Areas of Expertise
- Civil Rights and Discrimination
- Communications Law
- Constitutional Law
- First Amendment
- Fourteenth Amendment
- Internal Investigations
- Legal Ethics and Professional Responsibility
- Politics and the Law
- President/Executive Department
- Religion Law
- Rule of Law
- Supreme Court of the United States
Michael Gerhardt joined the Carolina Law faculty in 2005 and serves as the Burton Craige Distinguished Professor of Jurisprudence. His teaching and research focuses on constitutional conflicts between presidents and Congress. Gerhardt is the author of nine books, including “Lincoln’s Mentors” (Harper Collins, 2021), and leading treatises on impeachment, appointments, presidential power, Supreme Court precedent, and separation of powers. He has written more than a hundred law review articles and dozens of op eds in the nation’s leading news publications, including SCOTUSblog, The New York Times, and Washington Post. His book, The Forgotten Presidents (Oxford University Press 2013), was named by The Financial Times as one of the best non-fiction books of 2013. He was inducted into the American Law Institute in 2016. Gerhardt attended the University of Chicago Law School, where he graduated order of the coif and served as a research assistant to both Phil Kurland and Cass Sunstein and as one of the two student editors of The Supreme Court Review. After law school, he clerked for Chief District Judge Robert McRae of the U.S. District Court of the Western District of Tennessee and Judge Gilbert Merritt of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. He served as Deputy Media Director of Al Gore’s first Senate campaign, practiced law for three years for two boutique litigation firms in Washington and Atlanta, and taught for more than a decade at William & Mary Law School before joining Carolina Law.
Gerhardt’s extensive public service has included his testifying more than 20 times before Congress, including as the only joint witness in the Clinton impeachment proceedings in the House; speaking behind closed doors to the entire House of Representatives about the history of impeachment in 1998; serving as special counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee for eight of the nine sitting Supreme Court justices; as one of four constitutional scholars called by the House Judiciary Committee during President Trump’s impeachment proceedings, and serving as one of the only two legal scholars testifying in four different presidential impeachment proceedings. During the Clinton and first Trump impeachment proceedings, Gerhardt served as an impeachment expert for CNN. In the second impeachment trial of President Trump, he was an expert commentator for CNN, Fox, and MSNBC and served as special counsel to the Presiding Officer, Senator Patrick Leahy. In 2015, he became the first legal scholar to be asked by the Library of Congress to serve as its principal adviser in revising the official United States Constitution Annotated. In 2019, the Order of the Coif named Gerhardt as its Distinguished Visitor for 2020-2021, an award given to only one law professor each year for outstanding legal scholarship. In 2023, Professor Gerhardt received UNC’s Thomas Jefferson Award, its highest honor in recognition of a faculty member’s public service.
- J.D., University of Chicago (1982)
- M.S., London School of Economics and Political Science (1979)
- B.A., Yale University (1978)
Barack Obama, in THE PRESIDENTS AND THE CONSTITUTION (Ken Gormley, ed.) (2016)
KF5053 .P75 2016
CONSTITUTIONAL THEORY: ARGUMENTS AND PERSPECTIVES (with T. Rowe, Jr., S. Griffin and L. Solum) (4th ed.) (Lexis Law Publishing, 2014).
KF4550 .G467 2013
THE FORGOTTEN PRESIDENTS: THEIR UNTOLD CONSTITUTIONAL LEGACY (Oxford University Press 2013).
KF5051 .G47 2013
THE POWER OF PRECEDENT (Oxford University Press) (Revised paperback ed. 2011, 1st ed. 2008).
KF429 .G47 2008
THE FEDERAL APPOINTMENTS PROCESS: A CONSTITUTIONAL AND HISTORICAL ANALYSIS (1st ed., Duke University Press, 2000).
JK731 .G47 2000
THE FEDERAL IMPEACHMENT PROCESS: A CONSTITUTIONAL AND HISTORICAL ANALYSIS (2d ed., University of Chicago Press, 2000).
KF4958 .G47 2000
In the Media
- UNC professor M. Gerhardt: If this is not impeachable then nothing is (CNN)
- M. Gerhardt Discusses Issues Related to the Impeachment Process (ABC News)
- M. Gerhardt Quoted on GOP's Bill to Ban Abortion after Six Weeks (Newsweek)
- M. Gerhardt Op-Ed: Considering Impeachment? Slow Down. (Washington Post)
- The Gorsuch Nomination: What’s Next; M. Gerhardt Writes (SCOTUSblog)
- Tar Heel of the Week: M. Gerhardt Tackles Constitutional Questions (News and Observer)
- M. Gerhardt in New York Times Op-Ed: How Obama Can Learn From Failure
- Gerhardt in New York Times Sunday Dialogue: "Delay But Don't Filibuster" Judicial Nominations
- Focus on Governing; M. Gerhardt Testifies Before House Committee on Appointments
- M. Gerhardt Appears before House Panel on Congressional Impeachment Case against Federal Judge