Cedric Merlin Powell
Professor of Law
- Phone: 502-852-6363
- Fax: 502-852-0862 (Law School Main)
- Office: 266
Cedric Merlin Powell received his B.A. with Honors in Politics from Oberlin College in 1984 and his J.D. in 1987 from New York University School of Law, where he served as Managing Editor of The N.Y.U. Review of Law and Social Change. Prior work experiences include a judicial clerkship with the Honorable Julia Cooper Mack of the D.C. Court of Appeals from 1987-88, a one-year term as Karpatkin Fellow in the national office of the American Civil Liberties Union in New York from 1988-89, and as a litigation associate with the New York law firm of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, from 1989-93. He is a member of the Ohio and New York state bars, and is admitted to practice before the Supreme Court of the United States, and the federal courts of the Second and Sixth Circuits, and the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York.
Professor Powell has written over a broad range of topics including affirmative action and Critical Race Theory, the First Amendment and hate speech, and the First Amendment and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. All of his scholarship critiques neutrality as a means of preserving structural inequality, and advances theories of substantive equality which reject colorblindness and post-racialism as normative principles in constitutional analysis.
Professor Powell was awarded the Ferreri & Fogle Fellowship for teaching in 1998, 2000-2001 and again in 2007. He was the recipient of the Ann Oldfather fellowship in 2006, and he won the University Multicultural Teaching Award in 2000. He was recognized by the historic Chestnut Street YMCA as a 2014 Adult Black Achiever. Professor Powell was awarded the 2014 LBA Justice William E. McAnulty, Jr., Trailblazer Award, the first law professor to be so honored.
Constitutional Law I
Constitutional Law II
Race and the Law
Critical Race Theory
Law and Literature
Affirmative Action and Critical Race Theory in Vol. 2 AFFIRMATIVE ACTION: CONTEMPORARY PERSPECTIVES, Chapter 11, pp. 267-98 (James Beckman, ed.) (Praeger 2014)
Legal Considerations in Downsizing: The Issue of Race, Chapter 3, 13th Annual Warns Labor and Employment Law Institute (1996)
Articles, Essays, and Book Reviews
From Jena to Juneau: Nooses, Bong HiTs, and Regulation of Hate in the Public Square (work-in-progress)
Milliken,"Neutral Principles," and Post-Racial Determinism, 31 Harv. J. Racial & Ethnic Just. __ (invited symposium article) (2014)
Justice Thomas, Brown, and Post-Racial Determinism, 53 Washburn L. Rev. 451 (2014) (Brown 60th Anniversary Symposium, Topeka, KS)
Critiquing Neutrality: Critical Perspectives on Schools, the First Amendment, and Affirmative Action in a "Post-Racial" World (Inaugural Faculty Showcase Lecture), 52 U. Louisville L. Rev. 105 (2013)
Gideon v. Wainwright: Process, Substance, and the Illusiveness of Fairness, 52 U. Louisville L. Rev. Online 1 (2013), www.louisvillelawreview.org, reprinted in The Advocate, Kentucky Journal of Criminal Justice Education & Research, October 15, 2013
Identity, Liberal Individualism, and the Neutral Allure of Post-Blackness (book review of Touré, Who's Afraid of Post-Blackness ?), 15 The Green Bag 2d 341 (2012)
Harvesting New Conceptions of Equality: Opportunity, Results, and Neutrality, 31 St. Louis U. Pub. L. Rev. 255 (2012)
From Louisville to Liddell: Schools, Rhetorical Neutrality, and the Post-Racial Equal Protection Clause (symposium essay), 40 Washington U. J. L & Pol'y 153 (2012)
From Page to Practice (Panel Speech in Commemoration of the 40th Anniversary of the NYU Review of Law & Social Change), 34 NYU Rev. Law & Soc. Change 446 (2010)
Schools, Rhetorical Neutrality, and the Failure of the Colorblind Equal Protection Clause, 10 Rutgers Race & L. Rev. 347 (2008).
