UToledo News » Law








Union and Management Cooperation Needed to Reopen American Pro Sports

In the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, professional sports leagues briefly suspended play. The NFL shifted its week two games from Sept. 16 and 17 to January. In the midst of playoff races, Major League Baseball initially announced a one-day pause before extending the cancellation period to three and then six days. The return of baseball on Sept. 17 in some locations, and then on Sept. 21 in New York City, and the return of football on Sept. 23 (and Monday Night Football on Sept. 24), 2001, provided vivid moments for a stunned nation to come together and express its grief and its resolve.

The COVID-19 crisis has led to a suspension of professional and amateur sports far exceeding the shutdowns associated with 9/11 and World War II, and likely to exceed the early termination of the Major League Baseball season during World War I.

For many Americans, the return of professional sports will be the signal moment that the country is ready to shift from crisis response to a “new normal.” The return of sports will be about more than just the big business it entails, but also a symbolic moment for the country. (While leagues have endured lengthier absences at times of labor strife, a return-to-play where the pause resulted from internal matters rather than external forces lacks the same symbolic import.)

Reaching this important moment will require cooperation between the professional league owners and the labor unions representing athletes. Because athletes in each of the major sports leagues are represented by unions, all matters relating to wages, hours and conditions of employment must be the subject of collective bargaining. The length of the season, return-to-work dates for preseason training, and the periods for free agent negotiations and contract signing are all topics included in the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) for the major sports leagues. CBAs are in force for each of the leagues, with the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) concluding voting on a new CBA last month.

So far, the unions and leagues have embraced a cooperative approach to adjustments required by the crisis. The NBA reached quick agreement with its players association to cut paychecks by 25%, with the funds held for a later calculation of reduced salaries based on canceled games (the league can, under the terms of its CBA, reduce pay by “1/92.6th” — around 1% — for a game canceled due to “epidemics,” among other items). The NFLPA’s executive committee and board voted unanimously to accept the NFL’s modification of its off-season rules, which prevents any NFL franchise from bringing players in for off-season work until all 50 states have removed stay-at-home restrictions. Based on the seeming likelihood that the country will re-open gradually, it now seems probable that this agreement will mean that the off-season is delayed even though stay-at-home orders have been lifted in some of the states in which NFL teams operate.

As the lockdown continues, however, there’s a greater chance that modifications required to address the public health crisis will lead to disagreements between the unions and the teams. Scheduling of games is the subject of provisions in each contract — in the case of baseball, detailed provisions, including start times of games and travel issues, cover more than seven pages, and modification might be required in the face of ongoing public health developments. Another obvious topic that could prove controversial are COVID-19 testing requirements for players once games resume. The NBA and its Players Association are investigating technology for “near instant” testing, but how and when such testing is mandatory would need to be subject to agreement.

If the public health crisis continues, each of the leagues will also likely need to consider whether to begin to schedule games without fan involvement. This may involve conducting games in states where stay-at-home orders have been lifted, outside of the ordinary “home territory” of particular teams. For instance, Florida has already exempted sports exhibitions from stay-at-home orders, allowing filming of sports events as long as the public is not allowed to attend (so far, an opportunity that only the “sport” of professional wrestling appears to have embraced).

Resolving these kinds of issues will typically require negotiation between the union and the league because the contracts themselves do not provide a mechanism for responding to all of the issues raised by this public health crisis. Baseball provides for a Safety and Health Advisory Committee (with an equal number of representatives for players and the teams) to deal with “emergency safety and health problems as they arise,” but the committee’s role is purely advisory.

Hopefully, the spirit of cooperation continues, so that communities can again come together to grieve over those lost and recommit to a shared purpose in that only sports provides.

Geoffrey Rapp is the Harold A. Anderson Professor of Law and Values and associate dean for academic affairs at The University of Toledo College of Law, where he teaches sports law and other courses.

J.D. Candidate Ready to ‘Jump in Feet First’ Into Employment and Labor Law Career

For almost eight years, Lindsey Self worked in human resources, most recently at First Solar. It wasn’t planning Christmas parties and employee engagement programs that excited her. It was the legal compliance part of her job that she was passionate about ― investigating complaints, managing FMLA compliance and conducting audits.

In May, Self will graduate from The University of Toledo College of Law with her J.D., bringing together the two professional worlds she cares most about.

