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Stephen L. Carter

Doctor of Laws

The William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Law at Yale, Stephen L. Carter has helped to shape national debate on issues ranging from the role of religion in American politics to the impact of integrity and civility upon our daily lives. The New York Times has called him one of the country’s leading public intellectuals. Born in Washington, D.C., Carter attended the public schools of Washington, New York City, and Ithaca, N.Y.

He received his bachelor’s degree from Stanford and his law degree from Yale. Before joining the Yale faculty, in 1982, he served as a clerk first for the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, and later for Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall. A teacher of constitutional law, contracts, intellectual property, law and religion, legal ethics, and law and science, Carter is also a critically acclaimed novelist and nonfiction writer on subjects including affirmative action and the judicial confirmation process.

His nonfiction, such as the bestseller The Culture of Disbelief: How American Law and Politics Trivialize Religious Devotion(1993), Civility: Manners, Morals, and the Etiquette of Democracy (1998), and Reflections of An Affirmative Action Baby (1991) have won praise from across the political spectrum, from Anna Quindlen, Marian Wright Edelman, and former President Bill Clinton, to William Buckley and the late John Cardinal O’Connor. Carter’s first novel, The Emperor of Ocean Park (2002), explores the worlds of family and law.

The first non-theologian to receive the Louisville-Grawemeyer Award in religion, he is a member of the American Law Institute, a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a trustee of the Aspen Institute, where he moderates seminars for executives and political leaders on values-based leadership. Published widely in law reviews and the popular press, he has provided commentary on such television shows asNightline, The News Hour with Jim Lehrer, and Face the Nation. A life member of the United States Chess Foundation, Carter is a Boy Scout troop leader in New Haven, Conn., where he lives with his wife and their two children.


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