The Future of Integration in America: A Symposium Summary, 46 U. Louisville L. Rev. 559 (2008).
Rhetorical Neutrality: Colorblindness, Frederick Douglass, and Inverted Critical Race Theory, 56 Clev. St. L. Rev. 823 (2008).
The Rhetoric of Colorblind Constitutionalism: Individualism, Race and Public Schools in Louisville, Kentucky, 112 Penn. State L. Rev. 947 (2008) (with Enid Trucios-Haynes).
The Scope of National Power and the Centrality of Religion, 38 Brandeis L J. 643 (2000).
Hopwood: Bakke II and Skeptical Scrutiny, 9 Seton Hall Const. L. J. 811 (1999).
Blinded by Color: The New Equal Protection, The Second Deconstruction, and Affirmative Inaction, 51 U. Miami L. Rev. 191 (1997).
Speaking Truth to Power: The Jurisprudence of Julia Cooper Mack, 40 Howard L.J. 399 (1997).
The Mythological Marketplace of Ideas: R.A.V., Mitchell, and Beyond, 12 Harv. BlackLetter L.J. 1 (1995)
Missouri v. Jenkins, in 3 Encyclopedia of the Supreme Court of the United States 314-15 (Tennenhaus, et al. eds., 2008).
New York Times v. United States, in 3 Encyclopedia of the Supreme Court of the United States 404-06 (Tennenhaus, et al. eds., 2008).
Op-ed, A Flawed and Conflicted System, Lexington-Herald Leader, December 9, 2014, http://www.kentucky.com/2014/12/09/3583421/cedric-merlin-powell-dont-blame.html?sp=/99/349/
Interview, Courier-Journal, Local Rally About Ferguson Case Planned Today, November 25, 2014, at A1
Community Challenge, Op-ed (co-author with J. Barry Barker), A New TARC for New Year, The Courier-Journal, January 13, 2014, at A11
Interview, Minority Corporate Counsel Association (MCCA), Diversity & the Bar Magazine 43 (July/August 2012)
Op-ed (co-author with J. Barry Barker), Public Transit at a Crossroads, The Courier-Journal, July 8, 2012, at H.
The Roberts Court and Post-Racial Constitutionalism, National Bar Association Magazine, Vol. 18, No. 1 (August-December 2011)
Op-ed (co-author with Catherine Fosl and Cathy Hinko), Breaking Down Color Barriers: Louisville Needs Diversity in Housing, Schools, The Courier-Journal, December 12, 2010, at H.
Op-ed, A Constitutional Crisis in the Commonwealth, The Courier-Journal, Aug. 11, 2008, at A8.
Op-ed, Public Advocacy Right to Reduce Caseload, Lexington Herald-Leader, Aug. 18, 2008, at A7.
Op-ed, A Narrow Crack in the Schoolhouse Door, LEO, July 4, 2007, at 9.
