 36 Sw. L.J. 725 (1982).

Precedent Times Three: Stare Decisis in the Divided Fifth Circuit, 35 Sw. L.J. 687 (1981).