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Brian Soucek

Professor of Law and Chancellor’s Fellow


B.A., summa cum laude Philosophy and Economics, Boston College 1998, Phi Beta Kappa

Ph.D. Philosophy, Columbia University 2006

J.D. Yale Law School 2011


Brian Soucek is a graduate of Boston College (B.A., Philosophy and Economics); Columbia University (Ph.D., Philosophy), where he was awarded the Core Preceptor Prize for his teaching; and Yale Law School (J.D.), where he was Comments Editor for the Yale Law Journal, a Coker Fellow in Procedure and won the Munson Prize for his work in the school’s immigration clinic. Prior to law school, Soucek taught for three years in the Humanities Collegiate Division and Philosophy Department at the University of Chicago, where he was Collegiate Assistant Professor and Co-Chair of the Society of Fellows in the Liberal Arts. After law school, he clerked for the late Mark R. Kravitz, United States District Judge for the District of Connecticut, and the Hon. Guido Calabresi of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.   

Professor Soucek’s work has been cited by the U.S. Supreme Court and the Sixth and Seventh Circuits, referenced and excerpted in leading casebooks in Immigration Law, Civil Procedure, and Sexual Orientation Law, discussed by the Wall Street Journal, and honored with the Dukeminier Award from UCLA’s Williams Institute for the year’s best article on sexual orientation and gender identity law. Professor’s Soucek’s published work spans from constitutional and statutory anti discrimination law to refugee/asylum law to research at the intersection of law and aesthetics. Since coming to UC Davis School of Law in Fall 2013, Professor Soucek has taught Constitutional Law II: Equal Protection and the First Amendment; Civil Procedure; Antidiscrimination Law; Asylum and Refugee Law; and an undergraduate First Year Seminar on Free Expression.

In 2020-21, Professor Soucek will serve as Chair of the University of California’s system-wide Committee on Academic Freedom; a Fellow with UC’s National Center for Free Speech and Civic Engagement and a Trustee of the American Society for Aesthetics.

Subject Areas

Antidiscrimination Law, Constitutional Law, Civil Procedure, Immigration Law And Policy, Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and the Law, Law And Cultural Studies

Selected Career Highlights

  • Clerk for Hon. Guido Calabresi, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, 2012-2013
  • Clerk for Hon. Mark R. Kravitz, U.S. District Court, District of Connecticut, 2011-2012
  • Immigration Legal Services Clinic Student Director, Yale Law School, 2009-2011
  • Collegiate Assistant Professor and Harper Fellow, University of Chicago, 2005-2008
  • Core Preceptor, Columbia University, 2001-2003

Selected Publications

The Constitutional Irrelevance of Art, 99 NORTH CAROLINA LAW REVIEW 685 (2021). 

Categorical Confusion in Asylum Law, 73 FLORIDA LAW REVIEW (forthcoming 2021).

Discriminatory Paycheck Protection, 11 CALIFORNIA LAW REVIEW ONLINE 319 (2020).

Sexual Harassment by Any Other Name, 2019 U. CHI. LEGAL F. 227 (with Vicki Schultz)

The Case of the Religious Gay Blood Donor, 60 Wm. & Mary L. Rev. 1893 (2019)

Heightened Pleading Standards for Defendants: A Case Study of Court-Counting Precedent, 70 ALA. L. Rev. 875 (2019) (with Remington B. Lamons, UC Davis Law School Class of 2018)

Queering Sexual Harassment Law, 128 Yale L.J. F. 67 (2018)

Aesthetic Judgment in Law, 83 ALA. L. REV. 381 (2017).

Hively's Self-Induced Blindness, 127 YALE L.J. F. 115 (2017).

Marriage, Morality, and Federalism: The U.S. and Europe Compared, 15 INT’L J. CONST. L. 1098 (2017).

The Last Preference: Refugees and the 1965 Immigration Act, in The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965: Legislating a New America (Gabriel J. Chin & Rose Cuison Villazor eds., 2015).

The Return of Non-Congruent Equal Protection, 83 FORDHAM L. REV. 155 (2014).

Perceived Homosexuals: Looking Gay Enough for Title VII, 63 AM. U. L. REV. 715 (2014).

Review, Artistic License: The Philosophical Problems of Copyright and Appropriation by Darren Hudson Hick, NOTRE DAME PHIL. REVS. (2017).

"Aesthetic Judgment in Law" and "Personification of Art", in Oxford Encyclopedia of Aesthetics (2d ed.)(2014).

Review, The Philisophy of Arthur C. Danto, NOTRE DAME PHIL. REVS. (2014).

Copy-Paste Precedent, 13 J. APP. PRAC. & PROCESS 153 (2013).

Not Representing Justice: Ellsworth Kelly’s Abstraction in the Boston Courthouse, 24 YALE J.L. & HUMAN. 287 (2012).

Comment, Social Group Asylum Claims: A Second Look at the New Visibility Requirement, 29 YALE L. & POL’Y REV. 337 (2010).

Resisting the Itch to Redefine Aesthetics, 67 J. AESTHETICS & ART CRITICISM 223 (2009).

Review, The Art of Theater by James R. Hamilton, NOTRE DAME PHIL. REVS. (2008).

The Personification of Art, in NEW WAVES IN AESTHETICS 224 (Kathleen Stock & Katherine Thomson-Jones eds., 2008).

Giovanni auf Naxos, in THE DON GIOVANNI MOMENT 193 (Lydia Goehr & Daniel Herwitz eds., 2006).

Review, Aesthetics and the Philosophy of Art – The Analytic Tradition: An Anthology edited by Peter Lamarque and Stein Haugom Olson, 28 TEACHING PHIL. 288 (2005).

Amicus Briefs

Amicus Curiae Brief of Professor Brian Soucek in Support of Petitioners, Gonzalez Granados v. Wilkinson , No. 20-73081 (9th Cir. Feb. 24, 2021)

Comment on the Department of Homeland Security and Department of Justice’s Proposed Rule on Asylum , 85 Fed. Reg. 36264 (June 15, 2020)

Brief of Anti-Discrimination Scholars as Amici Curiae in Support of the Employees , Bostock v. Clayton County (No. 17-1618); Altitude Express, Inc. v. Zarda (No. 17-1623); R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes, Inc., v. E.E.O.C. (No. 18-107) (2019)

Amici Curiae Brief of Constitutional Law and Procedure Scholars Judith Resnik and Brian Soucek in Support of Petitioner , C.J.L.G. v. Sessions, No. 16-73801 (9th Cir. 2018) (en banc).

Brief of Amici Curiae Anti-Discrimination Scholars in Support of Petitioner , Evans v. Georgia Regional Hospital, No. 17-370 (2017).