Panelist, Black Childhood & Philosophy, The New Discourse of Post-Racial Proceduralism and Its Impact on Opportunity, Freedom From Fear: Black Childhood and Other Dangers II, Lewis & Clark Law School, Portland, Oregon, April 17, 2015
Panelist, From Parkland to Ferguson: The Persistence of Racial Disparities, Health Sciences Campus,Translational Research Building, April 3, 2015
Guest Lecturer (via Skype), Public Education, Policy, and Law (Seminar taught by Oberlin President Marvin Krislov), Oberlin College March 9, 2015
Moderator, State of the Union Panel Discussion and Watch Party, Delta Sigma Theta Soriority and Urban League Young Professionals, January 20, 2015
Moot Court, Du Pont Manual High School, Jefferson Davis v. United States, December 17, 2014
Community Conversation on Ferguson, Louisville Urban League, December 9, 2014
Law School Preview Day and Open House, Class on New York Times v. United States, November 22, 2014
Panelist, Black Childhood & Fear, The Dangers of Neutrality: Structural Inequality, Schools, and Post-Racial Determinism, Freedom from Fear: On Black Childhood & Other Dangers, November 21, 2014, University of Kentucky College of Law
Panelist, 25th Anniversary St. Louis Black Leadership Roundtable Education Summit, Harris-Stowe State University, November 15, 2014
Panelist, Education: Equal But Separate ? Global Citizens and Equality 50 Years After the 1964 Civil Rights Act, Milliken, "Neutral Principles," and Post-Racial Determinism, Texas A&M University School of Law, November 6, 2014
Ferguson, Louisville, the Community, and Criminal Justice, Principal Panelist, Highland Presbyterian Church, September 21, 2014
Keynote Speaker, 2014 Summer Internship Program Appreciation Luncheon, LBA, August 7, 2014
Lead Commentator-Panelist, Fifth Annual John Mercer Langston Black Male Law Professor Writing Workshop, UNLV School of Law, Las Vegas, Nevada, July 10-13, 2014
Keynote Address, The Lawyer in a Changing World, BLSA Convocation, May 9, 2014
Panelist, Brown v. Board at 60: Looking Back-Looking Forward Symposium, Washburn University School of Law, Topeka, Kansas, February 26-27, 2014
2014 William E. McAnulty, Jr, Trailblazer Award, Remarks on Empathy, February 25, 2014
Panelist, Symposium, Post-Racial Constitutionalism and the Roberts Court, The Alexander Hamilton Historical Society of Kentucky and the Poltical Science Club, Bellarmine University, February 22, 2014
Presenter, Metro Human Relations Annual Conference, Kentucky Center for African American Heritage, February 13, 2014, Post-Racial Constitutionalism: Fisher, Shelby County, and Schuette
Lead Commentator-Panelist, Fourth Annual John Mercer Langston Black Male Law Professor Writing Workshop, University of Denver Sturm College of Law, July 11-14, 2013
Supreme Court Update: Voting Rights Act and Affirmative Action, WLOU 1350 AM, Kentucky Alliance, June 29, 2013
Kentucky Bar Association 2013 Annual Convention, The Gideon decision: Constitutional Mandate or Empty Promise ?, Panel Discussion with Amy Bach, Stephen B. Bright, Stephen Hanlon, and William Leahy, June 19, 2013
From Brown to Fisher: How the Supreme Court Has Shaped the Struggle For Equality In Education (with Professor Enid Trucios-Haynes), National Bar Association Region VI Conference, Hosted by Louisville Black Lawyers Association, May 17, 2013
Is There Anything to Remedy ? The Shift from Colorblind Constitutionalism to Post-Racial Constitutionalism: Shelby County v. Holder, April 11, 2013, American Constitution Society-BLSA
Panel Presentation (with Professor James Jacobs, NYU; Nat Hentoff, Cato Institute; and Professor John Echeverria, Vermont Law School), Criminalizing Hate: Thought Crime or Necessary Mens Rea ? Vermont Law School, November 27, 2012 (sponsored by The Federalist Society, BLSA, The Criminal Law Society, and Alliance)
