Brian Soucek


Position Title
Professor of Law and Chancellor’s Fellow

2117 King Hall

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; Art Law; and an undergraduate First Year Seminar on Free Expression.

Professor Soucek is a member of the American Association of University Professors’ “Committee A” on Academic Freedom and Tenure. He recently chaired the University of California’s system-wide Committee on Academic Freedom, was a fellow with UC’s National Center for Free Speech and Civic Engagement, led the Association of American Law Schools’ Section on Law and the Humanities, and served a three-year term as trustee of the American Society for Aesthetics.

Education and Degree(s)
  • B.A. Philosophy and Economics, summa cum laude, Boston College, 1998, Phi Beta Kappa
  • Ph.D. Philosophy, Columbia University, 2006
  • J.D. Yale Law School, 2011
Honors and Awards
  • Chancellor’s Fellow, University of California, Davis 2020-2025
  • UC Davis Chancellor’s Achievement Award for Diversity and Community, 2023
  • Fellow, UC National Center for Free Speech and Civic Engagement, 2020-21
  • Nominee, UC Davis School of Law’s Distinguished Teaching Award; 2021, 2020, 2019, 2016
  • UCLA Williams Institute’s Dukeminier Award and the Michael Cunningham Prize, recognizing the best sexual orientation or gender identity legal scholarship published in 2014, 2015
  • 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
Research Interests & Expertise
  • Antidiscrimination Law
  • Constitutional Law
  • Civil Procedure
  • Immigration Law And Policy
  • Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and the Law
  • Law And Cultural Studies


The Opinionated University: Academic Freedom, Diversity, and the Myth of Neutrality in American Higher Education (University of Chicago Press, forthcoming 2025).

Tax Law as Muse, 110 Cornell L. Rev. ___ (forthcoming 2025) (with Jennifer C. Lena).

Misunderstanding Meriwether, 92 FORDHAM LAW REVIEW 52 (2023).

Speech FirstEquality Last, 55 ARIZONA STATE LAW JOURNAL 681 (2023).

Censorship and Selective Support for the Arts, in THE OXFORD HANDBOOK OF ETHICS AND ART 660 (James Harold, ed. 2023).

Diversity Statements, 55 U.C. Davis L. Rev. 1989 (2022). 

Can A Gay Judge Judge A Gay Rights Case? Thoughts on Judicial Neutralityin A Guide to Civil Procedure: Integrating Critical Legal Perspectives (Brooke Coleman, Suzette Malveaux, Portia Pedro & Elizabeth Porter, eds., 2022).

Censorship and Subsidyin The Blackwell Companion to Arthur Danto (Lydia Goehr & Jonathan Gilmore, eds., 2022).

Academic Freedom and Departmental Speech, 108 Academe (Spring 2022).

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

Categorical Confusion in Asylum Law, 73 FLORIDA LAW REVIEW 473 (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

Amici Curiae Brief of California Professors of Freedom of Expression and Equality Law in Support of the State of California, Taking Offense v. State of California, No. S.270535 (Cal. July 25, 2022). 

Brief Amicus Curiae of First Amendment Scholars Supporting Appellees and Affirmance, Tingley v. Ferguson, No. 21-35815, 21-35856 (9th Cir. Jan. 21, 2022).

Amicus Letter of Professors Edwin Chemerinsky and Brian Soucek in Support of the State of California’s Petition for Review, Taking Offense v. State of California, No. S.270535 (Cal. Sept. 13, 2021).    

Amici Curiae Brief of Law Professors Darren Rosenblum and Brian Soucek et al. in Support of Petition for Panel Rehearing or Rehearing En Banc, Meriwether v. Hartop, No. 20-3289 (6th Cir. May 14, 2021).

Amicus Curiae Brief of Professor Brian Soucek in Support of Petitioners, Gonzalez Granados v. WilkinsonNo. 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).