Graduation Cap

CELEBRATING SUCCESS: During this time when we cannot come together to celebrate our graduates, UToledo is recognizing the Class of 2020 with a series of feature stories on students who are receiving their degrees. Help us celebrate our newest UToledo alumni. Visit utoledo.edu/commencement to share a message of support to graduates and come back online Saturday, May 9, to take part in the virtual commencement ceremony.

“I can jump in feet first,” she said. “All those things I enjoyed in HR that we passed along to counsel ― now I’ll be the counsel.”

Self will start her job as a labor and employment attorney this summer at Eastman & Smith in Toledo, a position the firm offered her last August.

When she began law school, Self was a part-time, evening student. The law program’s flexibility allowed her to work and still care for her two young children. A year into the program, she left her job and enrolled full time.

Self said she appreciated the faculty’s flexibility. Her daughter, Vivian, came to class with her a few times, and it was never an issue. The dean’s secretary even set up the kindergartener with candy.

“Toledo Law turned into a family for me. I was sick recently, and the dean of the college reached out to see how I was feeling. You don’t get that at other schools,” she said. “I had opportunities to build strong and real relationships with experts in their field, professors who went to Harvard and Yale. I feel prepared to walk into any practice.”

Self’s first internship was with Judge Darlene O’Brien at the Washtenaw County Trial Court. The supervising attorney there was a UToledo College of Law graduate and urged her to apply for an internship in federal court. She landed a position with Judge Jeffrey Helmick at the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio.

The judicial internships led to a clerk position with Eastman & Smith and eventually to a full-time job offer.

Lindsay Self

After graduation from the UToledo College of Law, Linday Self will start her job as a labor and employment attorney at Eastman & Smith in Toledo; the firm offered her the position last August.

“Lindsey is an extraordinary student, one of the best I’ve ever had,” said Joseph Slater, Distinguished University Professor and Eugene N. Balk Professor of Law and Values. “She was always prepared, always thoughtful. She has a new, smart idea about labor law that no one’s come up with and is writing a paper about it.”

Self said she’s sad about not being able to walk at commencement. She wanted her children to experience the final moment, to see all that mom had worked for. But they’ll find another way to celebrate, she said. She knows there’s so much more good to come.

“I look forward to raising my family in Toledo and building my career here,” she said. “I want to help Toledo continue to be a great city and to be a community leader.”

Self graduated from Bowling Green State University in 2010 with a dual degree in psychology and sociology. She was the 2019-20 editor of the Toledo Law Review, a student-edited journal written by professors, judges and students. In 2017, while a first-year law student, Self spoke at TEDxToledo about unconscious bias, gender inequality and women’s empowerment.

She also is a member of the Emerging Leaders Council of Advocates for Basic Legal Equality, the Northwest Ohio Human Resource Association and the Toledo Women’s Bar Association. She is co-founder of Make It Count Toledo, a local nonprofit that provides emergency mobilization services to nonprofits that work to help underrepresented and disadvantaged members of the community in crisis.

Self lives in Holland with her husband, Brian, and two children, Vivian (6) and Connor (4).

Networking Opportunities Key to Law Graduate’s Success

Tessa Bayly, who graduates in May with her J.D. from the UToledo College of Law, didn’t follow a traditional path to law school. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, her post-graduate life won’t exactly follow a straight road, either.

Bayly was about two months into her dream internship when COVID-19 wreaked havoc on the country. Instead of waking up in Washington, D.C., and heading into work at the Securities and Exchange Commission, she now rolls out of bed and works remotely from her home in Waterville, Ohio.

Graduation Cap

CELEBRATING SUCCESS: During this time when we cannot come together to celebrate our graduates, UToledo is recognizing the Class of 2020 with a series of feature stories on students who are receiving their degrees. Help us celebrate our newest UToledo alumni. Visit utoledo.edu/commencement to share a message of support to graduates and come back online Saturday, May 9, to take part in the virtual commencement ceremony.

“I’m thankful I had the opportunity [at the SEC] in the first place and that they allowed me to continue to work remotely, even if the experience looks different than I expected,” she said.

Bayly’s entire academic career has looked different than she expected. She started out as a UToledo mechanical engineering student and switched to law and social thought after her second year.

She graduated in 2017 with her bachelor’s degree and went directly to law school, where she has set her own course.