Inaugural Faculty Scholarship Showcase, Critiquing Neutrality: Critical Perspectives on Schools, the First Amendment, and Affirmative Action in a Post-Racial World, November 7, 2012
School Choice Panel, ELPS & the Federalist Society, October 17, 2012 (Clark Neily, Institute for Justice and Professor Laura Rothstein)
Voter Disenfranchisement and the Myth of American Democracy, American Constitution Society, October 16, 2012
Lead Primary Commentator-Panelist, The Third Annual John Mercer Langston Black Male Law Faculty Writing Workshop, Suffolk University Law School, Boston, Massachusetts, June 28-30, 2012
Moderator, What is Justice ? Criminal Justice Summit, African American Initiative (AAI), Law Enforcement, Prosecution & Community Panel Discussion, Jefferson County Community & Technical College, June 8, 2012
Moderator, What is Justice ? Criminal Justice Summit, AAI, Imprisonment & Re-entry: Who is in the System ? Where from There ? Panel (with J. Michael Brown, Secretary of Justice, Commonwealth of Kentucky), June 8, 2012
Panelist, Commemorating the Desegregation Movement in St. Louis, From Louisville to Liddell:Schools, Rhetorical Neutrality, and the Post-Racial Equal Protection Clause, Washington University School of Law, St. Louis, MO, March 22, 2012
"What is Constitutional Law ?" A Discussion with the Harlan Scholars, October 27, 2011
Presenter, Post-Racialism, Post-PICS: Liberal Individualism, Choice, and the Politics of Race; Commentator, 2011 Joint Meeting of the SE/SW/MW People of Color Legal Scholarship Conferences, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, April 1, 2011
From Brown to PICS/Meredith: Process, Results, and Post-Racialism, March 16, 2011, Bellarmine University
Current Ethical Issues in Administrative Hearings, Kentucky Association of Administrative Adjudicators, February 23, 2011, Frankfort, Kentucky
Hate Crime Laws: Unnecessary and Undesirable or Essential and Indispensable ? Federalist Society Debate with Professor James Jacobs, NYU School of Law, January 13, 2011
Debate League Workship (with Professor Luke Milligan), Punishment of Juveniles as Adult Offenders, Du Pont Manual High School, January 10, 2011
Presenter, the crit legal scholarship conference, "Harvesting New Conceptions of Equality: Opportunity, Results, and Neutrality," University of Idaho School of Law, September 24, 2010
Constitution Day Keynote Address: The Justice as Referee: Balls, Strikes, and the Fallacy of Neutrality, Bellarmine University, September 17, 2010
Panelist, Inaugural John Mercer Langston Writing Conference, SMU Dedman School of Law, Dallas, Texas, June 24-26, 2010
Panelist, National Executive Leadership Conference, University of Louisville, March 12, 2010
Speaker, The Legacy of Brown: Liberal Individualism, Colorblind Constitutional, and Schools, Bellarmine University, March 10, 2010
Panelist, Diversity Forum, The Pipeline and the Signature Partnership Initiative, March 9, 2010
Panelist, Saturday Academy (Park Du Valle), The Use of History to Define the Black Experience: Brown, Post-Racialism, and the Struggle Ahead, February 27, 2010
Panelist, The Jurisprudence of Justice Clarence Thomas, Stetson University College of Law, Gulfport, Florida, February 12, 2010
Diversity Forum: Racial Profiling (with Chief White and Professor Rajack-Talley), November 3, 2009
Affirmative Action: Is it Good or Bad ? Federalist Society Debate with Professor Nicolas Cipaldi, October 28, 2009
BLSA Regional Academic Retreat Panel, Exam Preparation, October 17, 2009
Panelist, Constitution Day: Justice Sotomayor, Race, and "the Wise Latina," September 17, 2009
Panelist, State of Affairs, WFPL, Hate Groups, August 5, 2009
Presenter, CLE: Authentication and Admissibility: Selected Evidence Rules and Documents, Division of Administrative Hearings, June 19, 2009 (Kentucky Historical Society)
Keynote Address: Lincoln, Race, and the Concept of Union, Law Day, Daviess County Bar Association, Owensboro, Kentucky, April 30, 2009
