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School of Law


Derek W. Black

Title: Professor of Law
Ernest F. Hollings Chair in Constitutional Law
School of Law
Phone: 803-777-9652

1525 Senate Street
Room 230
Columbia, SC 29208


CV (pdf)



Derek W. Black


Derek Black is a Professor of Law at the University of South Carolina School of Law. His areas of expertise include education law and policy, constitutional law, civil rights, evidence, and torts. The focus of his current scholarship is the intersection of constitutional law and public education, particularly as it pertains to educational equality and fairness for disadvantaged students. His earlier work focused more heavily on intentional discrimination standards. His articles have been published and are forthcoming in the Stanford Law ReviewCalifornia Law Review, Northwestern University Law Review, Vanderbilt Law Review, Washington University Law Review, Minnesota Law Review, Boston University Law Review, William & Mary Law Review, Boston College Law Review, and North Carolina Law Review, among various others. His work has also been cited in the U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeals and by several briefs before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Prior to teaching, he litigated issues relating to school desegregation, diversity, school finance equity, student discipline, and special education at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. He left the Lawyers’ Committee to teach at Howard University School of Law, where he also founded and directed the Education Rights Center.

Professor Black has also taught at the University of North Carolina School of Law and American University Washington College of Law. Beyond teaching, has been active in various outside endeavors, including serving as pro bono counsel in civil rights cases, a consultant to civil rights campaigns, and a member of the Obama-Biden Presidential Transition Team.

He attended law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he was a member of the Law Review for two years, was awarded the Dan Pollitt ACLU fellowship in his third year, and graduated with High Honors.


  • Constitutional Law (LAWS 523)
  • Evidence (LAWS 671)
  • Civil Rights Seminar (LAWS 737)
  • Education Law and Policy (LAWS 766)


  • Schoolhouse Burning: Public Education and the Assault on American Democracy (Public Affairs/Hachette 2020) (reviewed and excerpted in NY Review of Books, and Time, Forbes).
  • Education Law: Equality, Fairness, and Reform (Aspen 1st ed. 2013; 2nd ed. 2017; 3rd ed. 2021).
  • Ending Zero Tolerance: The Crisis of Absolute School Discipline (NYU Press 2016).
  • Freedom, Democracy, and the Right to Education, 116 Northwestern University Law Review (forthcoming).
  • Educational Gerrymandering: Money, Motives, and Constitutional Rights, 94 N.Y.U. Law Review 1385 (2019).
  • The Right to Education, Equal Opportunity, and the Schoolhouse Gate, 128 Yale Law Journal 2302 (2019) (review essay with Michelle Adams).
  • The Fundamental Right to Education, 94 Notre Dame Law Review 1059 (2019).
  • Preferencing Educational Choice: The Constitutional Limits, 102 Cornell Law Review 1359 (2018).
  • The Constitutional Compromise to Guarantee Education, 70 Stanford Law Review 735 (2018). [SSRN]

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.