“Tessa is a bright and inquisitive student, who has shown a limitless enthusiasm about learning the law,” said Law Professor Eric Chaffee. “I am excited to see where these qualities take her in her career. I am sure that she has a bright future ahead of her.”

When she first started law school, Bayly said she felt a bit adrift. She had no lawyers in the family. She only knew a handful of attorneys.

During a meeting over coffee, a former UToledo law student recommended Bayly join Toledo Law Review. Bayly took the advice and eventually won a spot as a note and comment editor for the student-edited journal.

Tessa Bayly


Law Review became a defining experience, Bayly said, and the best preparation for her legal career.

“It opens doors,” she said. “Having that on my resumé helped me. It helped me become a better writer. I even had the chance to speak at the student symposium. It was a great opportunity. Presenting to all of those people was terrifying, but it showed me that, with God, I could succeed in the opportunities he’s provided me.”

The willingness of her professors to chat with her about career prospects was also helpful, she said, as were the networking opportunities that the UToledo College of Law offered with alumni and other legal professionals.

“It was nice for someone like me who didn’t know many lawyers or really what it meant to be a lawyer,” she said.

Tessa Bayly, who graduates in May with her J.D., was about two months into her dream internship at the Securities and Exchange Commission when COVID-19 wreaked havoc on the country.

After her first year, when she took some contracts and property classes, Bayly said she found her niche — corporate law. She secured two internships at an investment firm in the Chicago area.

At the SEC, she works in the Division of Enforcement investigating potential securities fraud, market manipulation and the like.

The abrupt end to her law school career feels anticlimactic, Bayly said. She didn’t get to say goodbye to her classmates or collect her diploma at a live commencement ceremony. Since starting law school, she’s looked forward to participating in her first graduation day. She didn’t attend her high school or undergraduate ceremonies.

She plans to take the bar exam this summer, hoping the state doesn’t cancel the July administration. She’d like to apply at the SEC ― one of her top job choices — which generally requires applicants to have taken the bar.

But Bayly has proven time and again that she’s nothing if not flexible.

“Everyone’s experiencing disappointment right now,” she said. “You just have to roll with it.”

UToledo Health Specialty Programs Move Up in U.S. News Rankings

Health specialties at The University of Toledo improved their place in the U.S. News & World Report list of the top graduate programs in the nation.

The recently released 2021 Best Graduate Schools edition lists the doctorate program in occupational therapy at 36, up from 37 last year. It is the first accredited, entry-level, occupational therapy doctorate program at a public institution in Ohio and the U.S., and includes intensive course work, clinical training and service learning.

Pharmacy is ranked No. 57, up from 60, and the graduate program in clinical psychology improved five spots to 138.

Also, tax law jumped 21 spots from 153 last year to 132 this year.

U.S. News ranks programs on criteria such as acceptance rate, GPA, student-faculty ratio, grant funding and peer assessment, among other indicators.

UToledo Law Student Becomes First Black Editor-in-Chief of 52-Year-Old Law Review

Second-year law student Damon Williams made history as he was selected to be the next leader of The University of Toledo Law Review.

Williams will be the first black student to hold the prestigious position of editor-in-chief in the publication’s 52-year history when his term begins later this year.


“I am extremely grateful for the opportunity that I have been afforded,” Williams said. “Becoming the first editor-in-chief with African-American heritage is an amazing milestone, and I am beyond honored.”

The law review, which was first published at the UToledo College of Law in 1969, is a student-run journal written by law professors, judges and students.

“I am delighted that Damon was selected as editor-in-chief of The University of Toledo Law Review,” D. Benjamin Barros, dean of the College of Law, said. “He’s exceptionally bright and will be an excellent leader. Although we wish this milestone would have happened sooner, his selection is encouraging as it reflects progress.”

“This is but a step in what I hope to be a continuing process for The University of Toledo,” Williams said. “I am striving to help foster subsequent diversity milestones and continued Law Review success, and I look forward to my future collaboration with community members.”

Law Review members are selected as editor-in-chief after a highly competitive, in-depth interview process. The elections committee considers academic performance, writing ability as demonstrated by their academic writing and editing throughout the year, and leadership potential.