Panelist, From Page to Practice, 40th Anniversary Celebration of the NYU Review of Law & Social Change, New York, New York, March 6, 2009
Panelist, Forum on Race, Sports, and Law (with Derwin Webb, Esq. and Pat Forde, ESPN), December 3, 2008
Moderator, Separate Is Never Equal: Stories from South Africa and Palestine (with Dr. Diana Buttu and Rev. Eddie Makue), November 20, 2008
Panelist, "Community Engagement with the Signature Partnership", Celebration of Teaching and Learning Conference on Initiative, Louisville, KY (October 17, 2008)
Panelist, "Access 2 Success", Governors Conference on Trusteeship, Lexington, KY (September 29, 2008)
Panelist, Equal Protection or Just 'Separate but Equal'? The Future of School Integration, Rutgers Race and the Law Review, Newark, (N.J., March 29, 2008)
Panelist, LBA CLE on Diversity (February 28, 2008)
Speaker, Justice McAnulty Memorial (February 27, 2008)
Panelist, First Amendment & Hate Speech (February 18, 2008)
Moderator, University of Louisville Law Review Symposium: The Future of School Integration in America-Meredith v. Jefferson County Board of Education (January 18, 2008)
Opening Housing, Discrimination, and Transportation, Central High School, November 27, 2007
Jena 6, Third Monday Dialogue, Beyond Jena 6, Braden Center, November 19, 2007
Jena 6, Criminal Justice and Race Panel, Peace and Justice Week, University of Louisville, Chao Auditorium, October 23, 2007
Meredith and Rhetorical Neutrality, University of Louisville Faculty Workshop, October 19, 2007
Constitution Day: "Bong Hits for Jesus and the First Amendment," University of Louisville, September 17, 2007
State of Affairs, WFPL, Meredith decision (panel discussion with professors Russell Weaver and Gary Orfield) July 3, 2007.
Op-ed, "A Narrow Crack in the Schoolhouse Door," LEO, July 4, 2007.
Meredith decision, WAVE3 News, June 28, 2007
Meredith decision, Fox News, June 29, 2007
Meredith decision, WLKY, June 29, 2007
Keynote Address, 7th Annual BLSA Convocation, May 11, 2007
Moderator, 2006 Judicial Candidates Forum (Junior League; LBA; Women Lawyers Association; Black Lawyers Association; National Council of Jewish Women) (November 2, 2006)
Moderator, Jefferson County Schools Go to Washington: The Supreme Court and the Future of School Desegregation (Diversity Program, Brandeis School of Law at the University of Louisville, October 17, 2006)
Inaugural LBA Leadership Academy: Ethics, Law, and Social Change (CLE ) (September, 2006)
Study Skills Workshop, BLSA (September 22, 2006)
Mock Class, Family and Friends Law School Orientation (August 26, 2006)
Mock Class, Central High School at Brandeis School of Law (March 6, 2006)
Panelist-Presenter, Mid-Atlantic People of Color Scholarship Conference, American University-Washington College of Law, Washington, D.C., January 27, 2006
Introduction of Keynote Speaker Professor Charles Ogletree (Harvard Law School), 10th Annual Louisville Metro Human Rights Commission Conference, January 11, 2006
Moderator, Police Community Relations Panel (Rev. Louis Coleman, Laura Douglas, David James, Christopher 2X, Anne Braden, and Chief Robert White), Yearlings Club, November 13, 2005
Presenter, Panel: The ACLU Freedom Files: The Supreme Court (Linda Earls), Louisville Free Public Library, October 27, 2005
Moderator, Jefferson County Judicial Candidates Forum, October 21, 2004
Brown at 50, Bellarmine University, September 16, 2004
Kentucky Bar Association Annual Convention (Panelist with Professors Linda Greene (Wisconsin) and Roberta Harding (University of Kentucky), June 23, 2004
Debate on Affirmative Action, Amicus Club (ACLU), June 17, 2004
Keynote Address, 47th Annual Law Day Celebration, Warren County-Bowling Green Bar Association, May, 2004
University Day of Dialogue: Hate in America (A Rationale for Regulation of Hate Speech), March 31, 2004
University of Kentucky President's Commission on Diversity: Brown, March 26, 2004
