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News Posted on August 30, 2019

Professor Bhagwat appointed to Bird and Boochever Endowed Chair

Ashutosh Bhagwat

Professor Ashutosh Bhagwat, an expert in constitutional law and free speech, has been appointed to the Boochever and Bird Endowed Chair for the Study and Teaching of Freedom and Equality at UC Davis School of Law.

Previously held by Professors Angela P. Harris, Alan E. Brownstein and Cruz Reynoso, now all emeriti faculty, the chair supports research and teaching designed to preserve and expand the virtues of freedom and equality. It was established by Charlie Bird ’73 and his wife, Charlotte, in honor of Charlie Bird’s parents and Robert Boochever, the late U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit judge and Alaska Supreme Court justice.

On announcement of the chair, Dean Kevin R. Johnson noted that “Professor Bhagwat is unquestionably a deserving recipient of the Boochever and Bird Endowed Chair for the Study of Freedom and Equality. The latest in a series of internationally-renowned holders of the chair, he is a leading light in constitutional law and has demonstrated his enduring commitment to freedom and equality. UC Davis School of Law is privileged to have a scholar as accomplished as Professor Bhagwat holding this distinguished chair.”

Bhagwat joined the UC Davis Law faculty in 2011. Before UC Davis, he taught at UC Hastings College of the Law for 17 years. He is the author of The Myth of Rights (Oxford University Press, 2010), as well as numerous articles and book chapters on a variety of subjects, from the structure of constitutional rights, to free-speech law, to the California electricity crisis. Bhagwat’s articles have appeared in, among other leading law reviews, the Yale Law Journal, the Supreme Court Review, and the California Law Review.

Bhagwat received his undergraduate degree from Yale University, graduating summa cum laude in history. He holds a J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School, where he was articles editor of the law review. He served as a clerk for Judge Richard A. Posner of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, and Associate Justice Anthony M. Kennedy of the United States Supreme Court. Before joining the Hastings faculty, Bhagwat practiced appellate and regulatory law for two years in the Washington, D.C. offices of Sidley Austin.

In 2011, Gov. Jerry Brown appointed Bhagwat to the California Independent System Operator Board of Governors, a public benefit corporation responsible for running the high-voltage electricity grid in California. Brown reappointed Bhagwat to a third term in 2017.

Bhagwat is a member of the American Law Institute. In 2003, he received the Rutter Award for Teaching Excellence at UC Hastings.