“From a technical perspective, Damon’s formal yet graceful writing style and his superior academic performance made him a competitive candidate among his peers,” said Lindsey Self, law student and the current editor-in-chief of The University of Toledo Law Review. “He demonstrates conviction in his vision for the journal but is unafraid to take calculated risks. Damon’s writing and leadership demonstrate a unique balance between sensibility and practicality with inventiveness and ingenuity — a balance that is difficult to find in practice, let alone law school.”

Williams, who also serves as president of the Black Law Students Association, was born and raised in Toledo. He earned his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and master’s degree in forensic science at Bowling Green State University.

He hopes his law degree will help him facilitate the social and political changes he wants to see in the world. Although he is still figuring out his next steps, Williams is considering a federal clerkship or doctor of juridical science.

“This is much bigger than me alone,” Williams said. “I have a fantastic executive board in Hayley Mise, Cameron Morrissey, Kate Murray and Morgan Isenberg. Their continued excellence and support are essential to the success of the Law Review. In addition, Lindsey Self has been a shining north star, guiding me toward the path to success.”

Distinguished University Professors Announced

Three Distinguished University Professors were named in honor of their exemplary career achievements in teaching, research, scholarship and professional service.

The newest faculty members with the honorary title, who were approved and recognized by the Board of Trustees Feb. 10, are:

• Eric Chaffee, professor of law in the College of Law;

• Dr. Mohammad Elahinia, professor and chair of mechanical, industrial and manufacturing engineering in the College of Engineering; and

• Dr. Melinda Reichelt, professor of English in the College of Arts and Letters.

Three Distinguished University Professors were honored and approved by the UToledo Board of Trustees. They are, from left center, Dr. Mohammad Elahinia, Eric Chaffee and Dr. Melinda Reichelt. To Commemorate the moment, they were joined by, from left, President Sharon L. Gaber, UToledo Board of Trustees Chair Mary Ellen Pisanelli and Provost Karen Bjorkman.

“Being named a Distinguished University Professor is The University of Toledo’s highest permanent honor bestowed upon a faculty member,” said Dr. Karen Bjorkman, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs. “We are proud of these outstanding faculty members who contribute so much in the classroom and in their fields. The impact they have on our students is immense.”

Chaffee joined the University in 2013. He is a nationally recognized scholar of business law and has written extensively about securities regulation, compliance, and the essential nature of the corporate form. He has presented on these topics at prestigious schools, including Harvard University, the University of Chicago and the University of California at Berkeley, and has published in numerous top-tier journals.

He is the co-author of three books, including a forthcoming title published by Cambridge University Press, and he is a founder of the National Business Law Scholars Conference, the premier conference in the business law field. In addition, Chaffee has served as chair of multiple sections of the American Association of Law Schools — positions elected by his peers.

“The Distinguished University Professors that I have encountered during my time at UToledo have all been phenomenal people,” Chaffee said. “I am deeply honored to receive this award. I am very grateful to all of those individuals who have supported me and challenged me to be more during my career, especially my colleagues at the College of Law.”

During his time at the College of Law, Chaffee has received four teaching awards thanks to votes from law students. He also has written and spoken extensively about the importance of incorporating transactional skills into law school curricula.

Elahinia is a global leader in advance manufacturing of shape memory alloys with applications in energy, medical, and mobility applications. He brought his expertise in smart and active materials to UToledo in 2004. During his tenure at the University, he has received more than $13 million in sponsored research funding for 36 projects as principal investigator. Sponsors of his work include the National Science Foundation, the Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Army, the U.S. Department of Transportation, and the Ohio Board of Regents.

With his students, Elahinia has authored or co-authored three books, seven book chapters and more than 100 journal articles. These publications have been cited more than 4,700 times. He and his students have presented nearly 280 conference papers. Elahinia has 19 invention disclosures.

“The scholarly success of my group is due to the dedication of my students and research scholars, eight of whom have become professors in other universities around the country,” Elahinia said. “I am honored and humbled by the recognition. Over the years, I have been fortunate to work with a very talented group of students and colleagues inside and outside of the University who have been very supportive. This recognition belongs to them all.”

A strong mentor, Elahinia has supervised nearly 20 visiting scholars and postdoctoral researchers. He received the University’s Faculty Research and Scholarship Award in 2017 and the Outstanding Teacher Award in 2019.

Reichelt became a faculty member in the Department of English Language and Literature in 1997. She teaches linguistics and English as a second language writing. Additionally, Reichelt directs the University’s English as a Second Language Writing Program.

