About the Institute

What We Do

The Institute of Bill of Rights Law is committed to educating the broader public about the Bill of Rights. One of the guiding philosophies of the Institute is the conviction that our collective understanding of constitutional issues is enhanced significantly when experts from diverse disciplines—lawyers, journalists, historians, political scientists, economists, sociologists, and politicians—are brought together for serious discussion and debate. Following this interdisciplinary approach, the Institute provides a forum for airing and debating matters of law and policy as a means of increasing our understanding of important constitutional issues. The Institute has been actively involved in its mission since 1982, when it was founded at the law school. All of the Institute’s programs are free and open to the public, and attract a national audience as well as many members of the local community.

Each Fall the Institute hosts a Supreme Court Preview which, for the past twenty-eight years, has brought together Supreme Court advocates, journalists, judges, law professors, and practitioners to review significant cases that have been granted certiorari for the upcoming term of the Supreme Court of the United States. A highlight of the event is the Friday evening Moot Court, during which seasoned Supreme Court advocates argue a controversial upcoming case. The Preview is nationally recognized for providing insight into the upcoming term.

Who We Are
  • Director:
    Neal Devins, Sandra Day O'Connor Professor of Law; Professor of Government; Director, Election Law Program  (nedevi@wm.edu)
  • Assistant Director:
    Rebecca Green, Professor of the Practice of Law; Co-Director, Election Law Program, Assistant Director, CLCT  (rgreen@wm.edu)

The Student Division of the Institute of Bill of Rights Law (IBRL:SD) was established in 1990 to provide students at William & Mary Law School with the opportunity to organize programs on constitutional law topics of special interest to them. As members of IBRL:SD, students have a unique opportunity to take a leadership role in fostering discussion of important constitutional issues. The IBRL:SD sponsors a variety of academic and social programs throughout the year, including Constitutional Conversations, our Scholarly Luncheon Series, and the annual Edmund Randolph Award for Excellence in Oral Advocacy (the “Silver Tongue Award”), which is held in conjunction with the final round of the Bushrod Moot Court Tournament.

Community Partners:

The Institute arranges programming for the H. Stewart Dunn Jr. Civil Liberties Project, an initiative founded by Timothy P. Dunn and Ellen Stofan 2011 to inspire undergraduate and law students at William & Mary to lend their talents to protecting civil liberties afforded citizens of the United States of America by the U.S. Constitution. The Project funds a variety of programs across the campus of The College of William & Mary and in the community, with the goal of enhancing knowledge of civil liberties and encouraging future generations of graduates to devote their time to advancing civil liberties causes.