Publications, Presentations and Litigation about Statutory and Constitutional Interpretation


Using Empirical Data to Investigate the Original Meaning of “Emolument” in the Constitution, 36 Georgia State Law Review       (forthcoming February 2020) (with Jesse Egbert), also published on the Social Science Research Network at:

“Questions Involving National Peace and Harmony” or “Injured Plaintiff Litigation”? The Original Meaning of “Cases” in Article III of the Constitution, 36 Georgia State Law Review (forthcoming February 2020) (with Haoshan Ren, Margaret Wood, Noor Abbady, Ute Römer, Heather Kuhn & Jesse Egbert)

Apple and the American Revolution: Remembering Why We Have the Fourth Amendment, 126 Yale Law Journal Forum 218 (Oct. 26, 2016)

"Using Common Sense: A Linguistic Perspective on Judicial Interpretations of 'Use a Firearm'," 73 Washington University Law Quarterly. 1159-1214 (1995) (with Charles J. Fillmore).

 "What is Meaning in a Legal Text?" 73 Washington University Law Quarterly 800-970 (1995) (transcribed proceedings: Northwestern University-Washington University Law and Linguistics Conference).

 "Bringing Linguistics into Judicial Decisionmaking," 2 Forensic Linguistics: The International Journal of Speech, Language, and the Law 81-98 (1995) (with Jeffrey P. Kaplan, Georgia M. Green, and Judith N. Levi).

"Plain Meaning and Hard Cases," 103 Yale Law Journal 1561-1625 (1994) (with Judith N. Levi, Georgia M. Green, and Jeffrey P. Kaplan); see Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Communicating and Commenting on the Court's Work, 83 Georgetown Law Journal 2119, 2127 (1995) (“If law journal citations in Supreme Court opinions are less numerous than they once were, it may be because some in the academy are writing on topics or in a language ordinary judges and lawyers do not comprehend. But articles accessible and useful to judges remain in vogue. Last Term, for example, a Yale Law Journal article sensibly discussing "Plain Meaning and Hard Cases" received credit lines in three Supreme Court opinions (two of them mine). [FN 52 Clark D. Cunningham et al., Plain Meaning and Hard Cases, 103 Yale L.J. 1561 (1994), cited in Director, Office of Workers' Compensation Programs v. Greenwich Collieries, 114 S.Ct. 2251, 2255 (1994)(O'Connor, J.); Staples v. United States, 114 S.Ct. 1793, 1806 (1994)(Ginsburg, J., concurring in judgment); United States v. Granderson, 114 S.Ct. 1259, 1267 n.10 (1994)(Ginsburg, J.)].)

"A Linguistic Analysis of the Meanings of 'Search' in the Fourth Amendment: A Search for Common Sense," 73 Iowa Law Review 541-609 (1988).


Nonpartisan Originalism, ACS Constitutional Law Scholars Forum (March 1, 2019)

"Teaching lawyers about using corpus lingustics"(ppt) (Slides as pdf) (Presented September 21, 2018, 14th American Association for Corpus Linguistics Conference)

"Linguists in the Supreme Court and the Jail Cell," The Dartmouth Lawyers Association Speakers Series: Law and the Liberal Arts, Dartmouth College, January 1999.

"Using Linguistics to Interpret Laws: the Problem of Disciplinary Boundaries," presentation to the Law and Social Science Group, Northwestern University, May 9, 1996

"Arguing and Deciding Hard Cases with the Help of Linguistics: Some Recent Supreme Court Cases," presentation to the American Bar Foundation, May 8, 1996.

"Northwestern University-Washington University Law and Linguistics Conference," co-chaired three day conference in Evanston, Illinois, bringing together 13 leading American linguists and law professors on the topic, "What is Meaning in a Legal Text?" (March 31-April 2, 1995), and organized subsequent symposium issue on law and linguistics: 73 Washington University Law Quarterly, 769-1313 (1995).

"Linguistic Analysis of Supreme Court Cases," Annual Meeting of the Law & Society Association (1994) (co-chaired both roundtable sessions)

"Plain Meaning and Hard Cases," Institute for Legal Studies, University of Wisconsin (1993).


Brief for Professor Clark D. Cunningham & Professor Jesse Egbert as Amici Curiae Supporting Neither Party, In re Trump, 928 F.3d 360 (4th Cir. 2019) (No. 18‑2486), reh’g en banc granted, 780 F. App’x 36 (4th Cir. 2019), also published on the Social Science Research Network at,

Brief of Amici Curiae Professor Clark D. Cunningham and Professor Jesse Egbert in Support of Neither Party, Blumenthal v. Trump, No. 19-5237 (D.C. Cir. argued Dec. 9, 2019), also published on the Social Science Research Network at

United States v. X-Citement Video, 115 S.Ct. 464 (1994) (filed amicus brief on behalf of the Law & Linguistics Consortium providing the Court with a linguistic analysis of the disputed provision of the federal child pornography act)

Falls v. Sporting News Co., 834 F.2d 6ll (6th Cir. 1987). Counsel for appellant. Case of first impression regarding scope of the employment discrimination provisions of the Michigan Civil Rights Act.

Tyrna v. Adamo Inc., l59 Mich. App. 592, 407 N.W.2d 47 (l987). Counsel for appellant. Case of first impression regarding right to sue under the Michigan Whistleblowers' Protection Act for retaliation arising out of the reporting of occupational health violations.

Detroit Base Coalition for Human Rights of the Handicapped v. Mich. Dept. of Social Services, 431 Mich 172, 428 N.W.2d (1988). Landmark decision interpreting the Michigan Administrative Procedures Act, applying it to policies used by the Michigan Department of Social Services in welfare cases and specifically invalidating policy of denying in-person hearings because not promulgated as a rule under the APA. I served as co-counsel at the trial level.

Michigan Welfare Rights Organization v. Dempsey (E.D. Mich). As lead counsel representing a coalition of welfare rights organizations, negotiated federal consent judgment resulting in major reforms to Michigan welfare application procedures.


Manuscript reviewer for Cambridge University Press, University of Chicago Press, and The International Journal of Speech, Language and the Law.