Her research focuses on the role of English and English-language writing instruction around the world, including in Germany, Turkey, Poland, Spain, Cuba and the United States. She co-edited two books, “Foreign Language Writing” and “L2 Writing Beyond English.” Reichelt also has published in various edited collections and prestigious journals, including Composition Studies, Modern Language Journal, World Englishes, Foreign Language Annals, and the Journal of Second Language Writing.

“I am pleased to receive this honor and am grateful to my family, colleagues and students,” Reichelt said.

She has presented her work at conferences in China, Bulgaria, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Germany, Cuba, Ukraine and the United States. Her international reputation has led to delivering keynote addresses at several global conferences. Reichelt has received two Fulbright Scholar awards, and she serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Second Language Writing.

UToledo Spotlights Unlikely Friendship Sparked by Landmark Same-Sex Marriage Case

The U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage five years ago in its landmark Obergefell v. Hodges case.

This week the named parties on opposing sides of one of the most important Supreme Court rulings in recent history will be at The University of Toledo to discuss the case and their resulting friendship.


Jim Obergefell, the plaintiff who sued the state of Ohio for refusing to recognize his marriage on his husband’s death certificate, and Rick Hodges, the defendant and UToledo alumnus who served as director of the Ohio Department of Health at the time of the case, will take the stage for “Finding Friendship in a Contentious Place: A Conversation With Obergefell and Hodges From the Landmark U.S. Supreme Court Case on Same-Sex Marriage” Thursday, Feb. 13, at 6 p.m. in Doermann Theatre.

D. Benjamin Barros, dean of the College of Law, will moderate the free, public event presented by The University of Toledo Law Review.

Rob Salem, professor and dean for diversity and inclusion at the College of Law, will provide legal commentary of the challenges same-sex couples still face five years after the decision.


“We’re honored to host these guest speakers not just because of their prominent role in a landmark Supreme Court case, but because they embody the spirit of civility and celebration of differences,” Salem said.

Obergefell works as an LGBTQA+ activist and serves on the Board of Directors for Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders, the oldest and largest national nonprofit organization that advocates for and provides services for LGBTQA+ older Americans. Obergefell co-authored the book “Love Wins” with Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist Debbie Cenziper.

Hodges is an executive in residence and visiting professor at Ohio University. He also is the director of the Ohio Alliance for Innovation in Population Health. Hodges is a former member of the Ohio House of Representatives. He earned his master’s degree in public administration from UToledo in 1991.

For those unable to attend, the event will stream live on the UToledo Alumni Association website.

Trustees Approve Housing, Meal Plan Rates

The University of Toledo continued its practice of making room and board decisions ahead of the annual budgeting process to provide prospective and current students more time to make decisions about their plans for the upcoming school year.

The housing and meal plan rates approved during Monday’s Board of Trustees meeting are effective for the fall 2020 semester.

Trustees approved a 3.1% increase in meal plans to cover increasing costs of operations equal to the consumer price index. The increase is between $25 to $66 per semester depending on the meal plan.

The University also is working closely with Student Government to update meal plan options, which students have requested. The four meal plan options for the 2020-21 academic year will include one all-you-care-to-eat plan and the other three plans will provide more flexible options for using meal swipes and dining dollars throughout the week.

On-campus student housing will increase an average of 2.95%, depending on the residence hall and type of room selected by the student. For example, a standard double room will increase between $120 to $290 per semester depending on which residence hall it is located.

The new room and board fees are for students who are not part of an existing Toledo Tuition Guarantee, for which room and board rates are guaranteed for four years as part of the program. The rates apply to continuing students and those entering the third cohort of the Toledo Guarantee.

Trustees also approved three faculty members being named Distinguished University Professors and sabbatical leaves for 23 faculty members. The newest Distinguished University Professors recognized for their exemplary teaching, research, scholarship and professional service are Eric Chaffee of the College of Law, Dr. Mohammad Elahinia of the College of Engineering and Dr. Melinda Reichelt of the College of Arts and Letters.

UToledo College of Law, Marietta College Establish 3+3 Partnership

The University of Toledo College of Law and Marietta College, a private liberal arts college in Ohio, announced a 3+3 Program partnership to offer Marietta College students a faster path to complete their law degree.

