Dowling, Noel T. (1885–1969)

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DOWLING, NOEL T. (1885–1969)

Constitutional problems of federalism were the chief interest of Noel Thomas Dowling, Columbia University's principal teacher of constitutional law for three decades (1926–1956). Joining the Columbia faculty in 1922, Dowling, a gentle Alabamian, moved into constitutional law when the more corrosive thomas reed powell departed for Harvard. The main sources of Dowling's influence were his casebook, his articles, and his consulting activities.

Dowling's widely used book, Cases on Constitutional Law, was first published in 1937, at the height of the New Deal crisis. Its major theme reflected his lifelong concern: "the regulatory power of government, national and state." His teaching stressed the lawyer's role in constitutional litigation. His emphasis on statutes and legislative facts reflected his long participation in the work of Columbia's Legislative Drafting Research Fund.

Dowling advised on the drafting of a number of federal and state statutes. prudential insurance co. V. benjamin (1946), upholding the mccarran act of 1945 granting congressional permission for continued state regulation of insurance, was a special vindication for Dowling's emphasis on the broad scope of the congressional "consent" power. Similarly, Chief Justice harlan f. stone's "balancing" opinion in southern pacific co. V. arizona (1945) vindicated Dowling's advocacy of a significant judicial role in curbing state intrusions on free trade in the absence of congressional action.

Gerald Gunther


Synposium 1958 A Tribute to Noel Thomas Dowling. Columbia Law Review 58:589–613.

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Dowling, Noel T. (1885–1969)

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