Fallon, Richard H., Jr. 1952-

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Fallon, Richard H., Jr. 1952-

(Dick Fallon, Richard Fallon, Richard H. Fallon)


Born January 4, 1952, in Augusta, ME; married, 1982; children: two. Education: Yale University, B.A., 1975, J.D., 1980; Oxford University, B.A., 1977.


Home—Belmont, MA. Office—Harvard Law School, 1563 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138. E-mail—[email protected].


Writer, attorney, law researcher, educator, and Constitutional law scholar. Harvard Law School, assistant professor, 1982-87, professor, 1987-2004, Ralph S. Tyler, Jr., Professor of Constitutional Law, 2004—.


Massachusetts Bar Association, American Law Institute.


Albert M. Sacks-Paul A. Freund Award, Harvard Law School, 2000; Rhodes Scholar, Oxford University.


(With Daniel J. Meltzer and David L. Shapiro) Hart and Wechsler's The Federal Courts and the Federal System, 4th edition, Foundation Press (Westbury, NY), 1996, 5th edition, 2003.

Implementing the Constitution, Harvard University Press (Cambridge, MA), 2001.

The Dynamic Constitution: An Introduction to American Constitutional Law, Cambridge University Press (Cambridge, NY), 2004.

Contributor to journals and periodicals, including University of Chicago Law Review, Harvard Law Review, Columbia Law Review, and Stanford Law Review.


Writer, attorney, and educator Richard H. Fallon, Jr., is a constitutional law expert and law professor. In two of his works, he applies his constitutional expertise to explaining the development of the United States Constitution, the history of constitutional law, and current issues that influence modern constitutional law and critical interpretations of the Constitution more than 200 years after it became the foundational document of U.S. law and society.

Implementing the Constitution is a "well-written and carefully crafted book," one that "offers some keen insights that explain why no unidimensional interpretative method is likely to prove perfect" in matters of judicial review, commented John R. Vile in the Political Science Quarterly. When Supreme Court justices perform judicial review, they have the option of several types of interpretative method: applying the plain language of the Constitution, exactly as it is written; seeking to determine the intent of the framers of the Constitution; or relying on many years of constitutional interpretation and the precedents that have been set in those cases. In his book, Fallon strives to formulate an approach that is a synthesis of the various methods of constitutional interpretation that accompanies judicial review. Fallon rejects any method that requires justices to also function as historians, nor does he accept that they should be philosophers of the law. Instead "Fallon insists on the importance of the judges' role as practical lawyers, trying to find workable solutions to institutional, structural, and political difficulties," noted Constitutional Commentary reviewer Brian H. Bix. Fallon further distinguishes between ordinary and extraordinary adjudication and the requirements of justices involved in both. However, even in critically important cases of extraordinary adjudication, "Fallon believes that justices can legitimately craft their decisions with problems of implementation in mind," Vile noted. In his review, Bix called Fallon "one of our most thoughtful commentators on constitutional issues," and concluded: "This confidence is shown again to be well-placed; the book is a useful corrective to the too-strident and too-unworldly discussions that frequently dominate discussions of the Constitution."

In The Dynamic Constitution: An Introduction to American Constitutional Law, Fallon provides a layman's explanation for the political forces, legal requirements, and Constitutional frameworks that Supreme Court justices apply when rendering decisions and conducting judicial review. In what a Harvard Law Review contributor called an "articulate and absorbing account," Fallon provides a summary sketch of modern constitutional law and offers insight and discussion on several prominent Supreme Court cases and their concepts. "Writing in an elegant, jargon-free style, the author surveys the text of the Constitution and its tradition of interpretation, acknowledging its complexity but avoiding much of the arcane theorizing that typifies academic writing on the subject," noted John C. Hughes in Perspectives on Political Science. The Harvard Law Review contributor concluded that Fallon's book "will reward any reader interested in gaining balanced insight into the history and theory of modern constitutional law."



Constitutional Commentary, summer, 2002, Brian H. Bix, review of Implementing the Constitution, p. 453.

Harvard Law Review, January, 2005, review of The Dynamic Constitution: An Introduction to American Constitutional Law, p. 1094.

Perspectives on Political Science, winter, 2005, John C. Hughes, review of The Dynamic Constitution, p. 50.

Political Science Quarterly, winter, 2001, John R. Vile, review of Implementing the Constitution, p. 649.

Record (Harvard Law School), February 10, 2005, Adina Levine, "Fallon Appointed to Ralph S. Tyler, Jr., Professorship of Constitutional Law."


Harvard Law School Web site, http://www.law.harvard.edu/ (September 23, 2006), curriculum vitae of Richard H. Fallon, Jr.