3+3 is an accelerated J.D. program that allows select undergraduate students at partner institutions to earn both a bachelor’s degree and a law degree in just six years instead of seven. Students not only save a year of tuition and housing costs, but also enter the job market sooner.

Announcing the new 3+3 Program partnership between the UToledo College of Law and Marietta College were, from left, D. Benjamin Barros, dean of the UToledo College of Law; Dr. Karen S. Bjorkman, UToledo provost and executive vice president for academic affairs; Dr. William N. Ruud, president of Marietta College; and Dr. Janet L. Bland, provost and dean of faculty at Marietta College.

Students who qualify for the latest 3+3 Program must first complete three years of undergraduate course work at Marietta College. In their junior year, students will take the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) and complete a College of Law application. Students will begin legal courses at the UToledo College of Law during what typically would be their senior year.

“Marietta College is committed to providing access to top-notch educational opportunities for all of our students,” said Dr. William N. Ruud, Marietta College’s 19th president and former dean of The University of Toledo College of Business. “This 3+3 law school opportunity is a creative partnership for both Marietta College and The University of Toledo College of Law that helps students better manage the cost of higher education, while obtaining an amazing education from two outstanding institutions.”

“We are excited to strengthen our relationship with Marietta College,” said Geoffrey Rapp, associate dean for academic affairs and Harold A. Anderson Professor of Law and Values at the UToledo College of Law. “We look forward to providing a shorter path to a law career for outstanding Marietta College students.”

The UToledo College of Law was one of the first law schools in Ohio to launch a 3+3 Program. In addition to Marietta College, the college has partnered with several undergraduate institutions across Ohio, Michigan and Indiana: the UToledo College of Arts and Letters, Adrian College, Indiana Tech University, Lourdes University, Siena Heights University, Trine University and the University of Findlay. Continued growth is anticipated over the next few years.

UToledo Law Scholar’s New Book ‘Originalism’s Promise’ Illuminates Constitution

In the midst of President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial and heading into the 2020 presidential election, a constitutional law scholar at The University of Toledo released a new book providing the first natural law justification for an originalist interpretation of the American Constitution.

In “Originalism’s Promise: A Natural Law Account of the American Constitution” published by Cambridge University Press, Lee Strang, John W. Stoepler Professor of Law and Values in the UToledo College of Law, provides a summary of the history of constitutional interpretation in the United States and writes a thorough and detailed description of how originalism operates in practice.


“This book provides an argument for how Americans should interpret the Constitution and offers a way out of the bitterness exemplified by the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh,” Strang said. “Faithfulness to the Constitution’s original meaning is supported by sound reasons, reasons that help all Americans achieve their own human flourishing.”

The College of Law is celebrating the book’s release with a book launch that features a lecture by Strang Wednesday, Jan. 29, at noon in the Law Center McQuade Auditorium. The free, public event will be followed by a book signing.

Strang, who was a visiting fellow at the James Madison Program at Princeton University during the 2018-19 academic year, has published dozens of articles in the fields of constitutional law and interpretation; property law; and religion and the First Amendment.

“In this presidential election year, my goal is to inform Americans as they debate the Supreme Court’s future,” Strang said. “‘Originalism’s Promise’ is the product of more than 20 years of thinking through two common American commitments. First, Americans strive to be faithful to our Constitution. Second, and following the Declaration of Independence, many Americans are committed to some version of natural law. Together, these commitments suggest that Americans of all stripes should utilize originalism to interpret our common Constitution.”

The UToledo College of Law awarded Strang the Faculty Scholarship Award in 2019 for “Originalism’s Promise.” He was the recipient of The University of Toledo Outstanding Faculty Research and Scholarship Award in 2017.

In 2015, Strang served as a visiting scholar at the Georgetown Center for the Constitution.

Strang said the inspiration for writing the book stems from his experiences as a younger person attending political events with his parents, his education as a law student, and how vigorously Americans disagree about how to interpret the Constitution.

“I listened as politicians and activists argued that the Constitution supported their positions, so this book grew out of an attempt to identify how Americans can ascertain which claims are correct,” Strang said. “Also, as a student taking constitutional law classes, we did not study the Constitution’s text, structure and history. I remember we nearly always read Supreme Court opinions, which themselves rarely paid attention to the Constitution’s text. This book both criticizes and supports aspects of that educational approach.”