When the U.S. Supreme Court recognizes a law professor’s scholarship, it can be both an honor and a surprise.
“There isn’t a formal communication letting you know that you’ve been cited,” says Andrew Hessick, Judge John J. Parker Distinguished Professor of Law and associate dean for strategy. “Usually, I find out I’ve been cited just by reading the opinions, though sometimes other people in the law community have emailed me to let me know.”
Hessick’s Cornell Law Review article, “Standing, Injury in Fact, and Private Rights” was cited by Associate Justice Clarence Thomas in United States v. Sineneng-Smith and in June Medical Services LLC v. Russo in May and June this year.
Getting cited by the U.S. Supreme court can have several effects. It can result in more media calls and more invitations to speak at conferences. After being cited in 2016, Hessick was invited to speak at the Fifth Circuit Judicial conference. He has had more people seek his feedback on their work in a relevant topic area and has had more engagement on Twitter, especially when law professors are engaged in a high level debate on the topic for which he was cited.
Michael Gerhardt, Burton Craige Distinguished Professor of Jurisprudence had one of his books, “The Power of Precedent”, cited by Associate Justice Samuel A. Alito in the dissent for Ramos v. Louisiana.
Tom Hazen, Cary C. Boshamer Distinguished Professor of Law, was also cited in June by Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor in Liu v. SEC for his book, “Law of Securities Regulation”.
He agrees with Hessick that getting cited can lead to other citations in law review articles as well as other court decisions.
No stranger to being cited by the U.S. Supreme Court, Hazen says “the citations that had the most impact on me was when I was cited in both the majority and dissenting opinions of the Hobby Lobby case.”
For Hessick, he says, “I was excited the first time I got cited—not just for the exposure, but also because it meant that at least one justice was persuaded by my article.”
So far in 2020, 14 Carolina Law faculty members have been cited 30 times in various courts.