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Joseph F. Rice School of Law


Derek W. Black

Title: Professor of Law
Carolina Distinguished Professor
Joseph F. Rice School of Law
Phone: 803-777-9652

1525 Senate Street
Columbia, SC 29208


CV (pdf)



Derek W. Black


Derek Black is a professor of law and the Ernest F. Hollings Chair in Constitutional Law at the University of South Carolina School of Law. He also directs the law school’s Constitutional Law Center.  His areas of expertise include education law and policy, constitutional law, and civil rights. The focus of his current scholarship is the intersection of constitutional law and public education, particularly as it pertains to educational equality and fairness for disadvantaged students. His research has been published in the Yale Law Journal, Stanford Law ReviewNYU Law Review, California Law ReviewCornell Law Review, Northwestern University Law ReviewVanderbilt Law Review and dozens of others. His work has been cited by federal courts and various briefs before the U.S. Supreme Court. Based on that research, he offers expert witness testimony in school funding, voucher, and federal education policy litigation.

He is the author of a leading education law casebook, Education Law: Equality, Fairness, and Reform, and two other books aimed at wider audiences, Schoolhouse Burning: Public Education and the Assault on American Democracy and Ending Zero Tolerance: The Crisis of Absolute School Discipline.

He began his career teaching at Howard University School of Law, where he founded and directed the Education Rights Center. Prior to teaching, he litigated education cases at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.


  • Constitutional Law (LAWS 523)
  • Evidence (LAWS 671)
  • Civil Rights Seminar (LAWS 737)
  • Education Law and Policy (LAWS 766)


  • Dangerous Learning: The South’s Long War on Black Literacy (Yale University Press, forthcoming 2024).
  • Schoolhouse Burning: Public Education and the Assault on American Democracy (Public Affairs/Hachette 2020) (reviewed and excerpted in NY Review of Books, and Time, Forbes).
  • Education Law: Equality, Fairness, and Reform (Aspen 1st ed. 2013; 2nd ed. 2017; 3rd ed. 2021).
  • Ending Zero Tolerance: The Crisis of Absolute School Discipline (NYU Press 2016).
  • The Education Power, 109 Virginia Law Review (forthcoming 2024)
  • Localism, Pretext, and the Color of School Dollars, 107 Minnesota Law Review (forthcoming 2023).
  • Religion, Discrimination, and the Future of Public Education, 14 U.C. Irvine Law Review (forthcoming 2023).
  • When Religion and the Public-Education Mission Collide, 132 Yale Law Journal Forum 559 (2022) (invited).
  • Freedom, Democracy, and the Right to Education, 116 Northwestern University Law Review 1031 (2022).
  • Educational Gerrymandering: Money, Motives, and Constitutional Rights, 94 N.Y.U. Law Review 1385 (2019).
  • The Right to Education, Equal Opportunity, and the Schoolhouse Gate, 128 Yale Law Journal 2302 (2019) (review essay with Michelle Adams).
  • The Fundamental Right to Education, 94 Notre Dame Law Review 1059 (2019).
  • Preferencing Educational Choice: The Constitutional Limits, 102 Cornell Law Review 1359 (2018).
  • The Constitutional Compromise to Guarantee Education, 70 Stanford Law Review 735 (2018). [SSRN]

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.