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Michal R. Belknap

Earl Warren Professor of Law
Chair, J.D./Ph.D. Dual Degree Program in History
Adjunct Professor of History, University of California, San Diego

J.D. University of Texas
M.A. Ph.D. University of Wisconsin [history]
B.A. University of California, Los Angeles [history]
Criminal Law, American Legal History II, Constitutional Law I & II, Constitutional Law Seminar

Professor Belknap is an historian-turned-lawyer. After earning his Bachelor of Arts, he studied American Legal History at the University of Wisconsin. While teaching history at the University of Texas, he earned his Juris Doctor at its law school. Before joining the California Western faculty in 1986, Belknap also taught history at the University of Georgia and law at the University of Houston and Seton Hall University, where he was the Richard J. Hughes Distinguished Visiting Professor.

Belknap is an adjunct professor of history at the University of California, San Diego, and taught public law in New Zealand as part of California Western's exchange program with Victoria University. His particular interest is the history of civil rights and civil liberties in 20th century America, an area in which he has written extensively. This includes teaching a seminar commemorating the 50th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education, as well as writing an article on the topic. In addition to his regular law school courses, Belknap teaches the special Summer Enrichment Program for newly admitted students.


  • Michal R. Belknap, The Warren Court and the Revolution in Criminal Procedure (CQ Press 2010).
  • Michal R. Belknap, The Supreme Court Under Earl Warren (2005).
  • Michal R. Belknap, The Vietnam War On Trial: The Mylai Massacre and the Court Martial of Lieutenant Calley (2002).
  • Michal R. Belknap, Federal Law and Southern Order (1995).
  • Michal R. Belknap, American Political Trials (1994).
  • Michal R. Belknap, Civil Rights, the White House and the Justice Department (1991).
  • Michal R. Belknap, Cold War Political Justice: The Smith Act, the Communist Party and American Civil Liberties (1977).


  • Michael R. Belknap, Voting Rights Act, in American Governance 267 (Stephen Schechter ed., 2016).
  • Michal R. Belknap, Why Dennis?, 96 Marq. L. Rev. 1013 (2013).
  • Micha R. Belknap, The Smith Act Case, in Civil Liberties and the Legacy of Harry S. Truman, 9 The Truman Legacy Series 81 (Richard S. Kirkendall ed., 2013).
  • Michal R. Belknap, Why Dennis v. United States is a Landmark Case, 34 J. Sup. Ct. Hist. 289 (2009).

Encyclopedia Articles

  • Michal R. Belknap, Civil Rights, in 1 Encyclopedia of Afro American History 383 (Paul Finkleman, ed., 2009).
  • Michal R. Belknap, Vinson, Fred M., in 5 Encyclopedia of the Supreme Court of the United States 142 (David S. Tanenhaus ed., 2008).
  • Michal R. Belknap, Vinson Court, in 5 Encyclopedia of the Supreme Court of the United States 143 (David S. Tanenhaus ed., 2008).
  • Michal R. Belknap, Watergate and the Constitution, in 5 Encyclopedia of the Supreme Court of the United States 185 (David S. Tanenhaus ed., 2008).

Book Reviews

  • Michal R. Belknap, 74.5 The Historian __ (forthcoming 2013) (reviewing Melvin Urofsky, Supreme Decisions: Great Constitutional Cases and Their Impact).
  • Michal R. Belknap, 99 J. Am. Hist. 351 (2012) (reviewing Scott Martelle, The Fear Within: Spies, Commies and American Democracy (2011)).
  • Michal R. Belknap, 94 J. Am. Hist. 1003 (2007) (reviewing Rebecca E. Zeitlow, Enforcing Equality: Congress, the Constitution, and the Protection of individual rights (2006)).
  • Michal R. Belknap, 113 Am. Hist Rev. 1218 (2007) (reviewing Michael W. Flamm, Law and Order: Street Crime, Civil Unrest, and the Crisis of Liberalism in the 1960s (2005)).


Emergence of the Modern Legal Profession
The Dormant Commerce Clause Part I
The Dormant Commerce Clause Part II