Hate Speech and the Klan, Tavis Smiley Show, (NPR, WFPL Louisville affiliate), March 25, 2004
Keynote Address, Brown at 50: Process, Results and the Unfulfilled Promise of Diversity, University of Idaho School of Law, February 25, 2004
Mid-Atlantic People of Color Scholarship Conference, University of Baltimore School of Law (Presenter, January 31, 2004)
Louisville Metro Commission on Human Rights: Affirmative Action (Panelist), January 29, 2004
Brown and Affirmative Action, University of Louisville School of Medicine, January 29, 2004
Oberlin College Inaugural Conference on Law and the Liberal Arts (Panelist), Oberlin, Ohio, November 14-16, 2003
Panelist, Governor's Conference on PostSecondary Education Trusteeship, September 21, 2003 (Affirmative Action after Grutter)
Hate Speech: Should the Government have the Power to Censor Offensive Speech ?, McConnell Center Forum, September 10, 2003 (Russell Weaver, Brandeis School of Law; Dieter Dorr, Gutenberg University, Mainz, Germany; Paul Salamanca, University of Kentucky; and Eric Sales, Montpellier, France)
Louisville Forum, Affirmative Action: the University of Michigan Supreme Court Case, April 9, 2003 (J. Michael Brown, counsel for duPont; Eric Jaffe, former Law Clerk, United States Supreme Court Justice Thomas; and Bill Stone, Former Chairman, Jefferson County Republican Party)
State of Affairs, WFPL 89.3 (National Public Radio Affiliate), Affirmative Action, March 2003 (Ward Connerly participated via phone as a panelist; Russell Weaver, Brandeis School of Law at the University of Louisville and Paul Webber, University of Louisville)
Panelist, Stranger With A Camera, Appalachian Film Festival, Cincinnati Museum Center, Reakirt Auditorium, April 22, 2001
State of Affairs with Cameron Lawrence, WFPL 89.3 (National Public Radio Affiliate), Faith-Based Organizations, January 31, 2001
Whiteness As Property, February 15, 2000, Multicultural Center. Panel Discussion and Presentation on Race and Entitlement
Warns Labor Law Institute, June, 1998. Presentation on professional responsibility aspects of negotiation, arbitration, and mediation
Hopwood: Bakke II and Skeptical Scrutiny: Presented as a work-in-progress at the 1996 Social Theory Commonwealth Conference at the University of Kentucky on November 1, 1996
Warns Labor Law Institute, June 6, 1996. Presentation on Title VII and the issue of race in downsizing
Blinded By Color: The New Equal Protection, The Second Deconstruction, and Affirmative Inaction: Presented as a work-in-progress at the Second Annual Mid-Atlantic People of Color Legal Scholarship Conference at Howard University Law School, Washington, D.C., February 15-17, 1996
University and Community Service
AALS Minority Section Executive Commitee (2013-)
Board of Advisers, The Green Bag Almanac & Reader
The National Institute for Restorative Justice
ACLU, Legal Review Committee (2011-)
Commissioner, Kentucky Department of Public Advocacy (2005-10)
Leadership Louisville (2003)
Appointed to Transit Authority of River City ("TARC") Board (2003-) by Mayor Abramson. Chair, TARC Board of Directors, June, 2008-.
Member, President's Leadership Team, Southern Association of Colleges and Schools ("SACS") Accreditation (Fall 2005-07)
Commissioner, Commission on Diversity and Racial Equality ("CODRE") (1998-04)
Unit Liaision, Signature Partnership Initiative, 2009-.
Member, Educational Programs Subcommittee, SACS Reaffirmation Process (2015-17)
Law School Service:
Admissions Committee (1995-2004; 2005-13; Chair, 2012-13)
Associate Dean for Academic Affairs (2001-04)
Faculty Appointments Committee (2007-12; Chair, 2010-11; 2014-15)
Reinstatement and Probation Committee (2007; 2014-15)
Member, Harlan Scholars Selection Committee
Faculty Advisor to BLSA (1993-)
Planning Committee of the Mid-Atlantic People of Color Legal Scholarship Conference (February,1997; February, 2004)